Legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Aare Afe Babalola, has revealed some of the big legal fees he has charged from clients, saying on one occasion, he got $30million for helping the government recover $300m from banks.
In another instance, the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti in Ekiti State, said he charged Mobil $5m in an appeal case he handled for the company in the 80s.
Babalola, who revealed this in a recent interview with a radio talk show host, Ifedayo Olarinde aka Daddy Freeze, said Mobile initially rejected his asking fee and engaged another SAN in Lagos who charged them N500,000, but lost the case.
“Yes,” Babalola confirmed when Daddy Freeze said he learnt that he charged Mobil $5m.
He said, “….The client has a right to pay in dollars or (its naira) equivalent. This time I was in my office then a message came from Lagos that Mobil people from Netherlands, Scotland and America wanted to see me. I went there and met some directors there. They had a big case and I charged them $5m. They decided to negotiate but I said no; that was what I would charge for the case. They said, ‘Ok, you would hear from us.’ I went back to Ibadan. They never came back.
“About two years after, the same Mobil sent for me and I went. They told me that the last time we referred a case to you and you charged us $5m, but when you left, one of us said there was a senior advocate in Lagos who demanded less than N500,000 so we paid him. Now we have lost.
“From the way you addressed us and the confidence we want you to handle the appeal for us. Can you handle it for us? Why not, but my fee remains the same amount. They said don’t worry, we will pay this time. Not only did I collect the money, I also won the case for them. So they remain my client; I became the special adviser to the company.”
Asked about other bigger legal fees he had charged, he recalled striking a deal with the government to get a 10% commission upon recovery of the sum of $300m from some banks.
“I can remember one case where there was a syndicate of banks fighting the government over a certain matter. I said you would pay me 10% of what I collect from them. At the end of the day, I collected $300m for them and of course 10% for me,” he said.