US trip: Atiku in trouble over alleged non-payment of $5.9m bill5 min read
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar is in the eye of the storm over alleged non-payment of a $5.9million fees to secure a visa to visit the United States in 2018.
A firm, Legacy Logistics LLC Limited, alleged that Atiku was yet to pay the princely sum for the visa.
The firm alleged that the presidential hopeful failed to pay for the services rendered for the US trip which was widely hailed by his supporters.
The Nation reports that Atiku intentionally refused to honour his part of the service agreement despite repeated demands.
But Atiku’s legal adviser, Prof. Maxwell Gidado (SAN) , who was named by the firm to be in the know of the agreement, said the company did not procure any visa for the PDP candidate.
He also said no agreement was signed with the company to pay $5.9million for the visa.
He said Legacy Logistics LLC Limited outsourced the service to retired Ambassador Kumba in Dallas in the United States, who admitted that what he did was not up to half a million dollar.
He said upon return from his shuttles to the United States in 2018, Atiku paid the aggrieved company some money for its “troubles.”
He said the protest letter was an attempt to “extort money from Atiku.”
After a 13-year break, it was difficult for Atiku to secure entry to the US in 2018.
The development made him to hire some legal firms and lobby groups to be able to get a visa to prove that he was not banned from America.
In spite of the fact that the efforts paid off, the PDP candidate did not claim that a price was allegedly attached to the visa procurement.
But Legacy Logistics LLC Limited has come out openly to admit that it was one of those who made Atiku’s visa processing possible at $5.9million, which it claimed, remains unpaid .
The company has however, indicated its preparedness for a legal battle, unless Atiku fulfills his obligation to it.
It made its position known in a letter, which was dated September 19, 2022, by a legal firm, Jurisperitus Associates.
The letter was titled: “Demand for payment of the sum of $5,900,000 Legacy Logistics LLC for processing and procurements of United States of American visa on your behalf.”
The excerpts of the letter, originally published by Saharareporters, read in part: “We are solicitors to Legacy Logistics LLC Ltd (hereinafter referred to as our client and on its behalf and instructions) we write you:
“Our client briefed us thus:
“That you instructed your legal representative Prof. Maxwell Gidado, SAN and your advisor, Dr. Samuel Cornelius to seek the services of our client to process and procure United States of American visa on your behalf.
“Consequent upon your instruction, a scope of service agreement was entered into dated 15th October, 2018. The service our client was to provide base on the agreement were specified in the addendum I to the scope of service agreement.
“Our client diligently executed the agreement and you were successfully issued the United States of America visa which same was delivered to you.
“You subsequently used the said visa and travelled to the United States of American whereby your teeming supporters and admirers in Nigeria and the world over applauded you.
“Your Excellency sir, you have intentionally refused and neglected to honour your part of the service agreement despite repeated demands from our client.”
When contacted last night, Prof. Maxwell Gidado (SAN) said the firm did not do the job.
But he said the promoters of the aggrieved company were paid for their “troubles” to get Atiku a visa to the United States.
He said the drama about the $5.9m was about an alleged attempt to “extort money” from the PDP presidential candidate.
He said: “No. These people are just trying to extort money from Atiku Abubakar (AA). I agreed that they came in 2018 and wanted to offer their services to assist Atiku Abubakar (AA) procure a visa to America.
“They started and engaged the services of one Ambassador Kumba. And Amb. Kumba did try and got to a particular stage. But due to non-payment of money for the financing, he backed out. They were the one that promised paying the money but they didn’t pay him.
“Samuel and Joseph promised paying Amb. Kumba to procure the visa, also write a book and also do an image of Atiku (a very, very good image of Atiku) in the international community. These were the three things they asked him (Kumba) to do.
“And they promised paying him by creating an escrow account which Kumba will be working with. Amb. But when Kumba started work, these people didn’t put a dime in that account. So, the man stopped work.
“And then another firm continued with the process of getting a visa for Atiku and they got it for him. And even when he went and came back, they came and brought their bill.
“Atiku settled them (Joseph and Samuel). He paid them money for their troubles. And I was a witness when he was paying them this money. And they didn’t give Kumba a dime.
“And this matter was a 2018 case. If you knew you had a matter that involved $5.9million, you will sleep over it in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Haba! Haba! Rubbish.
“To me, they are just trying to extort money. And don’t worry, Amb. Kumba has been contacted. He is going to do a disclaimer and his lawyer is even going to write.
“I did not play any role. They are just dropping my name because I am the Legal Adviser. And we went along with them to the United States where I went and met Amb. Kumba. And that was the complaint Kumba was giving to me.
“As I tell you, no agreement was signed by neither Atiku Abubakar nor me with them for this $5.9million. That is what I want to tell you as a lawyer and a senior Advocate. There was no agreement whatsoever. Ask them to bring any agreement where there was a signature and that agreement says process and procure a visa for AA and we will pay you $5.9million. Signed by AA and signed by them.
“Secondly, let them also prove that they were the ones that procured the visa (they did the visa procurement). They never did it, so it is just a scam. They just want to extort money from Atiku. So, Atiku’s lawyers are going to get at them. “
Responding to a question, Gidado said the petitioners were not the ones that processed the visa.
He added: “No, they were not the ones. First, the law firm and the people that assisted are going to talk. “The law firm is from Washington D.C. They are going to take it up too. In fact, they want to even sue them for passing off.”