June 21, 2024

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

12 min read

The residence on 33 Balogun Road, Lagos, is in dispute. There are two claimants. Whilst the Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams’ family members desires their asset handed back again to them, the Lebanese business, which supposedly leased it, statements the home had very long been marketed to them. Taiwo Hassan, who has been pursuing the disagreement, studies

For the former Main Healthcare Director of Unity Clinic, Lagos, Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams, it is been a tug-of-war making an attempt to reclaim his inheritance. His father, late Clarence Olatunde Williams, inherited the house with his siblings from their individual 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 others in 1953.

The lease was for 50 many years. And the 10-storey creating was on 3/5, Bankole Road, Lagos, at that time. The street experienced because been rearranged and it’s now on 33 Balogun Avenue. Williams Snr. and his siblings experienced declared by themselves owners of the aforementioned assets by inheritance underneath indigenous regulations and customs. But in 1953, they granted a 50-year lease of the property to Messrs Mohammed El-Khalil and Ramiz Moukarim.

Nonetheless, a small in excess of three yrs (1956) following the execution of the 1953 lease, Moukarim and El-Khalil allegedly claimed to have out rightly obtained the residence from Williams’ father and his siblings the exact same brothers and sisters who produced the 1952 Declaration and signed the 1953 lease. But Williams has managed that he had no expertise of the purported sale of the residence, insisting that the Lebanese were being occupying the creating under the 1953 lease.

At the expiration of the lease on March 31, 2003, the Lebanese, Williams stated, refused to vacate the residence, prompting him to formally notify them of the expiration of the lease, although at the exact same time requesting them to vacate the assets. Williams reported: “We approached the Lebanese to get again our residence, but their response was disheartening. Rather of complying, they claimed that the residence experienced been sold to their progenitor 3 yrs into the lease arrangement. This, they said, was perfected in 1956.

They drew our attention to the 1956 Deed of Transfer beneath which they claimed the house was bought to them.” Apprehensive by the transform of activities, the 85-yr-outdated Williams performed a search at the lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, but what he found out was much more confounding. It was uncovered, according to him, that the Deed of Transfer of title was indeed registered by the Lebanese as the rightful homeowners of the property, hardly a few several years immediately after the commencement of the 50-yr lease by the Williams’ relatives.

Not glad with what they observed, the Williams went to acquire a duplicate of the 1956 Deed of Transfer and forwarded same to the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Nigerian Police, Alagbon, Lagos, for more scrutiny and to validate the authenticity of the signatures of his father and his father’s siblings and as opposed with those on the 1953 lease. Soon after the evaluation of the forensic report, the Police concluded that the signatures on the 1956 meant Deed of Transfer of title ended up fully distinct from these on the 1952 declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease.

They subsequently declared that the 1956 Deed of Transfer was forged. A different seeming abnormality that caught Williams’ eyes was the failure of the 1956 Deed of Transfer to terminate or even make any form of reference to the 1953 Deed of Lease, which ordinarily ought to have been the case.

It was also observed 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 reality that in the 1952 Declaration and 1953 Lease, the same aunt was continually described as Adenike Wilson. It was the combination of the Law enforcement conclusions and these contradictions that prompted Williams to tactic the Large Court docket of Lagos Condition to seek out to void it and to recuperate their family’s property.

On March 8, 2012, the loved ones commenced a go well with at the High Court of Lagos State, towards El-Khalil & Sons Properties Minimal and three some others. They provided the personal reps of the Estate of Mohammed El-Khalil, particular reps of the Estate of Ramiz Moukarim and the Registrar of Titles, Lands Registry of Lagos Condition as defendants. Williams had approached the court docket trying to find repossession of the residence. The legal fight spanned 7 yrs before the court docket shipped its judgement in the match on December, 6, 2019, in favour of Williams and his spouse and children.

A glance at the summary of the qualifications on which the legal struggle was fought as revealed in a courtroom doc manufactured readily available to this newspaper indicated that Williams is a descendant of one James Wilson, the primary proprietor of the residence in dispute. By the way, the Lebanese agency, according to Williams, experienced refused to hand over the residence to him and his spouse and children and has due to the fact been annoying the courtroom order on the excuse that they experienced appealed the judgement at the Courtroom of Charm, Lagos.

