Magistrate of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, has been unable to serve a former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, with court processes thereby delaying the case instituted against the former governor and tax consultancy firm, Alpha Beta Consulting LLP.
A former Managing Director of the firm, Dapo Apara, had sued Tinubu and Alpha Beta, accusing the firm of being controlled by the former governor and diverting over N20bn from the firm to private accounts.
They were expected to appear in court within 42 days of being served with the court summons.
Apara’s lawyer, Tade Ipadeola, said court bailiffs visited Tinubu’s home in Bourdillon, Ikoyi, Lagos, but were told that the former governor was out of the country.
He said a similar attempt to serve Alpha Beta at its office in the Ijora area of the state was frustrated as no one was willing to collect it, citing COVID-19.
Ipadeola said, “The court has been unable to serve the defendants. When the court bailiff got to Bourdillon, he was told that Tinubu was out of the country. Also, when the bailiff tried to serve Alpha Beta located at Water House in Ijora, nobody collected it, citing COVID-19.
“So, we will apply to the court to serve them through substituted means.”
He further stated that his client would pursue the case till the very end.
Meanwhile, Alpha Beta LLP, has denied allegations levelled against Apara, adding that he in fact diverted N6bn from the company.
Alpha Beta said in a statement by its Managing Director, Akin Doherty, that Apara was the one that was culpable as he had diverted about $5m during his time as managing director by inflating a contract which was worth about $300,000 and then diverted a separate N6bn to personal use.
The firm said it had reported Apara’s alleged fraud to the appropriate authorities but he had refused to show up and rather remained in Dubai.
In the statement titled, ‘Alpha Beta: Facts of the Matter’, the firm said Apara was an aggrieved ex-employee who was bent on tarnishing the image of the company after being sacked for financial impropriety.
It read in part, “The fact is that Dapo Apara began making his untrue allegations in the aftermath of his removal as Managing Director of Alpha Beta for fraud and unethical practices. While he was MD, Apara used his position to siphon huge sums of money from the company including but not limited to fraudulently converting $5m; money allegedly used to pay for cloud based services that were eventually discovered to be worth less than $300,000.
“Mr. Apara, who was a signatory to all the bank accounts of Alpha Beta from inception until his removal, received all his payments and entitlements until June 2018 when he was removed after his fraudulent misconduct was discovered.
“In July 2018 further evidence of his fraudulent and unethical practices was uncovered, including the revelation that he converted approximately N6bn belonging to Alpha Beta to his personal use.”
The firm said Apara’s allegations levelled against Tinubu were specious and diversionary.
Alpha Beta monitors and reconciles tax on behalf of the Lagos State Government for a commission, a contract it has been executing for over 15 years.