Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Nigeria: Lagos House Speaker Obasa denies $2.6 million money laundering allegation

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The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, yesterday denied allegation that he was involved in money laundering through contract scams.

Obasa described as “absurd, abusive” and “malicious” the claims that he awarded contracts to himself through companies registered in the names of his father, wife and children.

Obasa’s counsel, Mr Lawal Pedro (SAN), in an April 30 letter said none of the firms mentioned had ever been engaged or awarded any contract by the lawmakers.

He demanded that the publisher retract the story within seven days and apologise, or face a N1 billion defamation lawsuit.

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The letter, ‘Demand for retraction of defamatory statements published against and concerning the person of Hon, Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa and apology for the publication, reads in part:

“Upon our discreet inquiry, we were able to confirm that the House of Assembly has never at any time engaged or awarded any contract to any of the listed companies in the publication.

“Therefore, we find the publication utterly absurd, abusive, malicious, and amount to irresponsible journalism to deliberately tarnish the image of the Rt. Honourable Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly (our client).”

Pedro said although the lawmakers had already denied the “said false and malicious publication on social media platforms” the online medium repeated the claims elsewhere.

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“In your subsequent publication of 25th March 2020 captioned ‘Exclusive: Tinubu, GAC back Lagos Assembly Speaker, Obasa, over suspension of lawmakers, corruption’ you repeated the same malicious statement concerning our client…,” Pedro said.

According to him, the publication had damaged Obasa’s reputation globally.

He added: In the circumstance, it is our client’s instruction and we hereby demand of you, within seven days of receipt of this letter a retraction of the said false, malicious and defamatory publication against our client through your online publication, social media platforms and three national newspapers circulating in Nigeria.

“You are also to tender a written unreserved apology to our client for the publication.

“Take notice that if you fail, refuse or neglect to meet our client’s humble request within the stipulated number of days, we have his further instruction to commence legal action against you and your organisation for the malicious defamatory publication and to claim N1billion damages.”

($1 = N390)

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