At the listening to of the go well with, both equally Williams and the Lebanese termed for forensic proof in respect of the authenticity or otherwise of the signatures on the 1956 Deed of Transfer as as opposed to the signatures on the 1952 Declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease. But in a fairly bizarre twist, the forensic doctor named by the defendants testified beneath crossexamination just before the demo court docket that the signatures on the Deed of Transfer had been so different 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 filed an charm at the Courtroom of Enchantment, Lagos Division, trying to find to overturn the ruling. They also utilized for a keep of execution of the judgement of the trial court docket pending the result of that enchantment.

However, at the hearing of the application for remain of execution, the defendants informed the demo court docket that they were ready to deposit a lender assurance with the registrar of the trial courtroom for the judgement sum pending the result of their attractiveness.

Incidentally, Williams did not oppose the defendants’ proposal that a bank guarantee must be deposited in the account of the registrar of the court docket. He basically additional a even further condition that the administration of the home need to be vested in a dependable estate administration agency, although the enchantment is pending before the Court of Enchantment. Curiously and notably, the defendants did not also object to or contest this supplemental condition. In its ruling delivered on February 17, the demo courtroom, amongst other things, granted a conditional continue to be in line with the proposals of the events. The decide built an buy to the influence that the judgement sum and desire accruing on it up until the judgement should really be deposited within 7 days by using a financial institution draft in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Superior Court docket of Lagos State.

He also claimed that the administration of the residence must be vested in a respected estate agency to be appointed by the Main Registrar of the Courtroom. Nonetheless, the defendants, it was more learnt, launched a 2nd enchantment, this time, in opposition to the order of conditional keep granted by the trial court docket nearly on the defendants’ own phrases.

The defendants’ counsel, Chief Tunde Olojo of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi, Kusamotu, Olojo & Co, on December 9, 2019, sent a detect with Attractiveness No: Fit No: LD/331/2012 to the Court of Attraction, Lagos, a duplicate of which is in possession of Saturday Telegraph. They, via their legal professionals, claimed they had been dissatisfied with the decision of the Superior Court of Lagos Point out, contained in the judgement by Justice Candide-Johnson, shipped on December 6, 2019.

