Executive Chairman of Bond Investment and Holdings Limited, Chief Olabode Mustapha has demanded payment of N1 billion (One billion Naira), within seven days, from the immediate past Ogun State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Adewale Oshinowo, for alleged libel.
He is also asking Mr. Oshinowo to retract the alleged libellous statement and publish a written apology regarding same in at least 2 national daily newspapers, also within 7 days.
The demands by Chief Mustapha were contained in a letter, dated 6th June, 2019, by his lawyers, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN to the former Commissioner.
The letter by the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) stated thus:
6th June, 2019
Mr. Adewale Oshinowo
20, Marina, Lagos.
RE: PRESS RELEASE TITLED ‘’PARIS CLUB REFUND: WE DO NOT OWE BODE MUSTAPHA’S CONSULTANCY FIRM – OGUN GOVT’’ DATED 16TH MAY, 2019
Please refer to the above subject matter.
We are Solicitors to Chief Olabode Mustapha MscMIoD MHR and Bond Investment and Holdings Limited hereinafter referred to as our Clients.
Our Clients informed us that their attention was brought to a press release titled ‘’PARIS CLUB REFUND: We Do Not Owe Bode Mustapha’s Consultancy Firm – Ogun Govt’’ dated 16th May, 2019 and your additional statements to the press on the same date (your Statements).
This release was widely published in various news outlets including online social media platforms. For example, see:
*newsjournal.com.ng of May 16, 2019
*nigeriannewsdirect.com publication of May 17, 2019
*thenationonlineng.net publication of May 17, 2019
*encomium.ng publication of May 16, 2019
In the offensive publications, you said of our Clients as follows:
- ‘’Ogun State indigenes should be on their guards, as regards the finances of the State, as some unconscionable politicians will do everything possible to recoup their investment in the last Governorship election from the public till’’
- ‘’The sudden resurrection of (sic) 2009 purported contract, was a premeditated action, designed to scam the State Government under the guise of an anticipated arbitration judgement. The Amosun Government….. will not be a party to this orchestrated scheme to swindle the State
The publications have been widely read by our Clients’ business associates, political associates, friends and family many of whom have expressed their dismay at the contents of your press release.
No doubt the publication has lowered the estimation of our Clients in the eye of the entire world and our Clients must seek a redress.
You may recall that our Clients and the Ogun State Government executed a Consultancy Agreement dated the 23rd December, 2009 (‘’the Consultancy Agreement’’) to the effect that our Clients would reconcile and recover all debts deductions/charges on foreign loan facilities related to Ogun State on behalf of the Ogun State Government.
You may also recall that the tenure of the said Consultancy Agreement was for a 1 year period and upon which our Clients were granted periodic extensions to the original agreement with the final extension granted vide a letter Ref: DMU/012/102 dated 22nd April, 2011 from the office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance for an additional 1-year period which contradicts your comments that the agreement between the parties was purportedly only for a term of 80 days.
Contrary to your assertions, our Clients during the tenure of the contract undertook several activities to identify, and facilitate recovery of excess charges/deductions in relation to Ogun State’s foreign and multilateral loans.
Our clients are also aware that on the 1st of November, 2016 a letter from Ogun Stat Ministry of Finance (signed by your good self) was sent to the DMO and copied to FMF. In the letter (1st November 2016), the Ogun state Government referred to a letter written by our clients dated the 16th of march, 2010 to the DMO, some of the contents of which you referred to in your letter as follows:
“Under the Multilateral loans, the state’s external debts stock was overstated fro year 2002 to 2008 to the tune of USD 14,513,586.87 and ls the sum of $44,151,872.13 was presented as the cumulative sum over-deducted from Ogun State Revenue”and that the claim- that our Client submitted on behalf of Ogun State-was (at that point) yet to be refunded to the state.
Our Clients letter to which you clearly referred and on which you unequivocally relied was a submission to the DMO of the finding of our clients’ investigations and forensic audits into the outstanding amounts owned to the state for excess deductions on its foreign loans (Paris Club Loan Included) and a Claim for payment of the refunds due to the State based on our Clients’ findings.
Furthermore, given that your letter clearly shows that the Ogun State Government relied on our Clients’ letter (and the Claims submitted therein), it is also not in doubt that your statement were wilfully false and calculated to malign our Clients’ character.
The aforementioned statements in your press release were baseless, unfounded and portray our client in a very bad light.
Your foregoing comments which reflect the entirety of your press statements are false, baseless, malicious and wholly defamatory against our Clients’ character particularly that of Chief Olabode Mustapha MscMIoD MHR.
We therefore have the instruction of our Clients to demand that you retract the above statement and publish a written apology regarding same in at least 2 national daily newspapers within 7 days of your receipt of this letter.
Furthermore, our Clients demand from you that you pay the sum of N1 billion within the same 7 days through our chambers. You are advised to seek legal representation in order to properly respond to our Clients’ DEMANDS.
Should you fail to comply with our Clients demand we shall be left with no option than to approach the High Court to obtain the appropriate legal remedies in the award of damages and colossal cost on behalf of our Clients without further recourse to you.
We are aware that you are no longer a member of the Ogun State Executive Council as the Commissioner of Finance but any liability arising from the contents of your statement of 16th May, 2019, will still accrue to you despite the fact that you are no longer holding public office and you will be under legal obligation to respond.
Kindly note that pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 and further instruction from our Clients’, we intend to also request for information on where all Ogun State refund on its multilateral and Paris Club Loans have been domiciled under your watch.
Please be assured of our professional regards. Thank you.
CHIEF BOLAJI AYORINDE SAN, OFR, FCArb
CC: The Chairman.
Bond Investment & Holding Limited,
BM House, Opp NNPC Mega Station,
MKO Abiola Way,
Abeokuta, Ogun State.