By Alex Enumah
Managing Director of Alpha-Beta Consulting LLP, Mr Akin Doherty, on Friday, dismissed media reports that he (Doherty); former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu; and Alpha-Beta had been summoned by a Lagos High Court over alleged fraud and tax evasion.
Doherty, in a press statement, claimed that they were unaware of the case, and accused the plaintiff, Mr Dapo Apara, of diverting attention from corruption cases against him.
Doherty said following Apara’s removal from office in 2018 over fraud allegations, he had since engaged in activities to tarnish the image of the defendants.
Apara had on October 3, instituted a court action against Tinubu, Doherty and Alpha-Beta, alleging deep corruption, money laundering and tax evasion by the trio.
He is also accusing Tinubu of edging him out of the company they formed in 2002 and denying him of benefiting from the billions of naira the company made over the years.
But in a swift reaction on Friday, Doherty said, “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 $5 million; money allegedly used to pay for cloud based services that were eventually discovered to be worth less than $300,000”.
He further claimed that Apara was not only a signatory to all the bank accounts of Alpha Beta from inception until his removal, but was paid all his entitlements.
“In July 2018 further evidence of his fraudulent and unethical practices was uncovered, including the revelation that he converted approximately N6 billion belonging to Alpha Beta to his personal use. This fraud was reported to the authorities and Mr. Apara was subsequently invited to return to Nigeria from his hiding place in Dubai to render account.
“To date, he has refused to do so. Instead, Mr. Apara chose to embark on an aggressive smear campaign seemingly in an effort to blackmail us into ending the investigations into his misconduct.”
The statement claimed that contrary to the sensational headlines, designed to embarrass and blackmail, the case presented by Mr. Apara did not disclose even a single piece of evidence of fraud or criminal activity on the part of any of the alleged defendants.
“The case brought by Mr. Apara is, simply put, an extension of his campaign of calumny; launched to avoid the consequences of his fraudulent conduct over the years.
“This court action by Dapo Apara is the continuation of Mr. Apara’s blackmail tactics and an attempt to distract from the huge funds he misappropriated from Alpha Beta while he was in charge of its affairs.
“Since 2018, he has filed many suits in Lagos and Abuja on the same matter, engaged in Arbitration, the Police, EFCC and ICPC. However, in all that time, he has steadfastly refused to honour all invitations by the authorities to return to Nigeria and account for the huge funds he misappropriated.
“The uncorroborated allegations against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu by Dapo Apara, in particular, show that he is bent only on creating sensational headlines to deflect attention from his own criminal activities.
“Although, we have not been served with the court summons, we look forward to the opportunity the case provides to publicly present the full picture of Mr. Apara’s misconduct, deceit and fraud and to have the matter resolved by the court once and for all”, the statement read in part.