July 20, 2024


Unforgettable trip

Fight between 85-yearold landlord, Lebanese firm over Lagos property gets messier

The property on 33 Balogun Road, Lagos, is in dispute. There are two claimants. Though the Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams’ family wishes their asset handed back to them, the Lebanese agency, which supposedly leased it, promises the assets had extensive been marketed to them. Taiwo Hassan, who has been subsequent the disagreement, reports

For the former Main Professional medical Director of Unity Clinic, Lagos, Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams, it’s been a tug-of-war hoping to reclaim his inheritance. His father, late Clarence Olatunde Williams, inherited the residence with his siblings from their possess father, James Wilson. His father, and his uncle, Charles Adeyinka Wilson, as very well as his aunts, Florence Aduke Bajomo (Nee Williams) and Adenike Wilson, had leased the assets to Mohammed El-Khalil and many others in 1953.

The lease was for 50 many years. And the 10-storey setting up was on 3/5, Bankole Street, Lagos, at that time. The road experienced given that been rearranged and it is now on 33 Balogun Avenue. Williams Snr. and his siblings had declared by themselves homeowners of the aforementioned home by inheritance less than indigenous legal guidelines and customs. But in 1953, they granted a 50-calendar year lease of the residence to Messrs Mohammed El-Khalil and Ramiz Moukarim.

Having said that, a tiny over a few many years (1956) right after the execution of the 1953 lease, Moukarim and El-Khalil allegedly claimed to have out rightly acquired the house from Williams’ father and his siblings the very same brothers and sisters who built the 1952 Declaration and signed the 1953 lease. But Williams has maintained that he had no expertise of the purported sale of the assets, insisting that the Lebanese have been occupying the building less than the 1953 lease.

At the expiration of the lease on March 31, 2003, the Lebanese, Williams reported, refused to vacate the residence, prompting him to formally notify them of the expiration of the lease, even though at the similar time requesting them to vacate the property. Williams said: “We approached the Lebanese to get again our house, but their response was disheartening. As an alternative of complying, they claimed that the house experienced been offered to their progenitor 3 years into the lease settlement. This, they mentioned, was perfected in 1956.

They drew our interest to the 1956 Deed of Transfer beneath which they claimed the assets was sold to them.” Concerned by the switch of events, the 85-yr-outdated Williams performed a look for at the lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, but what he discovered out was a lot more confounding. It was found, according to him, that the Deed of Transfer of title was in fact registered by the Lebanese as the rightful house owners of the home, scarcely 3 several years immediately after the commencement of the 50-year lease by the Williams’ household.

Not contented with what they noticed, the Williams went to acquire a copy of the 1956 Deed of Transfer and forwarded very same to the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Nigerian Police, Alagbon, Lagos, for even more scrutiny and to verify the authenticity of the signatures of his father and his father’s siblings and when compared with those people on the 1953 lease. Right after the assessment of the forensic report, the Police concluded that the signatures on the 1956 supposed Deed of Transfer of title were being solely various from those on the 1952 declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease.

They subsequently declared that the 1956 Deed of Transfer was forged. Yet another seeming abnormality that caught Williams’ eyes was the failure of the 1956 Deed of Transfer to cancel or even make any kind of reference to the 1953 Deed of Lease, which ordinarily ought to have been the circumstance.

It was also recognized that the Lebanese inadvertently misrepresented or wrongly explained Williams’ aunt, Adenike Wilson, as “Anike Wilson” in the purported 1956 Deed of Transfer despite the truth that in the 1952 Declaration and 1953 Lease, the similar aunt was persistently explained as Adenike Wilson. It was the blend of the Law enforcement findings and these contradictions that prompted Williams to technique the Superior Court of Lagos Condition to seek out to void it and to recover their family’s property.

On March 8, 2012, the loved ones commenced a accommodate at the Substantial Court of Lagos Point out, versus El-Khalil & Sons Homes Minimal and three many others. They integrated the personalized reps of the Estate of Mohammed El-Khalil, personalized representatives of the Estate of Ramiz Moukarim and the Registrar of Titles, Lands Registry of Lagos Point out as defendants. Williams had approached the court docket trying to get repossession of the property. The legal fight spanned seven years ahead of the court sent its judgement in the go well with on December, 6, 2019, in favour of Williams and his spouse and children.

A appear at the summary of the history on which the legal battle was fought as shown in a court docket document made offered to this newspaper indicated that Williams is a descendant of 1 James Wilson, the primary operator of the residence in dispute. Incidentally, the Lebanese firm, in accordance to Williams, experienced refused to hand more than the property to him and his family members and has considering that been irritating the court get on the excuse that they experienced appealed the judgement at the Courtroom of Charm, Lagos.

