June 3, 2023

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

The house on 33 Balogun Street, Lagos, is in dispute. There are two claimants. Even though the Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams’ family members would like their asset handed again to them, the Lebanese company, which supposedly leased it, promises the property experienced long been offered to them. Taiwo Hassan, who has been following the disagreement, experiences

For the former Main Professional medical 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 home with his siblings from their own father, James Wilson. His father, and his uncle, Charles Adeyinka Wilson, as properly as his aunts, Florence Aduke Bajomo (Nee Williams) and Adenike Wilson, had leased the property to Mohammed El-Khalil and many others in 1953.

The lease was for 50 decades. And the 10-storey building was on 3/5, Bankole Street, Lagos, at that time. The street had because been rearranged and it’s now on 33 Balogun Road. Williams Snr. and his siblings had declared by themselves house owners of the aforementioned home by inheritance below native guidelines and customs. But in 1953, they granted a 50-calendar year lease of the home to Messrs Mohammed El-Khalil and Ramiz Moukarim.

However, a little around 3 years (1956) after the execution of the 1953 lease, Moukarim and El-Khalil allegedly claimed to have out rightly bought the residence from Williams’ father and his siblings the identical brothers and sisters who manufactured the 1952 Declaration and signed the 1953 lease. But Williams has preserved that he experienced no expertise of the purported sale of the house, insisting that the Lebanese were being occupying the building below the 1953 lease.

At the expiration of the lease on March 31, 2003, the Lebanese, Williams said, refused to vacate the assets, prompting him to formally notify them of the expiration of the lease, whilst at the exact same time requesting them to vacate the house. Williams claimed: “We approached the Lebanese to get again our residence, but their response was disheartening. Instead of complying, they claimed that the property experienced been offered to their progenitor a few a long time into the lease settlement. This, they reported, was perfected in 1956.

They drew our consideration to the 1956 Deed of Transfer under which they claimed the home was marketed to them.” Worried by the turn of functions, the 85-calendar year-aged Williams executed a look for at the lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, but what he located out was additional confounding. It was found, according to him, that the Deed of Transfer of title was without a doubt registered by the Lebanese as the rightful owners of the assets, hardly 3 decades soon after the graduation of the 50-year lease by the Williams’ loved ones.

Not content with what they saw, the Williams went to get hold of a copy of the 1956 Deed of Transfer and forwarded similar to the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Nigerian Law enforcement, Alagbon, Lagos, for additional scrutiny and to validate the authenticity of the signatures of his father and his father’s siblings and in comparison with those people on the 1953 lease. Following the examination of the forensic report, the Law enforcement concluded that the signatures on the 1956 meant Deed of Transfer of title ended up fully diverse from those people on the 1952 declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease.

They subsequently declared that the 1956 Deed of Transfer was cast. An additional 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 should to have been the case.

It was also noticed that the Lebanese inadvertently misrepresented or wrongly explained Williams’ aunt, Adenike Wilson, as “Anike Wilson” in the purported 1956 Deed of Transfer regardless of the simple fact that in the 1952 Declaration and 1953 Lease, the exact same aunt was continually described as Adenike Wilson. It was the combination of the Law enforcement findings and these contradictions that prompted Williams to technique the Large Court docket of Lagos State to find to void it and to recover their family’s property.

On March 8, 2012, the household commenced a go well with at the Substantial Courtroom of Lagos State, against El-Khalil & Sons Houses Limited and 3 some others. They incorporated the particular representatives 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 looking for repossession of the property. The authorized struggle spanned seven yrs prior to the court sent its judgement in the suit on December, 6, 2019, in favour of Williams and his family members.

A search at the summary of the background on which the authorized battle was fought as proven in a court document created available to this newspaper indicated that Williams is a descendant of a single James Wilson, the unique owner of the house in dispute. By the way, the Lebanese organization, in accordance to Williams, experienced refused to hand over the property to him and his family and has considering the fact that been annoying the courtroom order on the justification that they had appealed the judgement at the Court of Attraction, Lagos.

