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

The home on 33 Balogun Avenue, Lagos, is in dispute. There are two claimants. Although the Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams’ family wishes their asset handed again to them, the Lebanese company, which supposedly leased it, promises the property had long been sold to them. Taiwo Hassan, who has been adhering to the disagreement, reviews

For the previous Main Healthcare Director of Unity Hospital, 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 personal father, James Wilson. His father, and his uncle, Charles Adeyinka Wilson, as properly as his aunts, Florence Aduke Bajomo (Nee Williams) and Adenike Wilson, experienced leased the home to Mohammed El-Khalil and many others in 1953.

The lease was for 50 decades. And the 10-storey setting up was on 3/5, Bankole Road, Lagos, at that time. The avenue experienced considering the fact that been rearranged and it’s now on 33 Balogun Road. Williams Snr. and his siblings experienced declared them selves house owners of the aforementioned residence by inheritance below native rules and customs. But in 1953, they granted a 50-yr lease of the assets to Messrs Mohammed El-Khalil and Ramiz Moukarim.

Even so, a little above three decades (1956) immediately after the execution of the 1953 lease, Moukarim and El-Khalil allegedly claimed to have out rightly procured the home from Williams’ father and his siblings the exact same brothers and sisters who designed the 1952 Declaration and signed the 1953 lease. But Williams has taken care of that he had no knowledge of the purported sale of the house, insisting that the Lebanese were occupying the setting up less than the 1953 lease.

At the expiration of the lease on March 31, 2003, the Lebanese, Williams explained, refused to vacate the home, prompting him to formally notify them of the expiration of the lease, while at the same time requesting them to vacate the residence. Williams claimed: “We approached the Lebanese to get again our residence, but their reaction was disheartening. In its place of complying, they claimed that the property had been sold to their progenitor a few a long time into the lease agreement. This, they stated, was perfected in 1956.

They drew our awareness to the 1956 Deed of Transfer under which they claimed the residence was marketed to them.” Nervous by the convert of situations, the 85-calendar year-previous Williams done a research at the lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, but what he observed out was additional confounding. It was discovered, in accordance to him, that the Deed of Transfer of title was in fact registered by the Lebanese as the rightful house owners of the assets, barely a few decades right after the commencement of the 50-yr lease by the Williams’ relatives.

Not pleased with what they saw, the Williams went to acquire a copy of the 1956 Deed of Transfer and forwarded exact to the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Nigerian Law enforcement, Alagbon, Lagos, for more scrutiny and to confirm the authenticity of the signatures of his father and his father’s siblings and in comparison with all those on the 1953 lease. Just after the investigation of the forensic report, the Police concluded that the signatures on the 1956 supposed Deed of Transfer of title were completely distinct from all those on the 1952 declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease.

They subsequently declared that the 1956 Deed of Transfer was cast. A further seeming abnormality that caught Williams’ eyes was the failure of the 1956 Deed of Transfer to cancel or even make any type of reference to the 1953 Deed of Lease, which ordinarily ought to have been the scenario.

It was also seen that the Lebanese inadvertently misrepresented or wrongly described Williams’ aunt, Adenike Wilson, as “Anike Wilson” in the purported 1956 Deed of Transfer in spite of the simple fact that in the 1952 Declaration and 1953 Lease, the identical aunt was constantly explained as Adenike Wilson. It was the mixture of the Law enforcement conclusions and these contradictions that prompted Williams to technique the High Court docket of Lagos State to seek to void it and to recover their family’s property.

On March 8, 2012, the family members commenced a go well with at the Significant Court of Lagos Condition, towards El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Minimal and 3 other people. They provided the private representatives of the Estate of Mohammed El-Khalil, private 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 in search of repossession of the assets. The legal struggle spanned 7 years just before the court docket delivered its judgement in the suit on December, 6, 2019, in favour of Williams and his spouse and children.

A glance at the summary of the track record on which the authorized struggle was fought as proven in a courtroom document produced accessible to this newspaper indicated that Williams is a descendant of 1 James Wilson, the unique owner of the residence in dispute. Incidentally, the Lebanese organization, in accordance to Williams, experienced refused to hand over the assets to him and his family members and has due to the fact been aggravating the court docket purchase on the excuse that they experienced appealed the judgement at the Court of Attractiveness, Lagos.

