Two businessmen, Ola Rosiji and Anil Ahluwalia, have filed a N520 million libel suit against a Lagos lawyer, Chief Chris Okunowo and a news medium over an alleged libelous publication.
The plaintiffs are claiming N500 million damages and N20 million as legal cost.
The claimants said they were allegedly defamed by a publication titled: $8.8bn fraud: lawyer faults Briton’s extradition plan.
They claimed that the publication was malicious, extremely offensive and calculated to disparage their image, integrity and business.
According to them, sometime in 2007, they formed Green Fuels Limited (GFL) as a joint venture between them (Rosiji, Ahluwalia), Comcraft Group and Mr. Deepak Khinani (a Briton).
They said GFL was formed on October 9, 2007 with an authorised share capital of N10,000,000.00 to engage in the business of supplying compressed natural gas to industries in areas where piped natural gas is not available.
The claimants said they were the initial subscribers of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of GFL and equally held 1,250,000 units of shares, while Khilnani ran GFL’s affairs.
They said the board, on January 20, 2010, increased GFL’s share capital to 150 million ordinary shares and re-allotted with 75 percent of the shares to IEAL (one of Khilnani’s companies).
They alleged that while Khilnani’s oversaw the affairs of GFL, the company had business dealings and transactions with IEAL, Gentec and CNGT (all owned by Khilnani).
The plaintiffs said they later discovered that Khilnani allegedly defrauded GFL of huge sums of money. They reported to the police, which filed criminal charges against him.
Okunowo had denied that Khilnani, charged with $ 8.8m fraud before a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, jumped police administrative bail or absconded.
He said his client was a foreigner doing legitimate business in Nigeria, adding that the insinuation that Khilnani might be extradited to Nigeria to face trial was misconceived.