At the listening to of the match, equally Williams and the Lebanese known as for forensic evidence in regard of the authenticity or in any other case of the signatures on the 1956 Deed of Transfer as in contrast to the signatures on the 1952 Declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease. But in a relatively bizarre twist, the forensic physician called by the defendants testified beneath crossexamination ahead of the demo court docket that the signatures on the Deed of Transfer had been so unique from the signatures on the 1953 Lease “that there was no basis for any comparison involving the two sets of signatures.” After the judgement, the defendants filed an attraction at the Court docket of Attraction, Lagos Division, trying to find to overturn the ruling. They also used for a remain of execution of the judgement of the trial court docket pending the end result of that charm.

Yet, at the listening to of the software for keep of execution, the defendants knowledgeable the trial courtroom that they were well prepared to deposit a bank assurance with the registrar of the demo courtroom for the judgement sum pending the final result of their attraction.

By the way, Williams did not oppose the defendants’ proposal that a bank assure should be deposited in the account of the registrar of the court docket. He just included a even more issue that the management of the property really should be vested in a reputable estate administration company, even though the charm is pending before the Courtroom of Charm. Curiously and notably, the defendants did not also item to or contest this supplemental affliction. In its ruling sent on February 17, the trial court, among other issues, granted a conditional stay in line with the proposals of the get-togethers. The choose built an order to the outcome that the judgement sum and interest accruing on it up till the judgement must be deposited within seven times through a lender draft in the name of the Main Registrar of the High Court of Lagos Point out.

He also said that the management of the assets ought to be vested in a reliable estate organization to be appointed by the Chief Registrar of the Courtroom. On the other hand, the defendants, it was even more learnt, introduced a next attraction, this time, towards the purchase of conditional stay granted by the trial court virtually on the defendants’ possess terms.

The defendants’ counsel, Chief Tunde Olojo of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi, Kusamotu, Olojo & Co, on December 9, 2019, despatched a detect with Charm No: Go well with No: LD/331/2012 to the Courtroom of Attractiveness, Lagos, a duplicate of which is in possession of Saturday Telegraph. They, by means of their lawyers, reported they had been dissatisfied with the selection of the High Courtroom of Lagos Point out, contained in the judgement by Justice Candide-Johnson, delivered on December 6, 2019.