At the listening to of the fit, both equally Williams and the Lebanese called for forensic evidence in respect of the authenticity or or else of the signatures on the 1956 Deed of Transfer as in comparison to the signatures on the 1952 Declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease. But in a rather bizarre twist, the forensic doctor known as by the defendants testified beneath crossexamination ahead of the demo courtroom that the signatures on the Deed of Transfer had been so various from the signatures on the 1953 Lease “that there was no basis for any comparison between the two sets of signatures.” After the judgement, the defendants submitted an attractiveness at the Courtroom of Appeal, Lagos Division, looking for to overturn the ruling. They also used for a stay of execution of the judgement of the demo courtroom pending the outcome of that appeal.

However, at the hearing of the software for remain of execution, the defendants educated the demo court docket that they were well prepared to deposit a bank promise with the registrar of the trial court for the judgement sum pending the consequence of their attractiveness.

Incidentally, Williams did not oppose the defendants’ proposal that a bank guarantee should be deposited in the account of the registrar of the court docket. He merely included a additional situation that the administration of the property need to be vested in a reputable estate administration company, whilst the enchantment is pending ahead of the Courtroom of Attraction. Curiously and notably, the defendants did not also object to or contest this supplemental situation. In its ruling shipped on February 17, the trial courtroom, among the other factors, granted a conditional keep in line with the proposals of the functions. The choose manufactured an buy to the effect that the judgement sum and desire accruing on it up until the judgement must be deposited within just 7 times via a lender draft in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Substantial Court of Lagos State.

He also explained that the administration of the assets really should be vested in a respected estate agency to be appointed by the Main Registrar of the Court. Having said that, the defendants, it was even further learnt, released a second charm, this time, from the purchase of conditional keep granted by the demo court docket pretty much on the defendants’ possess conditions.

The defendants’ counsel, Chief Tunde Olojo of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi, Kusamotu, Olojo & Co, on December 9, 2019, despatched a observe with Appeal No: Suit No: LD/331/2012 to the Courtroom of Charm, Lagos, a copy of which is in possession of Saturday Telegraph. They, by means of their legal professionals, said they ended up dissatisfied with the conclusion of the Superior Courtroom of Lagos Condition, contained in the judgement by Justice Candide-Johnson, sent on December 6, 2019.

