Aare Afe Babalola, a prominent lawyer in Nigeria, has revealed some of the high legal fees he has charged clients, including a $30 million fee for helping the government recover $300 million from banks and a $5 million fee for an appeal case he won for Mobil in the 1980s.
Babalola, who is also the founder of Afe Babalola University, said he charged Mobil $5 million for an appeal case they lost after initially hiring another lawyer for a much lower fee.
The silk revealed this in a recent interview with a radio talk show host, Ifedayo Olarinde, aka Daddy Freeze, noting that Mobil had come to him first but initially rejected his asking fee and engaged another SAN in Lagos who charged them N500,000, but lost the case.
He said that after winning the case for Mobil, he became their special adviser.
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.”
In another case, Babalola said he struck a deal with the government to receive a 10% commission for recovering $300 million from some banks.
He said he was successful in recovering the money and received his $30 million commission.