In 1986, Mr. Moses Oladotun Alade was an Assistant Inspector with the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS). A dashing young man, he was always well dressed, had a lot of clout, wielded a lot of influence and was well liked within the service.
That year, he came across one agitated Indian, Mr. N.K Soumani, whose source of anxiety and agitation were the great number of textiles and containers on the high seas and those already berthed that would be seized by the federal government because they had fallen under ban by the then military government of General Ibrahim Babangida.
Using his connections within the service, Mr. Alade contacted a Senior Director of Customs who facilitated the issuing of an order that enabled the containers to be re – shipped to its port of take – off, so as to escape being impounded because of the ban on textiles importation into Nigeria. All these were done in agreement with the Indian that they were to pay him ten per cent of the value of the 2,900 containers.
Meanwhile, before the containers were released for reshipment, Mr. Alade had allegedly met with three expatriate directors of Churchgate Nigeria Limited, (Messrs Ajan Manshaudani, Mr. Ramesh Manchudani and Mr. B.K. Manshaudani) whose companies owned the containers. He had personally and physically interacted with these men for his commission
Eventually. the textile containers were reshipped from Nigeria but rather than take them back to China, the original destination of the containers, these men allegedly forged documents again and shipped the containers to the Republic of Benin from where the containers were discharged and smuggled back to Nigeria.
After the containers were smuggled into Nigeria, Mr. Alade was not paid his consultancy fees and according to him, these people continued dribbling him using one pretext or the other as an excuse and thereby, renege to pay him about 100million dollars.
However, sometime in 1986, the said Manshaudani family (owners and Directors of Churchgate Nigeria Limited) were charged to court by the federal government for alleged economic sabotage and exchange control malpractice and were found guilty, expelled and ordered to be deported to India from Nigeria. That was how Mr. Alade lost in the effort to get paid for the reshipped textile containers.
However, as mother luck would have it, sometimes in 2002, the said directors of Churchgate who had been expelled and deported to India re – entered Nigeria after changing their names and international passports. They now bear B.I. Mathani R.I. Mathani and J.P Mathani and N.K. Soumani respectively.
In the same 2002, as providence would have it, Mr. Alade was again reintroduced to the same Churchgate directors (who now bear disguised names) and they requested him to act as their agent to secure a fertilizer contract with the federal ministry of agriculture.
Mr. Alade obliged to help them and used that opportunity to remind them of the previous unpaid textile re – exportation deal worth 13.7million dollars whereupon they agreed to issue him a letter of authority dated 19th March, 2002 which he can use to make claims for both outstanding debt and subsequent deals.
A goal getter that he is, Mr. Alade said he sold his house in Ejigbo, Lagos and proceeded to secure the fertilizer contract for Churchgate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to the tune of 100 metric tons worth 6million dollars and the name of Churchgate Nigeria Limited was placed as No 171 on the list of suppliers of fertilizer for 2002/2003 by the ministry.
Meanwhile, on October 21, 2002 the management of Churchgate, on the insistence of Mr. Alade for proper documentation in respect of the fertilizer deal, executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Mobotson Ventures (Alade’s Company) and churchgate Nigeria Limited where the 10% brokerage fee was allegedly stated in favour of Mr. Alade.
The Ministry of Agriculture released an advance payment mobilization of 25% to Churc gate Nigeria Limited and later completed payment in 2003 of the 75% balance. All these have allegedly been paid to Churchgate Nigeria Limited but Mr. Alade has not been paid a dime.
Meanwhile, in a bid to claim his money, Mr. Alade had approached an Abuja based law firm which petitioned the Churchgate Company to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This much Mr. Alade confirmed in an affidavit he swore to at an Abuja High Court stating that he was attacked at Agaupe Hotel, Wuse II, Abuja sometime in April 2004 and another attack on November 16, 2007 at Osolo Way, Mushin, Lagos, where six men on four motorcycles attempted to shoot him and he managed to escape.
Although all attempts to make Mr. Mahtani react to our findings proved abortive as no one in his Abuja office was ready to sign the acknowledgement copy of our letter titled “request for reaction to allegations of violation of immigration law and refusal to pay Engineer Olatunde Alade his 1.9million dollars consultancy fees” when our reporter took the letter there on 24th and 25th March, 2014. The security man at the gate after consulting with Churchgate staff said Mr. Mahtani was not in the country and would have personally received the letter.
Documents in our possession revealed that in respect to the change of names and passport by some directors of Churchgate Nigeria Limited, the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) in a letter dated October 8, 2012 addressed to an Abuja based law firm acting on behalf of Mr. Alade, said they have, with other relevant agencies conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter and findings indicate as follows; (a) That Mr. B.I Mahtani and R.I Mahtani ( Chairman and Vice Chairman of Churchgate were not deported from Nigeria in 1986 nor at any other time, (b) That they did not change their identities because their old travel documents were sighted including passports issued in 1979 and 1974 respectively, bearing the same names reflected on their current passports, (c) That the two Mahtani brothers were granted Nigerian citizenship by Naturalization in 1989 and 1999 respectively, (d) That the immigration status of Messers B.I Mahtani and R.I Mahtani is confirmed as Naturalized Nigerian citizens who have heavily invested in the Nigerian economy and have employed large number of Nigerians in their business organizations and that there is no record of Manshaudani as presented in the petition. But it was discovered that Mr. B.K Mirchandani and Rameshani Mechandani were watch listed in 1987 and 1984 and lifted in 2005 and 2007 respectively. They are currently with Texlon Nigeria Limited.
However, Mr. Alade still stands his ground alleging that Mr. A.K Mauchandani is now Mr. M.K Somani and B.K Mauchadani is now Mr. R.I Mahthani who are now principal actors of Churchgate Nigeria Limited.
The case is going to court soon and may be handled by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who is a former senate president.
– Umem Umoh