At the hearing of the match, both of those Williams and the Lebanese referred to as for forensic evidence in regard of the authenticity or normally of the signatures on the 1956 Deed of Transfer as compared to the signatures on the 1952 Declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease. But in a relatively bizarre twist, the forensic health practitioner termed by the defendants testified underneath crossexamination in advance of the trial court docket that the signatures on the Deed of Transfer were being so diverse from the signatures on the 1953 Lease “that there was no basis for any comparison concerning the two sets of signatures.” Right after the judgement, the defendants submitted an charm at the Courtroom of Attraction, Lagos Division, searching for to overturn the ruling. They also applied for a continue to be of execution of the judgement of the trial court docket pending the final result of that attractiveness.

But, at the listening to of the software for stay of execution, the defendants informed the trial courtroom that they ended up organized to deposit a lender guarantee with the registrar of the trial court docket for the judgement sum pending the consequence of their charm.

Incidentally, Williams did not oppose the defendants’ proposal that a bank assurance ought to be deposited in the account of the registrar of the court. He simply additional a further more problem that the administration of the house should be vested in a respected estate administration company, when the attraction is pending right before the Courtroom of Appeal. Interestingly and notably, the defendants did not also item to or contest this supplemental ailment. In its ruling shipped on February 17, the demo courtroom, among other factors, granted a conditional keep in line with the proposals of the get-togethers. The choose manufactured an order to the outcome that the judgement sum and interest accruing on it up till the judgement need to be deposited within just seven days via a lender draft in the identify of the Main Registrar of the Large Courtroom of Lagos Point out.

