EFCC quizzing of Fowler confirms our story on Tinubu’s fresh probe
Earlier, this year Political Economist had reported of a fresh pressure being mounted on the new leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to investigate a petition against Alpha Beta Consulting, a tax co
nsultancy firm linked to Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The invitation the EFCC extended to Mr. Babatunde Fowler, former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, during which he was interrogated on matters bordering on Alpha Beta Consulting further confirms our story. Ex-Chair.
Former Ag. Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, was said to be blocking the investigation of Tinubu who has many petitions against him pending at the anti-graft commission.
Mr. Fowler who has strong links with Alpha Beta Consulting is rumoured to be one of the arrowheads within the Tinubu camp with knowledge of the relationship between the Lagos State government and Alpha Beta Consulting.
Mr. Fowler was Chairman of Lagos State Inland Revenue Service, LIRS, when Alpha Beta Consulting was its consultant on tax matters.
The ex-Chair of FIRS who could not get his tenure renewed on account of perceived shortfall in tax collection for which he was queried, according to EFCC sources, has given useful hints that would aid the anti-graft agency in its investigation of allegation of tax evasion and money laundering by Alpha Beta Consulting to the tune of N100 billion.
Below is the report filed by our reporter earlier in the year:
There is a renewed pressure on the new leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to investigate a petition against Alpha Beta Consulting, a tax consultancy firm linked to Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The petition dated July 6th 2018 alleged over a N100 billion fraud, tax evasion and money laundering against Alpha Beta Consulting and Alpha Beta LLP. It was written by the chambers of Adetunji & Associates on behalf of Mr. Dapo Apara, referred to as a former Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Alpha Beta Consulting. The petition was received at EFCC on July 11, 2018.
However, since the receipt of the petition, it has gathered mould in the file as the commission, against all entreaties, allegedly refused to investigate the matter. Some powerful forces within and outside the commission were said to be behind the scheme to shield the APC national leader and his company from any probe.
The forces were said to enjoy the backing of the suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, who made it impossible for the operatives of the commission to as much as look into the petition.
In its response, the management of the company dismissed the allegation as “the worst form of libel” and a desperate attempt by Mr. Apara to conceal and distract attention from his own wrongdoing and misconduct that led to the termination of his appointment from the company.
Persons conversant with the matter alleged that the petitioner was accused of several wrongdoings while as staff of the company for which he was fired and had since escaped from the country. They said an investigation into his financial dealings while as staff of the company should be the priority of the EFCC and “not some baseless allegations that do not add up.”
But an EFCC insider told our reporter that there is a new lease at the commission which favours the investigation of all outstanding petitions, especially high profile petitions. The source mentioned the petition against Tinubu’s company as one of those being revisited by the new leadership of the commission which is “working hard to do its job without fear or favour.”
The source said that the Mohammed Umar leadership was keen to burnish the image of the EFCC through transparent dealings, fairness and a no-holds-barred approach to fighting financial crimes.
In the petition, sent on Apara’s behalf by Adetunji Adegboyega ESG, his solicitors, Apara said: “Over the years the company is being protected and shielded by some powerful politicians and people in the society which made them to always boast of being untouchable, but our client, feeling the need not to keep quiet again and strengthened by his belief in the fact that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on fighting corruption, which has been the bane of our country, is of the firm belief that it’s time to expose and open the can of worms called ALPHABETA CONSULTING.
Alpha Beta, a consultancy owned by Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is at the centre of a N100billion fraud, tax evasion and money laundering petition written by Mr. Dapo Apara, its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer.
According to Apara’s petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Alpha Beta “has become an avenue for official corruption of government officials, a conduit pipe for massive money laundering scheme, tax evasion, among other vices”.
In the petition, sent on his behalf by Adetunji Adegboyega ESG, his solicitors, Apara said: “Over the years the company is being protected and shielded by some powerful politicians and people in the society which made them to always boast of being untouchable, but our client, feeling the need not to keep quiet again and strengthened by his belief in the fact that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on fighting corruption, which has been the bane of our country, is of the firm belief that it’s time to expose and open the can of worms called ALPHABETA CONSULTING.
“Our client is of the firm belief that it is time for the commission to step in and conduct a holistic investigation into the activities of ALPHABETA CONSULTING LIMITED AND ALPHABETA LLP, with a view to uncovering the massive corruption, money laundering, tax evasion etc going on in the company. Kindly note that one of the companies being used to perpetrate money laundering by the company is still another company named Ocean Trust Limited.
“The only hope of our client and indeed the teeming Nigerians who are victims of the crimes being perpetrated by these companies in seeking justice is the commission, which we strongly believe in and therefore call on the commission to cause a holistic investigation into this case and all involved with the aim of bringing these criminals to justice, and not allow their claims of being untouchable to be validated.
“Kindly note sir that as our client is willing and able to provide information to substantiate the claims, though, we will plead for these to be done through us as he is presently fearing for his life having been receiving death threats from a lot of quarters because of this case.”
Alpha Beta first came to public knowledge when it was appointed as a consultant to the Lagos State Government, arguably its first client, under the tenure of Babatunde Fowler as the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue from 2005 to 2014.
The company was appointed in the days of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Governor of Lagos State and it was instrumental to the success recorded by the state in tax collection, providing a template that other states later copied.
Although Tinubu was said to be a major shareholder in the company, his name has does not reflect in the company’s registration documents at the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC.