AML People, one of the things you all have to understand is that when lawyers talk, particularly trial lawyers, it is because we speak from experience. As trial lawyers, we are always on the front lines of the battle field so we know when that legal bomb is about to go off and when you could potentially be exposed to serious legal injuries.
Therefore, when we share our insights, it is important to pay attention. In the Nigerian and African space, Africans tend to want to attack the person sharing the information. Attacking the person will not change the inevitable outcome or our predictions, mine included.
Indeed, as I have said many times on this blog, my predictions are usually on the money. You as the recipient either make the much needed pivot or deal with the legal drama, stress, loss of money, canceled deals and the high cost of attorney fees. Really, it’s all up to you.
Now let’s get into the breaking news of today. D’Banj has been sued by a technology company for alleged outstanding debt of $240,000 and some fraction. The company is now focused on “serving” D’Banj. They also seem to suggest that D’Banj is avoiding service.
What does it mean to be served? When a Plaintiff files a lawsuit against a Defendant, the Plaintiff must provide notice to the Defendant so the Defendant can come into court and defend himself. Without that notice served in compliance with the rules of the game aka Civil Procedure, the case cannot move forward and could potentially be dismissed. If the Defendant has been served and refuses to show up, then it is a default judgment against the Defendant and for the Plaintiff, meaning the Plaintiff automatically wins.
In my last talk about D’Banj a few days ago, in the post and comment section, I said, D’Banj be careful. You keep entering into these contractual agreements but you are doing nothing to protect your trademark, trade name and publicity rights. When you unveil the way you have done with Kanye West and now Apple, you dilute your brand. You can’t afford to dilute your brand given your past and current career trajectory.
This recent lawsuit underscores my point.
Now before you all get too excited. Here is the deal:
1. If you are a business owner, at some point, you will sue or get sued. It just is what it is. If you do business in America, this is almost a guaranteed fact, especially in the entertainment industry.
2. If you live in Nigeria and you are a major entertainment celebrity or artist, expect this to become a reality at a higher frequency. Nigeria’s entertainment industry is becoming more sophisticated by the day and mirroring a lot of the highs and lows of America’s entertainment industry. In entertainment it is all about deal making and/or trading of intellectual property rights. With that comes breach of contract issues under contract law, copyright infringement issues under intellectual property law and a whole host of other legal issues.
Indeed out of Nigeria, names like Asa (Defamation case over being called a Lesbian), 2Face (threat of a defamation lawsuit over a report that he allegedly impregnated a banker with his eight child), Brymo (breach of contract in Chocolate City artist-label agreement) are just examples of what lies ahead. You will need fierce litigators and solid entertainment lawyers.
3. As an artist, artist-entrepreneur and business owner in general, you gotta assess your risks. Borrow wisely. Reduce overhead expenses and cost. The idea that you have to live above your means so people know you have made it, is an idea you should reject. You can still look wealthy and have a wealthy mindset without spending a fortune.
For all artists, it is irrelevant if your income is $1million a year, if your expenditures are just as high.
For example, if you are D’Banj and you have to allegedly pay Kanye West an arm and a leg for a joint-venture record label deal, or you in fact paid Snoop Lion an arm and a leg for a video collabo, among many operational costs, it really adds up. If you ain’t got that “G.O.O.D” music money coming in, then you better believe your creditors (investors included) will come calling.
Check out the news story below. We will see how all these unfolds in the weeks ahead. Like I said, I like D’Banj. He just needs to listen, especially when the information is freely available on the web.
“…We act as Solicitors to MINDHUB TECHNOLOGIES LTD (hereinafter called “OUR CLIENT”), and on whose instruction we write you this letter in the manner stated hereunder.
“It is our brief that sometime in January 2013 in Lagos, you signed a Personal Guarantee/Memorandum of Undertaking with our client wherein you agreed/undertook to pay our client the investment fund of N100,000,000.00k (One Hundred Million Naira Only) given to D KINGS MEDIA LIMITED by our client, should the latter default in payment of the debt. The said debt is made up of Nigerian and United States of America’s currencies,” the letter stated.
“The attorney accused D’banj of issuing two dud cheques: “Following the default by D KINGS MEDIA LIMITED to pay the debt to our client, and pursuant to the aforementioned personal Guarantee/Memorandum of Undertaking, you issued two post-dated cheques; one for the sum of $240,000,000 (Two Hundred and Forty Thousand United States Dollars Only) dated 20/12/2013, and the other for the sum of N15,000,000,00k (Fifteen Million Naira Only) dated 20/1/2014. Both cheques were returned unpaid on presentation by our client.
“We are further informed that although you thereafter paid the sum of N8, 600,00.00K ( Eight Million, Six Hundred Thousand Naira Only) out of the N15,000,000,00k (Fifteen Million Naira Only) Cheque, leaving a balance sum of N6,400.000.00k (Six Million, Four Hundred Thousand Naira Only), you have failed, neglected or refused to redeem the entire or any part of the $240,000.00 (Two Hundred and Forty Thousand United State Dollars) cheque,” the letter signed by a Mrs. C.1 Ugwuanyi said.