He also said that the management of the residence really should be vested in a trustworthy estate agency to be appointed by the Chief Registrar of the Court. On the other hand, the defendants, it was further more learnt, introduced a next attractiveness, this time, against the get of conditional keep granted by the trial court docket nearly on the defendants’ personal 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 Attraction, Lagos, a duplicate of which is in possession of Saturday Telegraph. They, by their legal professionals, reported they were being dissatisfied with the conclusion of the Significant Courtroom of Lagos Condition, contained in the judgement by Justice Candide-Johnson, delivered 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 motion for and on behalf of the alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. The 1st respondent during the trial did not carry any demise certification to create the demise of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. In the Notice of Attraction, the 1st respondent did not also lead evidence 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 learned demo choose erred in regulation when he held that the 1st respondent has set up a circumstance of forgery towards the 1st -3rd Appellants and that the doctrine of genuineness did not avail them.” In one more twist nevertheless, Williams petitioned the Federal Governing administration by way of the Office environment of the Inspector Common of Police (IGP). He precisely asked the IGP, Mohammad Adamu, to help save him in the hands of Lebanese descendants of El-Khalil, whom, he said, have refused to launch his family’s property soon after the expiration of their 50-calendar year-previous lease settlement. The petition also covers that of forgery, fraudulent conversion of home and acquiring through pressure pretence. In the petition dated August 28, and duly signed by him, a duplicate of which was manufactured offered to Saturday Telegraph, confirmed that he was saying that the organization of M. El-Khalil & Sons Properties Constrained solid a Deed of Transfer dated December 2, 1956, and has been professing possession of and occupying his family’s assets considering that then based on the cast titled doc. Williams similarly claimed that the corporation, M. El-Khalil & Sons Homes Restricted, now managed by Francis Uzom of Frank Harden Restricted and Obinna Chima experienced relied on wrong assert of possession of the property to pocket huge money functioning into billions of naira in rents selection from unsuspecting tenants at the assets. “They have been attempting to promote the stated assets primarily based on the said cast title paperwork,” he further alleged. He mentioned that his attempts to alert the occupants of the house and the common general public, especially possible home buyers about the assert of ownership by M. El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Minimal, have led to quite a few threats of dying directed at him by officers of the reported company. Even though responding to the weighty allegations, the Lebanese speaking by means of their lawyer, Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi and Kusamotu Olojo & Co, dismissed the death statements allegation in his job interview with our reporter. According to him, “This is a lie that was nicely fabricated. In reality, the allegation is not only a lie, but also false and baseless. It is a entire lie from the air.” Omoboriowo did not only garbage Williams’ claims on assets forgery, but insisted that, “It is a fabricated lies that are not able to be verified by him at the law courtroom simply because M. El-Khalil & Sons Houses Restricted is a business and if he is insisting that a firm solid a certificate like he claimed, so why didn’t he appear out and mention a director (s) or team of the firm that did it in M. El-Khalil & SONS Homes Confined and the so-termed director or employees will occur out publicly to accept or deny that.” The lawyer defined that the claimant has no proof of evidence to that outcome as he’s using the menace to existence as a ploy to attain sympathy subsequent his clients go to attractiveness the Higher Court of Lagos Judgement. “There is no iota of reality in that,” he additional. Omoboriowo advised our reporter that the circumstance is by now in the Court docket of Attractiveness and that it is previously slated for listening to on December 14. “We are ready to consider it up to the Supreme Courtroom since our shoppers have a solid circumstance to upturn the judgement in their favour following the slim victory that Williams is experiencing about the Significant Court judgement that gave him one of the lands on the residence.” On the coming December 14, Charm hearing, Omoboriowo claimed: “My shoppers have a potent situation towards him to upturn the judgement as a issue of actuality. That is why we are treading the line of professionalism, the line of the regulation and not resorting to press, law enforcement and here and there. He’s the just one that goes about speaking as outdated as he is. We are likely to upturn it by the grace of God. The circumstance is nevertheless going to the Supreme Court and we are heading to overturn the original judgement it is just a trim victory he has now.” Just lately, Williams has also complained of other alleged underhand dealings by the Lebanese. For occasion, all through the period of time when the situation was prior to the trial court docket, he reported, the defendants, below the guise of a bogus settlement initiative, delayed the listening to of the circumstance for a sizeable duration of time. He also claimed that the Lebanese at some level re-configured the house to accommodate extra tenants from whom rents running into hundreds of millions had been collected by the defendants. Following the defendants were being accomplished with the configuration of the assets and had enable out the recently added spaces to tenants, all pretences to amicable settlement of the dispute with Williams were being accomplished away with by them as they returned to announce to the trial court that the settlement initiative failed. Once more, while their two appeals ended up pending prior to the Court docket of Attraction, the defendants allegedly started off boasting to the tenants in the developing and the people today in the quick environment that they were well prepared to retain the circumstance in court indefinitely as a result of the attraction process. They even pointed to the notoriously slow judicial approach in the country, to drive household their place, Williams alleged. “They claimed that supplied my sophisticated age, it is almost extremely hard for me to see the stop of the circumstance in my lifetime,” he more explained to our reporter. But the threats and needs of loss of life notwithstanding, Williams thinks that the similar Almighty God, who kept him alive all through the duration of the case at the trial court, would sustain him as a result of the enchantment processes until eventually his last vindication by the Courtroom of Enchantment, and if have to have be, the Supreme Court docket. Williams reported that he was steadfast in his belief that even though the wheels of justice may possibly convert little by little, they do, in actuality, turn exceedingly great, indicating that his faith in God and the judicial process had under no circumstances been stronger. Omoboriowo nonetheless, defined that his clients’ company has been in possession and occupation of the exact same house considering the fact that 1966 with out any challenge or disturbance from Williams’ alleged predecessors’ intitle or the Claimant. He insisted that his company carried out a basic fix in the tune of N150 million for the trespass and lawful execution carried out by the Claimant and/or his agents on the afflicted house in December 2009. According to him, the Claimant lacks the locus standi to institute or start any situation in opposition to them in that he is not a bash to any of the transactions (title files) when signing the deed of settlement in 1953 was carried out. Assistant property manager of M. El-Khalil & Sons (homes) Limited, Obinna Chima, on his aspect said that there is absolutely nothing in any of the documents placed just before the Court by Williams from whom the Court docket could find or infer any marriage or relationship between the Claimant and his alleged predecessors-in-title. This, the Lebanese’ legal professionals, agreed with, when they said that this motion is statute barred in that the result in of motion which is complicated the authenticity of the Deed of transfer of Freehold dated November 2, 1956, arose 55 a long time in the past. The learned attorney argued that this accommodate quantities to an abuse of the course of action of the Courtroom in that the notices to give up and recognize of owner’s intent to implement to get well possession on which this motion is established ended up purportedly served for the duration of the pendency of match No LD/2144/05 (Dr. C.O. Williams vs M. El-Khalil & ORS) in which the claimed fit, parties and the subject matter issue are the identical as in the prompt fit and also a Discover of Charm submitted by the Claimant which has not been withdrawn. Nonetheless, a check out to the assets in problem by our reporter, showed that it is a 10-storey making with shop area ranging from N3 million to N15 million per annum with traders of all types occupying the residence. The traders sell primarily footwear, bags, leather, clothing, jewelry accessories, and occupy each individual ground of the building.


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