From a relatively unknown UK-based artiste, Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo, D’Banj has become one of the biggest musicians in Africa over the last decade. Widely known as the Kokomaster, D’banj has several local and international awards and endorsement deals to his name today.
However, the pop star seems to be going through an unpleasant period in his career as some people who claim to be owed by D’banj are threatening a legal action against him.
According to NET investigations, the issuance of dud cheques and non-payment of accrued debts top the list of infractions against the DB Records boss who now calls himself Bangalee.
As things stand, D’banj may be dragged to court by a top oil and gas industry player, Henry Ojogho, Vice Chairman of Broron Group. Ojogho, who is also the Vice Chairman of MindHub Tehnologies, an integrated Rice farming and milling production company, alleges that D’banj, through his company, DKM Media Limited, obtained a loan of over N60m from him in January 2013 and has not paid back the said sum despite signing an undertaking to do so.
In addition, the man is claiming that the entertainer has issued two cheques already; one on December 20, 2013 and another on January 20, 2014, both of which had to be returned unpaid after presentation because the pop star’ accounts were not funded enough.
According to documents obtained by NET, a firm of attorneys, D.U.ODIGIE & CO acting on behalf of Henry Ojogho, in a letter addressed to D’Banj, wrote: ‘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) (in) 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.’
Further investigations by NET revealed that Henry Ojogho is not the only wealthy man claiming D’banj owes him in recent times. There are a number of others, according to our sources. So bad is the situation that an industry source who pleaded anonymity, chides the ‘Igwe’ singer thus: ‘Using the sympathy and naivety of unsuspecting investors coming into the game to dupe them is criminal and absolutely destroying the image of the industry at large, because in the long run it affects and corrupts the judgment of genuine investors who would pull out for fear of being duped.’
NET also contacted the law firm of the claimant and a lawyer at the chambers but who doesn’t want his name disclosed spoke to us, saying: ‘It is true that we have such a case in court but the case is yet to come up for hearing so I cannot comment on it yet.
‘Professionally, I cannot make any comments now because the defendant has not been served the court papers because they said he’s out of the country. But, any moment from now, he’ll receive the writ of summons. As soon as he receives it, then it becomes a public case. ‘But for now that he has not been served, the law does not allow me to make such comments because as far as the law is concerned, the man is not aware yet, but I can confirm to you that the matter is in court.’
Other people D’banj allegedly owes…
D’banj It is alleged that D’banj approached a number of very wealthy people with business proposals, urging them to invest in the industry and set up entertainment companies.
With the promise of developing artistes and huge returns on investments, the businessmen became interested only for him to collect their money and move on to the next target with the same ‘format’. Below is a list of a number of names he allegedly owes according to sources.
WALTER WAGBATSOMA (200,000 Pounds) Mr Walter is a billionaire with investments in major areas, ranging from oil and gas to real estate, banking, equities and even insurance. He is the founder and executive Vice Chairman of Ontario Oil and he’s one of the first men who were said to have handed money to D’banj, with a whopping sum of 200,000 Pounds said to be involved.
PRINCE D. OKONKWO ($200,000) He’s the chairman, Board of Directors of Tetrazini Group of Companies and he is said to have given about $200,000 to D’banj in the name of investing in entertainment. When the issue with Prince Okonkwo got out of hand, D’banj was said to have sought help from Dapo Abiodun, boss of Heyden Oil and Gas who helped him take care of the debt through a repayment plan.
The Koko Concert Drama…
Still fresh in the memory of Nigerians is the controversial 2012 edition of Koko Concert in which people had to trek for miles before getting to the venue and back.
This is not forgetting the inhuman treatment meted out to those with regular tickets.
D'banj reportedly made close to N87m from tickets sales alone at that event and reports allege he collected a whooping $500,000 from GTBank and other title sponsors of the show.
D’banj is reported as yet to recover from the 2012 Koko Concert though, which is believed to have led him not just into debts but made him part ways with several of his closest allies.
Is D’banj broke?
D’banj’s last real album, a ground-breaking body of works titled The Entertainer was released in September 2008, before he released the DKM compilation in June 2013. It’s safe therefore to say D’banj hasn’t released an album in the last 6 years, yet he has managed to stay very relevant in the industry, which is largely due to his staying power and tenacity.
In 2014, he has been part of several campaigns in agriculture, poverty alleviation, economy, and recently became the first African Ambassador for BeatsByDre having signed a deal with tech giants, Apple. He is also putting finishing touches to plans to drop an album in celebration of his 10th year anniversary in the music industry.
Having said that, it’s evident that while he has not headlined any major show in the last 6 months, D’banj has other multiple streams of income.
However, it is amazing that despite D’banj’s remarkable success and many endorsement deals over the years, he has no building or house of his own. The place he currently calls home, a building on Osaro Isopkai Street in Lekki is a rented apartment. As a matter of fact, investigations revealed his current rent in the said apartment will expire this month.
D’banj returned to the country on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 after spending about 3 months in the United States of America. And now that he is back, a court case bearing his name might come up for hearing soon, unless he is able to settle or pacify those who are reportedly waiting to swoop on him.