In accordance to Counsel to Khalil: “The uncovered trial decide 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 in the course of the demo did not provide any dying certification to create the demise of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. In the See 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 demonstrate that the 3rd Appellant is a beneficiary of the estates of both 1st and 2nd Appellant. So, the discovered demo decide erred in regulation when he held that the 1st respondent has founded a case of forgery in opposition to the 1st -3rd Appellants and that the doctrine of genuineness did not avail them.” In an additional twist nonetheless, Williams petitioned the Federal Government by the Business of the Inspector Common of Police (IGP). He especially asked the IGP, Mohammad Adamu, to help you save him in the fingers of Lebanese descendants of El-Khalil, whom, he stated, have refused to launch his family’s residence soon after the expiration of their 50-calendar year-aged lease agreement. The petition also addresses that of forgery, fraudulent conversion of property and obtaining by way of drive pretence. In the petition dated August 28, and duly signed by him, a duplicate of which was created available to Saturday Telegraph, showed that he was claiming that the company of M. El-Khalil & Sons Homes Limited cast a Deed of Transfer dated December 2, 1956, and has been professing ownership of and occupying his family’s residence considering the fact that then centered on the forged titled document. Williams similarly claimed that the business, M. El-Khalil & Sons Houses Confined, now managed by Francis Uzom of Frank Harden Constrained and Obinna Chima experienced relied on untrue declare of possession of the house to pocket massive dollars operating into billions of naira in rents selection from unsuspecting tenants at the house. “They have been making an attempt to offer the said assets primarily based on the explained cast title documents,” he further more alleged. He explained that his initiatives to alert the occupants of the property and the common general public, primarily prospective home potential buyers about the assert of possession by M. El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Limited, have led to many threats of death directed at him by officers of the mentioned company. Though responding to the weighty allegations, the Lebanese speaking by way of their law firm, Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi and Kusamotu Olojo & Co, dismissed the loss of life promises allegation in his job interview with our reporter. According to him, “This is a lie that was nicely fabricated. In simple fact, the allegation is not only a lie, but also untrue and baseless. It is a entire lie from the air.” Omoboriowo did not only garbage Williams’ claims on house forgery, but insisted that, “It is a fabricated lies that can not be demonstrated by him at the law court for the reason that M. El-Khalil & Sons Properties Minimal is a company and if he is insisting that a enterprise cast a certification like he claimed, so why did not he occur out and point out a director (s) or team of the company that did it in M. El-Khalil & SONS Attributes Constrained and the so-identified as director or personnel will come out publicly to settle for or deny that.” The law firm described that the claimant has no proof of evidence to that effect as he’s working with the menace to lifestyle as a ploy to achieve sympathy next his clients go to appeal the Higher Courtroom of Lagos Judgement. “There is no iota of reality in that,” he extra. Omoboriowo informed our reporter that the circumstance is presently in the Court of Attractiveness and that it is presently slated for hearing on December 14. “We are completely ready to choose it up to the Supreme Court docket because our shoppers have a sturdy circumstance to upturn the judgement in their favour following the slender victory that Williams is enjoying about the Significant Court judgement that gave him just one of the lands on the home.” On the coming December 14, Attraction listening to, Omoboriowo said: “My shoppers have a robust situation towards him to upturn the judgement as a make any difference of reality. That is why we are treading the line of professionalism, the line of the law and not resorting to press, police and right here and there. He’s the a person that goes about talking as outdated as he is. We are going to upturn it by the grace of God. The case is still heading to the Supreme Court and we are likely to overturn the initial judgement it is just a slender victory he has now.” Lately, Williams has also complained of other alleged underhand dealings by the Lebanese. For occasion, throughout the time period when the circumstance was prior to the demo court docket, he claimed, the defendants, beneath the guise of a bogus settlement initiative, delayed the listening to of the scenario for a considerable duration of time. He also claimed that the Lebanese at some place re-configured the residence to accommodate far more tenants from whom rents functioning into hundreds of tens of millions were being gathered by the defendants. Right after the defendants were being carried out with the configuration of the property and had enable out the recently included areas to tenants, all pretences to amicable settlement of the dispute with Williams have been done away with by them as they returned to announce to the trial courtroom that the settlement initiative unsuccessful. Once more, whilst their two appeals had been pending right before the Court of Attraction, the defendants allegedly started off boasting to the tenants in the setting up and the people today in the quick environment that they were geared up to preserve the scenario in court docket indefinitely as a result of the appeal system. They even pointed to the notoriously sluggish judicial course of action in the region, to drive dwelling their position, Williams alleged. “They claimed that supplied my advanced age, it is virtually impossible for me to see the conclusion of the circumstance in my life time,” he even more told our reporter. But the threats and wishes of death notwithstanding, Williams believes that the exact Almighty God, who retained him alive in the course of the length of the situation at the demo court, would sustain him as a result of the attractiveness processes right up until his closing vindication by the Court of Appeal, and if require be, the Supreme Courtroom. Williams mentioned that he was steadfast in his belief that even though the wheels of justice may possibly convert little by little, they do, in simple fact, switch exceedingly wonderful, stating that his faith in God and the judicial program experienced by no means been stronger. Omoboriowo even so, discussed that his clients’ enterprise has been in possession and profession of the exact same home because 1966 with out any problem or disturbance from Williams’ alleged predecessors’ intitle or the Claimant. He insisted that his corporation carried out a typical 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 influenced assets in December 2009. In accordance to him, the Claimant lacks the locus standi to institute or start any scenario from them in that he is not a celebration to any of the transactions (title files) when signing the deed of arrangement in 1953 was carried out. Assistant property manager of M. El-Khalil & Sons (properties) Constrained, Obinna Chima, on his part claimed that there is nothing in any of the documents put right before the Court by Williams from whom the Court could locate or infer any connection or relationship involving the Claimant and his alleged predecessors-in-title. This, the Lebanese’ legal professionals, agreed with, when they reported that this motion is statute barred in that the cause of motion which is complicated the authenticity of the Deed of transfer of Freehold dated November 2, 1956, arose 55 yrs ago. The discovered law firm argued that this fit amounts to an abuse of the procedure of the Court docket in that the notices to give up and discover of owner’s intent to utilize to recover possession on which this motion is started had been purportedly served through the pendency of go well with No LD/2144/05 (Dr. C.O. Williams vs M. El-Khalil & ORS) in which the claimed go well with, functions and the matter make any difference are the same as in the instant suit and also a Detect of Enchantment submitted by the Claimant which has not been withdrawn. Nonetheless, a pay a visit to to the property in dilemma by our reporter, showed that it is a 10-storey developing with shop space ranging from N3 million to N15 million per annum with traders of all kinds occupying the residence. The traders market mainly shoes, luggage, leather, apparel, jewelry equipment, and occupy every ground of the setting up.

 

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