Sahara energy drags Femi Akande,Kilimanjaro to court over breach of contract

Nigerian businessman and managing director, Kilimanjaro Entertainment Limited, Femi Akande is in a legal mess. The showbiz mogul and his entertainment outfit have been dragged before Justice K. O. Dawodu of the Lagos High Court for breach of contractual agreement to bring famous British singer, Craig David to perform in Lagos, Nigeria.

Femi Akande

Akande’s Kilimanjaro Entertainment was dragged before the court by Sahara Group, Nigeria’s leading energy and infrastructure conglomerate, for failure to refund the sum of $60,000 which is part of the $110,000 full fees paid in advance by the energy company to have the ‘Rendezvous’ crooner on stage in Lagos.

According to the court papers, Sahara Group is asking the court for an order directing Akande and his company to pay a compound interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum on the said $60,000 or its Naira equivalent at the Parallel Market rate from January 22, 2014 until judgment.

The company is also asking the court for an order directing Akande and Kilimanjaro to pay compound interest at the rate of 10 per cent per annum on the entire judgment sum from the date of judgment until the entire sum is liquidated and Costs of instituting the suit.

In its statements of claim filed before the court by its lawyer, Pius Sodje, Sahara Group stated that Kilimanjaro, which has its registered office at 224, Etim lnyang Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos, was approached sometime in 2013, when the Group wanted to organise an End of Year Party to appreciate its staff and clients.

The Group averred that in furtherance of that decision, it contracted Akande, through his company, to handle the entertainment aspect of the party.

Akande’s outfit then sent a proposal for the entertainment and part of the proposal included inviting Craig David to perform at the exclusive party. The Group was charged, for the performance fee of the international star, a total sum of $110,000.

The Sahara Group claimed that upon receipt of the fee for the performance of Craig David from Kilimanjaro, the Group made payment for the full amount of $110,000 and thereafter sent out invitations to its clients, Staff and other prominent members of the society informing them that Craig David was going to perform at the party.

But few days to the date of the party and to the greatest surprise of the Sahara Group Executives, Akande’s entertainment outfit allegedly reneged and said it could no longer fulfill its mandate of inviting Craig David to perform at the party again. The outfit, however, offered an alternative in the person of Nigerian international singer, Asa, who was said to have agreed to be paid $50,000 only, for her performance.

Sahara Group, faced with the embarrassing situation and in order not to totally disappoint its staff and invited guests, agreed to the performance of Asa instead of Craig David and the parties thereafter agreed that the balance of $60,000 from the initial payment of $110,000, paid to Kilimanjaro for the performance of Craig David be refunded.

In its claims, Sahara Group averred further that after the event, it initiated discussions with Akande and his company on the refund on $60,000.

On January 2, 2014, through its Managing Director, Babatomiwa Adesida, Sahara Group wrote an email to Akande demanding for the refund of the $60,000. Upon receipt of the email, Akande, allegedly confirmed the outstanding amount to be refunded as $60,000 and promised to make the refund soonest.

Sahara Group also stated that despite the acknowledgment of the outstanding sum and the promises made to pay, Akande and his company, have remained adamant in fulfilling their obligation of refunding the outstanding sum.

As a result, Sahara Group briefed the law firm of Le Pestro Solicitors and instructed them to recover the funds from the defendant.

Following the instruction, the law firm wrote two letters to Akande through his email address which has been channel of communication between them in the course of the transaction that led to the suit.

Sahara Group stated that by an email sent on July 19, 2019, its Counsel on its behalf attached a demand letter dated July 18, 2019 requesting for the refund of the $60,000, within 14 days of the receipt of the letter or a meeting of parties for amicable resolution of the matter.

Despite the receipt of the email and the attachment, Akande and his company allegedly refused to refund the money and did not even bother to have any meeting with the Sahara Group officials as requested. And following the expiration of the period for payment in the Ietter attached to the email of July 19, 2019, the Group’s Solicitor by another email dated August 16, 2019 sent to Akande attached a further letter of demand with August 26, as the deadline for payment.

Akande, in his usual manner, ignored the letter.

Sahara Group averred that the refusal of Akande to refund the money or attend any meeting was deliberate and intended to deny the Claimant the use of its funds. An action, the energy conglomerate claimed, has caused it great loss as the funds the defendant tied down would have by now yielded profit if it had invested same in its business.

Consequently, Sahara Group asked for the above orders and claims against Akande and his Kilimanjaro Entertainment outfit.

Despite this recent saga, Akande has had the pedigree of having brought so many other international superstars to headline several shows in Nigeria.

Akande’s Kilimanjaro outfit had flew in Joe, Anita Baker, Sean Paul, Mary J Blige and Chris Brown among other names to rock many of Nigeria’s biggest concert alongside other Nigerian superstars.

Nevertheless, Akande has not been short of controversies as regards his shows and foreign artistes but it’s this saga with the Sahara Group that would be leading to litigation.

It will be recalled in 2008 when Akande’s outfit brought in American soul singer Anita Baker for a two-day gigs in Nigeria. The first day was for a private birthday bash engagement by the Subomi Balogun clan. But on the second night for an highly anticipated concert, Anita Baker kept her Lagos fans waiting all night; and eventually not showing up, in spite of the fact that most of the fans had paid between $500, $1000 and $9000 to see her perform.

The multi-platinum singer refused to hit the stage, following an alleged disagreement with Akande and his outfit over the hall’s sitting arrangement.

Anita Baker is believed to favour concert style settings and sources said she was upset by the ‘banquet style’ sitting arrangement and the fact that tables had been sold. She had blatantly refused to step into the hall despite several passionate pleas.

Also in November 2013, Akande and his company were in the news after another United States artiste and rapper, Wale failed to show up at the well-advertised Ice Prince‘s ‘Fire of Zamani‘ concert where he was expected to perform live on the stage of Expo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites.

Akande had blamed the international rap star for not making the November 23, 2013 concert as earlier announced. But Wale said he could not travel to Nigeria because Akande’s Kilimanjaro failed to purchase travel tickets for himself and his crew.

Justice K. O. Dawodu, has fixed February 13, 2020, for the hearing of the suit, but Akande and Kilimanjaro Entertainment Limited is yet to file any response or counter to the suit

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