Businessman prays court to declare him co-founder of firm
A United States of America-based Nigerian businessman, Mr Kenny Awosika, has asked a Federal High Court, Lagos to declare him as a promoter/co-founder of Green Africa Airways Ltd and entitled to 55 per cent of its authorised share capital.
The plaintiff also prayed the court to compel the first defendant, Babawande Afolabi, to pay him N625 million as general, exemplary and aggravated damages for breach of the agreement.
The second to sixth defendants in the suit are Green Africa Airways Ltd, Taiwo Afolabi, Kuramo Africa Opportunity II (Mauritius) LLC, Corporate Affairs Commission and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority
In the alternative, the plaintiff is praying the court to order the defendants to pay him the sum of $30,250,000 being the monetary value of 55 per cent of Green Africa Airways as at the last valuation in 2019.
He made the claims through his counsel Femi Falana (SAN) and D. A. Awosika (SAN) in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/949/2021 wherein he alleged fraud, misrepresentation and deceit against the first defendant.
Awosika, in his statement of claim, averred that he is co-founder and a Director of Green Africa Airways Ltd (registered in Nigeria in 2015) and equally functions as its director of Information Technology and Innovation.
He said he is also the founder and co-owner of Green White Group LLC (GWG Maryland), a limited liability company registered in Germantown, Maryland, U.S.
The plaintiff averred that on September 26, 2013, he and Afolabi registered GWG, Maryland, with a 55 – 45 per cent ownership ratio in his favour.
He took on most of the responsibilities of GWG Maryland by opening bank accounts and filing mandatory tax returns on behalf of the company, provided the financial and technical support for the formation and incorporation of Green Africa Airways.
According to him, it was agreed that he should stay back in the US, where he was earning a salary as a U.S government contractor, so that he could financially support the incorporation of the Nigerian entity, while Afolabi would return to Nigeria to arrange for registering GWG Maryland’s airline business.
Awosika eventually resigned his job, as part of the agreement between both parties, exited his private businesses in the U.S, gave up his security clearance with the U.S government and returned to Nigeria to partake in running the business.
Afolabi had, with Awosika’s financial and technical support, returned to Nigeria years earlier and registered the airline with the CAC with a N500million initial share capital.
The plaintiff averred that unknown to him, “and contrary to the arrangement between the parties, the 1st defendant listed himself and his brother Taiwo Afolabi (the 3rd defendant) as the only subscribers and/or shareholders and directors of the 2nd defendant at incorporation.”
Awosika said he and Afolabi continued working towards the development of the airline business with his continued IT expertise and financial contribution towards the development of the air transport business.
“It was imperative for the 2nd defendant to obtain an Air Transport Licence (ATL) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority prior to the operation of any airplanes,” he noted.
He explained that the 1st and 2nd defendant were however cash strapped and unable to procure the funds required to obtain the ATL.
So, he (Awosika) “painstakingly sold his only rental property to raise funds for the procurement of the ATL.”
He claimed that he also withdrew all the funds he had saved and transferred the total funds from both sources to the 1st defendant for the procurement of the ATL.
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