According to Counsel to Khalil: “The realized trial choose erred in regulation when he held that 1st Respondent- Dr. C.O Williams has the locus standi to institute the action for and on behalf of the alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. The 1st respondent all through the trial did not carry any dying certificate to build the demise of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. In the Observe of Attractiveness, 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 uncovered demo choose erred in regulation when he held that the 1st respondent has set up a scenario of forgery against the 1st -3rd Appellants and that the doctrine of genuineness did not avail them.” In a further twist having said that, Williams petitioned the Federal Federal government by way of the Office environment of the Inspector Basic of Law enforcement (IGP). He especially questioned the IGP, Mohammad Adamu, to save him in the arms of Lebanese descendants of El-Khalil, whom, he mentioned, have refused to release his family’s house just after the expiration of their 50-calendar year-previous lease arrangement. The petition also addresses that of forgery, fraudulent conversion of assets and getting through force pretence. In the petition dated August 28, and duly signed by him, a copy of which was designed obtainable to Saturday Telegraph, confirmed that he was declaring that the firm of M. El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Restricted solid a Deed of Transfer dated December 2, 1956, and has been saying possession of and occupying his family’s assets due to the fact then based mostly on the forged titled document. Williams equally claimed that the corporation, M. El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Confined, now managed by Francis Uzom of Frank Harden Restricted and Obinna Chima had relied on bogus declare of possession of the property to pocket huge dollars functioning into billions of naira in rents selection from unsuspecting tenants at the residence. “They have been making an attempt to promote the reported residence based mostly on the stated forged title documents,” he even more alleged. He reported that his endeavours to alert the occupants of the assets and the normal community, especially likely property purchasers about the claim of ownership by M. El-Khalil & Sons Properties Restricted, have led to quite a few threats of loss of life directed at him by officers of the said corporation. Even though responding to the weighty allegations, the Lebanese speaking by their lawyer, Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi and Kusamotu Olojo & Co, dismissed the loss of life statements allegation in his job interview with our reporter. According to him, “This is a lie that was properly fabricated. In point, the allegation is not only a lie, but also untrue and baseless. It is a complete lie from the air.” Omoboriowo did not only garbage Williams’ claims on home forgery, but insisted that, “It is a fabricated lies that can not be verified by him at the law courtroom since M. El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Minimal is a enterprise and if he is insisting that a firm solid a certification like he claimed, so why did not he arrive out and point out a director (s) or workers of the organization that did it in M. El-Khalil & SONS Properties Constrained and the so-known as director or team will occur out publicly to settle for or deny that.” The law firm spelled out that the claimant has no evidence of proof to that result as he’s applying the danger to daily life as a ploy to attain sympathy subsequent his purchasers go to charm the Higher Courtroom of Lagos Judgement. “There is no iota of truth of the matter in that,” he included. Omoboriowo instructed our reporter that the circumstance is already in the Court of Attraction and that it is by now slated for listening to on December 14. “We are all set to just take it up to the Supreme Court for the reason that our purchasers have a powerful situation to upturn the judgement in their favour next the trim victory that Williams is savoring over the Superior Courtroom judgement that gave him one of the lands on the assets.” On the coming December 14, Charm listening to, Omoboriowo explained: “My purchasers have a sturdy scenario versus him to upturn the judgement as a make a difference of truth. That is why we are treading the line of professionalism, the line of the legislation and not resorting to push, police and right here and there. He’s the 1 that goes about speaking as outdated as he is. We are heading to upturn it by the grace of God. The case is even now likely to the Supreme Courtroom and we are going to overturn the preliminary judgement it is just a trim victory he has now.” Recently, Williams has also complained of other alleged underhand dealings by the Lebanese. For instance, through the time period when the situation was ahead of the demo court, he mentioned, the defendants, below the guise of a bogus settlement initiative, delayed the hearing of the scenario for a significant duration of time. He also claimed that the Lebanese at some issue re-configured the property to accommodate far more tenants from whom rents working into hundreds of hundreds of thousands were collected by the defendants. Right after the defendants have been completed with the configuration of the home and had let out the freshly additional areas to tenants, all pretences in the direction of amicable settlement of the dispute with Williams were being done absent with by them as they returned to announce to the demo court docket that the settlement initiative failed. Again, when their two appeals were pending right before the Court of Charm, the defendants allegedly started boasting to the tenants in the constructing and the people today in the quick atmosphere that they had been organized to hold the scenario in courtroom indefinitely via the attraction procedure. They even pointed to the notoriously slow judicial course of action in the nation, to drive home their place, Williams alleged. “They claimed that presented my highly developed age, it is practically extremely hard for me to see the conclusion of the case in my life span,” he even further instructed our reporter. But the threats and wishes of death notwithstanding, Williams thinks that the same Almighty God, who held him alive all through the duration of the circumstance at the demo court, would sustain him via the appeal procedures until eventually his final vindication by the Court docket of Attractiveness, and if want be, the Supreme Court docket. Williams said that he was steadfast in his perception that though the wheels of justice may possibly flip gradually, they do, in simple fact, transform exceedingly fine, saying that his religion in God and the judicial method experienced never ever been much better. Omoboriowo nevertheless, defined that his clients’ organization has been in possession and profession of the identical house considering that 1966 with no any obstacle or disturbance from Williams’ alleged predecessors’ intitle or the Claimant. He insisted that his organization carried out a normal repair service in the tune of N150 million for the trespass and lawful execution carried out by the Claimant and/or his agents on the impacted house in December 2009. According to him, the Claimant lacks the locus standi to institute or start any case versus them in that he is not a celebration to any of the transactions (title documents) when signing the deed of arrangement in 1953 was carried out. Assistant property supervisor of M. El-Khalil & Sons (qualities) Restricted, Obinna Chima, on his portion claimed that there is very little in any of the documents put ahead of the Courtroom by Williams from whom the Courtroom could discover or infer any romance or connection between the Claimant and his alleged
predecessors-in-title. This, the Lebanese’ attorneys, agreed with, when they mentioned that this motion is statute barred in that the bring about of motion which is challenging the authenticity of the Deed of transfer of Freehold dated November 2, 1956, arose 55 a long time ago. The discovered law firm argued that this match amounts to an abuse of the approach of the Court in that the notices to give up and notice of owner’s intent to utilize to recuperate possession upon which this motion is launched ended up purportedly served throughout the pendency of accommodate No LD/2144/05 (Dr. C.O. Williams vs M. El-Khalil & ORS) in which the explained suit, get-togethers and the matter matter are the exact as in the fast accommodate and also a Discover of Attractiveness submitted by the Claimant which has not been withdrawn. On the other hand, a take a look at to the house in query by our reporter, confirmed that it is a 10-storey creating with store room ranging from N3 million to N15 million for every annum with traders of all sorts occupying the assets. The traders sell typically footwear, bags, leather, garments, jewellery extras, and occupy every floor of the setting up.

 

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