The letter reminded the singer of the implications of issuing dud cheques: “You are no doubt aware that it is a serious criminal offence to issue a dud cheque. The offence attracts grave legal consequences under the DISHONOURED CHEQUES ACT, and our client has the option to ensure your prosecution.
“In the circumstance, we have our client’s instruction to demand payment of the aforementioned outstanding sums/debts of $240,000.00 (Two Hundred and Forty Thousand United States Dollars) and N6, 400.000.00k (Six Million, Four Hundred Thousand Naira Only) respectively to our client through this Law office within seven days from the date of receipt of this letter.”
The ultimatum has elapsed and D’banj according to reports, instead of paying the money, decided to flee to South Africa. Mindhub Technologies have since dragged him to a Lagos High Court.
D’banj’s modus operandi has been the same, he approaches very wealthy men luring them to invest in the industry, to set up entertainment companies and develop artistes for them with the promise of huge returns on their investments, but rather he collects their money and moves on to the next target with the same
D’banj is allegedly indebted to so many wealthy people who he took soft loans from to fund his shows and expensive life style according to a close source.
The implication of D’banj’s actions on the entertainment industry is that, people willing to invest would be scared because the ones that have tried it with him have had their fingers burnt. That is just the sad reality of the situation…” – My Sugar Daily
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
LAGOS STATE OF NIGERIA
IN THE LAGOS JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT LAGOS
GENERAL FORM OF WRIT OF SUMMONS
MINDHUB TECHNOLOGIES LTD………………………………… CLAIMANT
(A.K.A. D’BANJ, A.K.A THE KOKOMASTER)………………………… DEFENDANT
To:Defendant,No.8, Osaro Isokpan Street, Lekki Phase 1,Lagos.
You are hereby commanded that within forty-two days after the service of this writ on you, inclusive of the day of such service you do cause an appearance to be entered for you in an action at the suit of MINDHUB TECHNOLOGIES LTD and take notice that in default of your so doing the claimant may proceed therein, and judgment may be given in your absence.
DATED this ………………………….day of ………………………..20……………..……………………
Memorandum to be subscribed on the writ.
NB:This writ is to be served within three calendar months from the date thereof, or, if renewed, within three calendar months from the date of the last renewal, including the day of such date, and not afterwards.
The defendant may enter appearance personally or by legal practitioner either by heading in the appropriate forms, duly completed, at the Registry of the High Court of the Judicial Division in which the action is bought or by sending them to the registry by registered post.
Indorsements to be made on the writ before issue thereof
The claimant’s claims for recovery of debt.(liquidated demand)’
This writ was issued by Dennis UyiOdigie of …. D.U Odigie & Co. whose address for service is 170 Siluko Road, Benin City, Nigeria, and whose Address within Jurisdiction is c/o Benedict Emeka Onyeabor Esq., Sam Ogungbamila &Co, No. 104, Iwaya Road, Onike, Yaba, Lagos, legal practitioner for the said claimant who resides at Plot 15 Block 110, Henry ojogho Crescent, Off Road 69, lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
Indorsement to be made on copy of writ forthwith after service.
This writ was served by the at……………………on the defendant (here insert mode of service)
On the ………………………..day of ………………20…………………..Indorsed the ……………..day of ………………………..20……………………
By a Personal Guarantee/Memorandum of Undertaking dated 7/1/2013, the defendant undertook/promised to pay or to be held liable to the Claimant for the sums of USD500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand U.S Dollars) and N20, 000, 000.00 (Twenty Million Naira) respectively which DKINGS MEDIA LTD was to pay to claimant under a contract it signed with the claimant, in the event of DKINGS MEDIA LTD failure to pay the debt to claimant.
Following D’KINGS MEDIA LTD’S failure to pay up the aforesaid sums of money to the claimant, the defendant paid to the claimant the sums of USD 260,000 (Two Hundred and Sixty Thousand U.S Dollars) and N13,600,000.00(Thirteen Million, Six Hundred Thousand Naira) leaving the balance sums of USD 240,000 (Two Hundred and Forty Thousand U.S Dollars) and N6,400,000.00 (Six Million Four Hundred Thousand Naira Only) respectively.
Despite numerous promises from the defendant, and in spite of repeated demands from the Claimant, the defendant has failed, refused or neglected to pay the said outstanding sums of USD 240,000 (Two Hundred and Forty Thousand U.S Dollars) and N6,400,000.00 (Six Million Four Hundred Thousand Naira Only) to the claimant, hence this action.
The claimant hereby gives the defendant NOTICE TO PRODUCE the original copies of all correspondence/relevant documents issued to him by claimant who shall at the trial rely on same.
DATED THIS………………….DAY OF……………………………2014
For :D.U. ODIGIE & CO.
No 170 Siluko Road,
ADDRESS WITHIN JURISDICTION
C/O Benedict EmekaOnyeabor Esq,
Sam Ogungbamila& Co,