BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

AAA Chambers secures its place in the top echelon

Ten years after it was established, AAA Chambers, has built an enviable reputation among peers and clients.

A proud member of Alliott Global Alliance, an alliance of independent professional services firms including accounting firms, law firms, audit firms, with 194 member firms in 230 cities across 80 countries, AAA Chambers has been rising steadily up the ranks.

The 15-lawyer full-service law firm was founded in May 2011 by Adetunji Adedoyin-Adeniyi, its Managing Partner. Cerebral, gregarious, and debonair to boot, one’s first impression of Adedoyin-Adetunji is that he likes to live life to the fullest.

After cutting his teeth with notable litigation firms in a broad spread of practice areas including Debt Recovery and Insolvency, Asset and Property Management, Commercial and Banking Transactions, Company Secretariat, Labour Negotiations, Financial Fraud, Land Disputes and Wills and Probate he chose to hang up his shingle.

Known for its strengths in General Advisory, Property Law, Employment Law and Labour Negotiations, Debt Recovery, and Litigation and Disputes, it would come as no surprise if AAA Chambers becomes a strong contender for the Top Ten bracket over the next decade.

These Top Ten firms – Aluko & Oyebode, Banwo & Ighodalo, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, Wole Olanipekun & Co., Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe &Belgore Lafiaji, F.O. Akinrele& Co., Detail Solicitors, Olaniwun Ajayi LP, Jackson, Etti & Edu, ACAS-Law (Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor & Segun), ǼLEX, and J-K Gadzama LLP – are Nigeria’s equivalent to the white shoe firms in the United States, and Magic Circle firms in the United Kingdom.

For years, they have dominated the stratosphere in billings and prestige in legal practice.

From humble beginnings in a cramped office space at Campbell Street, Lagos Island, the firm now occupies a state-of-the-art office in high-brow Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi.
In the highly competitive market for legal services, it is rare for young firms to gain the pace of momentum that wins attention in the comparatively record time of a decade.

AAA Chambers has done so through a diligently executed strategy that paid due attention to cases represented, client roster development, sophistication of client work, firm stability, talent attraction and retention, technical legal ability, professional conduct, commercial astuteness, client satisfaction, areas of practice, and firm culture.

A few years ago, it won a major payout for its clients in a celebrated labour case, Harrison Ossai & 62 Ors. Vs. MTN Nig Limited.

The crux of the case was that the Defendant, disengaged over 60 of its staff, despite having a 4 years “Trade Restraint” clause in its employment letters with the Claimants; which made it impossible for all the Claimants to seek employment in any of the competitors of MTN Nigeria Limited both directly and indirectly.

Appearing for his clients, Adedoyin-Adeniyi hinged his argument on the premise that the clause is completely against public policy and too harsh, considering the fact that the Defendant had the power to hire and fire. It was further argued that in the event the Defendant want to completely restrict the Claimants for the period of 48months, then the company must be willing to pay for the four years salary of all the Claimants.

The case, which has had significant implications for the burgeoning gig economy, was eventually settled at the Court of Appeal, after Hon. Justice Peter Lifu of the National Industrial Court {Now at the Federal High Ciourt} decided the case in favour of the Claimants and granted the reliefs prayed before the Court.

Last year, AAA Chambers was briefed to recover over N15 billion Naira from the promoters of Imagine Global, a popular Ponzi scheme that collapsed in August 2021.
The firm was approached because of its long experience in Debt Recovery, fraud and asset recovery including cyber fraud, skillful litigation, accounting fraud, misrepresentation, asset dissipation, invoice fraud, bribery and secret commissions, banking fraud, money laundering and white-collar crime.

Imagine Global’s founder, Bamise Samson Ajetunmobi, is alleged to have bilked thousands of microfinance banks, staff cooperative societies, investment houses, FinTechs,churches, contributory self-help associations, and individuals through mouth-watering promises of 10 per cent monthly returns.

Without delay, AAA Chambers commenced action on the matter at the High Court of Lagos State.
According to independent research by the Association of Corporate and Individual Investment Advisers, (CIIA) Nigerians have lost over N300 billion to Ponzi in the past few years.