In accordance to Counsel to Khalil: “The discovered demo decide erred in legislation when he held that 1st Respondent- Dr. C.O Williams has the locus standi to institute the motion for and on behalf of the alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. The 1st respondent through the demo did not carry any loss of life certification to set up the demise of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. In the Notice of Attraction, the 1st respondent did not also guide proof of any probate/letter of administration as the executor/beneficiary of the estate of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. “Also, the 1st respondent did not tender any letter of Administration to display that the 3rd Appellant is a beneficiary of the estates of both equally 1st and 2nd Appellant. So, the realized trial decide erred in legislation when he held that the 1st respondent has set up a circumstance of forgery in opposition to the 1st -3rd Appellants and that the doctrine of genuineness did not avail them.” In a different twist even so, Williams petitioned the Federal Government by the Business of the Inspector Normal of Police (IGP). He specially asked the IGP, Mohammad Adamu, to help save him in the hands of Lebanese descendants of El-Khalil, whom, he claimed, have refused to release his family’s assets soon after the expiration of their 50-calendar year-outdated lease agreement. The petition also handles that of forgery, fraudulent conversion of property and acquiring as a result of drive pretence. In the petition dated August 28, and duly signed by him, a copy of which was designed readily available to Saturday Telegraph, showed that he was professing that the corporation of M. El-Khalil & Sons Properties Confined solid a Deed of Transfer dated December 2, 1956, and has been saying ownership of and occupying his family’s residence considering the fact that then primarily based on the cast titled document. Williams similarly claimed that the enterprise, M. El-Khalil & Sons Houses Constrained, now managed by Francis Uzom of Frank Harden Limited and Obinna Chima experienced relied on fake declare of ownership of the home to pocket large cash operating into billions of naira in rents selection from unsuspecting tenants at the house. “They have been attempting to offer the reported residence based mostly on the claimed forged title paperwork,” he further alleged. He said that his attempts to warn the occupants of the home and the normal general public, primarily probable residence buyers about the assert of ownership by M. El-Khalil & Sons Houses Restricted, have led to several threats of dying directed at him by officers of the said business. Even though responding to the weighty allegations, the Lebanese talking through their law firm, Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi and Kusamotu Olojo & Co, dismissed the dying statements allegation in his interview with our reporter. According to him, “This is a lie that was very well fabricated. In truth, the allegation is not only a lie, but also phony and baseless. It is a full lie from the air.” Omoboriowo did not only garbage Williams’ promises on home forgery, but insisted that, “It is a fabricated lies that simply cannot be confirmed by him at the law court mainly because M. El-Khalil & Sons Properties Minimal is a enterprise and if he is insisting that a firm forged a certificate like he claimed, so why did not he occur out and mention a director (s) or personnel of the enterprise that did it in M. El-Khalil & SONS Attributes Constrained and the so-referred to as director or staff members will arrive out publicly to accept or deny that.” The law firm described that the claimant has no evidence of proof to that effect as he’s making use of the threat to existence as a ploy to achieve sympathy next his clientele shift to appeal the Significant Court docket of Lagos Judgement. “There is no iota of reality in that,” he extra. Omoboriowo informed our reporter that the case is now in the Court of Appeal and that it is previously slated for listening to on December 14. “We are prepared to consider it up to the Supreme Court due to the fact our clients have a robust case to upturn the judgement in their favour pursuing the slim victory that Williams is experiencing more than the Significant Court judgement that gave him 1 of the lands on the assets.” On the coming December 14, Attraction hearing, Omoboriowo mentioned: “My clients have a powerful scenario versus him to upturn the judgement as a subject of actuality. That is why we are treading the line of professionalism, the line of the law and not resorting to push, police and in this article and there. He’s the one that goes about speaking as previous as he is. We are going to upturn it by the grace of God. The situation is nonetheless likely to the Supreme Courtroom and we are likely to overturn the initial judgement it is just a slender victory he has now.” Just lately, Williams has also complained of other alleged underhand dealings by the Lebanese. For instance, through the period when the circumstance was right before the trial court, he said, the defendants, under the guise of a bogus settlement initiative, delayed the listening to of the case for a sizeable duration of time. He also claimed that the Lebanese at some issue re-configured the assets to accommodate more tenants from whom rents operating into hundreds of hundreds of thousands have been gathered by the defendants. After the defendants ended up done with the configuration of the residence and had permit out the newly included areas to tenants, all pretences towards amicable settlement of the dispute with Williams were accomplished away with by them as they returned to announce to the demo court docket that the settlement initiative failed. Once more, even though their two appeals were being pending just before the Court docket of Attractiveness, the defendants allegedly begun boasting to the tenants in the building and the persons in the fast surroundings that they were being organized to preserve the scenario in courtroom indefinitely by means of the appeal course of action. They even pointed to the notoriously gradual judicial approach in the country, to push home their issue, Williams alleged. “They claimed that given my superior age, it is just about not possible for me to see the conclusion of the scenario in my lifetime,” he additional explained to our reporter. But the threats and needs of death notwithstanding, Williams thinks that the same Almighty God, who stored him alive throughout the duration of the situation at the trial courtroom, would maintain him via the appeal processes till his remaining vindication by the Courtroom of Attractiveness, and if have to have be, the Supreme Courtroom. Williams explained that he was steadfast in his belief that though the wheels of justice might convert little by little, they do, in truth, convert exceedingly fantastic, expressing that his religion in God and the judicial procedure had never been much better. Omoboriowo nonetheless, discussed that his clients’ organization has been in possession and occupation of the same property because 1966 devoid of any problem or disturbance from Williams’ alleged predecessors’ intitle or the Claimant. He insisted that his company carried out a general fix in the tune of N150 million for the trespass and lawful execution carried out by the Claimant and/or his brokers on the afflicted house in December 2009. According to him, the Claimant lacks the locus standi to institute or start any circumstance versus them in that he is not a social gathering to any of the transactions (title documents) when signing the deed of settlement in 1953 was carried out. Assistant property supervisor of M. El-Khalil & Sons (properties) Limited, Obinna Chima, on his portion mentioned that there is very little in any of the files placed ahead of the Courtroom by Williams from whom the Courtroom could discover or infer any romantic relationship or relationship involving the Claimant and his alleged predecessors-in-title. This, the Lebanese’ legal professionals, agreed with, when they said that this action is statute barred in that the lead to of motion which is demanding the authenticity of the Deed of transfer of Freehold dated November 2, 1956, arose 55 several years in the past. The acquired law firm argued that this suit amounts to an abuse of the method of the Court docket in that the notices to quit and see of owner’s intent to use to recover possession on which this motion is established ended up purportedly served throughout the pendency of go well with No LD/2144/05 (Dr. C.O. Williams vs M. El-Khalil & ORS) in which the said suit, events and the subject matter make a difference are the exact as in the quick fit and also a Recognize of Charm submitted by the Claimant which has not been withdrawn. Having said that, a take a look at to the house in concern by our reporter, showed that it is a 10-storey creating with store room ranging from N3 million to N15 million for each annum with traders of all kinds occupying the home. The traders market primarily sneakers, luggage, leather-based, outfits, jewelry extras, and occupy each and every floor of the creating.


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