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This estimate includes N18 biillion to Mavrodi Mundial Movement (MMM) in 2016, N900 million to Yuan Dong (YDEC) in 2017, N7 billion to Galaxy Transportation and Construction Services Limited, N2 billion to FamzhiInterbiz Limited in 2020, N1 billion to Divergent Enterprise, the holding company forLandLagos, PorkMoney, Hyberfactory and Porkoyum in 2021, N171 billion to MBA Trading in 2021, and N2 billion toBrisk Capital Limited in 2021 to name the most prominent scams in recent memory.

Of course, this list is not comprehensive. In March last year, Kalu Aja, a financial planner, started a thread on Twitter where he invited users of the social commenting site to share their experience on fraud schemes. The compiled list covered 35 names asides those already listed.

They are Abadini Rice Group, Arerben Investment Limited, B2 Consults, Bobosco FX, Cash Cloud, Chaingroup.com, Clickella, Crust.ng, DNG Investment, EsekaChukwutem Gospel Investment Company (ECG), Flagship Asset Managers, GetHelp, HB4 Universal Company, Holibiz Finance Limited, Ifecco LTD, Levitus Trade, Luxuriant Wealth, Megawill Integrated Global Investment Company, Menorah Farms, Micheno Ventures, Ortseam Evolution Ventures, Pennywise, Priority Investment Forum, Quintessential Investment Company, Racksterly, SAMFX Investment, Standard Elite Investors, Steady Profitability, Swiss Gold Market, Tellerforex, TheMap.ng, Tonso Elites, Twinkas,Ultimate Cycler, and Wales Kingdom Capital.

The massive scale of these unregulated schemes have a real potential to cast Nigeria as the African capital of Ponzi.
The damage this would do to the national reputation will be incalculable being that it is already iron-branded as the continental capital for international drug transit, advance fee fraud, and sex trafficking.

Seen in this light, the outcome of the Imagine Global case will have a major impact on Nigeria’s reputation across borders, as well as the future of domestic capital mobilization.

Adedoyin-Adeniyi understands the gravity of the case. His team has crafted a legal strategy that includes obtaining effective and time-critical legal remedies to secure and recover assets, such as freezing injunctions, disclosure orders and other ancillary relief for the identification and protection of assets across multiple jurisdictions if need be.

To date, AAA Chambers has played a key role in securing an Order of Mareva Injunction restraining all the commercial banks wherein the directors of Imagine Global maintain accounts from dissipating with such funds pending the determination of the substantive debt recovery suit.

It has also successfully obtained before the Court a worldwide Order restraining the defendants from dissipating their assets.

On October 24, 2021, Justice Toyin Oyekan-Abdullahi of the Lagos State High Court, which sat at Osborne Road, Ikoyi while ruling on an ex parte application in suit no: LD/579CM/2021, filed by aggrieved investors of the company through AAA Chambers restrained the four Defendants – Imagine Global Holding Company Limited, Imagine Global Solutions Limited and its owners, Bamise and Elizabeth Ajetunmobi – from accessing funds up to N11,795,090,000 in the twenty-one commercial accounts pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

The banks where the funds are domiciled are Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, Citi Bank Nigeria, Ecobank Nigeria, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, First City Monument Bank, Globus Bank, Heritage Bank, Jaiz Bank, Keystone Bank, Polaris Bank, Providus Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Sterling Bank, Union Bank, United Bank For Africa, Unity Bank, Wema Bank and Zenith Bank.

The law firm also secured a further restraining order against the defendants from selling, transferring, assigning and/or dealing with the following properties: Apartment 7, Oakwood Residences, 23, Cooper Street, Ikoyi, Lagos and B4, Gate 3, Lafiaji Road, Victoria Crescent Estate, Olugborogon, Chevron, Lagos or any other properties of the 1st, 2nd 3rd and 4th Defendants that can be traced and located by Claimants/ Applicants during the pendency of the suit.

Through representations like these AAA Chambers is winning regard for stepping in to defend victims where regulators drop the ball.
Notable for its CSR initiatives, AAA Chambers actively supports indigent children through school, elderly persons, and economically disadvantaged families with basic necessities to support their dignity.

In recognition of its strides, the firm received the Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution Firm of the Year award at the Nigerian Business Leadership Awards in December 2021.

When contacted about its plans for 2022, A. Adedoyin-Adeniyi affirmed his resolute focus on clients and professional excellence. “As a firm, AAA Chambers remains committed to giving our clients premium satisfaction and proffering solutions through dynamic instruments of the Law as required in our fast changing environment.” He said.

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