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. While the Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams’ spouse and children wants their asset handed back to them, the Lebanese firm, which supposedly leased it, promises the assets experienced extensive been marketed to them. Taiwo Hassan, who has been subsequent the disagreement, studies

For the previous Main Medical Director of Unity Healthcare facility, Lagos, Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams, it is been a tug-of-war trying to reclaim his inheritance. His father, late Clarence Olatunde Williams, inherited the house with his siblings from their possess father, James Wilson. His father, and his uncle, Charles Adeyinka Wilson, as effectively as his aunts, Florence Aduke Bajomo (Nee Williams) and Adenike Wilson, experienced leased the house to Mohammed El-Khalil and some others in 1953.

The lease was for 50 decades. And the 10-storey making was on 3/5, Bankole Street, Lagos, at that time. The avenue had considering that been rearranged and it is now on 33 Balogun Avenue. Williams Snr. and his siblings had declared on their own owners of the aforementioned home by inheritance below indigenous rules and customs. But in 1953, they granted a 50-yr lease of the residence to Messrs Mohammed El-Khalil and Ramiz Moukarim.

Nevertheless, a minor around 3 many years (1956) immediately after the execution of the 1953 lease, Moukarim and El-Khalil allegedly claimed to have out rightly obtained the home from Williams’ father and his siblings the identical brothers and sisters who designed the 1952 Declaration and signed the 1953 lease. But Williams has maintained that he had no knowledge of the purported sale of the assets, insisting that the Lebanese were being occupying the constructing beneath the 1953 lease.

At the expiration of the lease on March 31, 2003, the Lebanese, Williams stated, refused to vacate the home, prompting him to formally notify them of the expiration of the lease, although at the identical time requesting them to vacate the assets. Williams claimed: “We approached the Lebanese to get again our home, but their response was disheartening. As an alternative of complying, they claimed that the residence experienced been bought to their progenitor a few decades into the lease arrangement. This, they stated, was perfected in 1956.

They drew our notice to the 1956 Deed of Transfer under which they claimed the house was marketed to them.” Anxious by the turn of activities, the 85-12 months-previous Williams executed a research at the lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, but what he located out was far more confounding. It was learned, in accordance to him, that the Deed of Transfer of title was in truth registered by the Lebanese as the rightful house owners of the assets, barely a few several years right after the graduation of the 50-calendar year lease by the Williams’ family members.

Not pleased with what they observed, the Williams went to obtain a duplicate of the 1956 Deed of Transfer and forwarded identical to the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Nigerian Police, Alagbon, Lagos, for more scrutiny and to verify the authenticity of the signatures of his father and his father’s siblings and in contrast with those on the 1953 lease. After the investigation of the forensic report, the Police concluded that the signatures on the 1956 meant Deed of Transfer of title ended up totally distinctive from individuals 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 cancel 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 explained Williams’ aunt, Adenike Wilson, as “Anike Wilson” in the purported 1956 Deed of Transfer inspite of the fact that in the 1952 Declaration and 1953 Lease, the same aunt was constantly described as Adenike Wilson. It was the mixture of the Law enforcement conclusions and these contradictions that prompted Williams to strategy the Significant Court docket of Lagos State to find to void it and to recover their family’s property.

On March 8, 2012, the spouse and children commenced a accommodate at the Large Court of Lagos Condition, in opposition to El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Confined and three many others. They integrated the own representatives of the Estate of Mohammed El-Khalil, personalized reps of the Estate of Ramiz Moukarim and the Registrar of Titles, Lands Registry of Lagos State as defendants. Williams had approached the courtroom trying to get repossession of the assets. The lawful battle spanned seven yrs in advance of the court docket delivered its judgement in the accommodate on December, 6, 2019, in favour of Williams and his family members.

A look at the summary of the track record on which the legal battle was fought as demonstrated in a court document made out there to this newspaper indicated that Williams is a descendant of a person James Wilson, the first operator of the property in dispute. Incidentally, the Lebanese organization, according to Williams, had refused to hand around the assets to him and his family and has given that been aggravating the courtroom order on the excuse that they had appealed the judgement at the Court docket of Charm, Lagos.

At the hearing of the accommodate, both equally Williams and the Lebanese named for forensic evidence in regard of the authenticity or usually of the signatures on the 1956 Deed of Transfer as when compared to the signatures on the 1952 Declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease. But in a relatively bizarre twist, the forensic health care provider known as by the defendants testified under crossexamination ahead of the demo court that the signatures on the Deed of Transfer have been so distinct from the signatures on the 1953 Lease “that there was no basis for any comparison amongst the two sets of signatures.” After the judgement, the defendants submitted an charm at the Courtroom of Attractiveness, Lagos Division, trying to get to overturn the ruling. They also applied for a continue to be of execution of the judgement of the demo court docket pending the outcome of that attraction.

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

By the way, Williams did not oppose the defendants’ proposal that a lender guarantee should be deposited in the account of the registrar of the court docket. He simply added a more ailment that the administration of the property ought to be vested in a respected estate management agency, whilst the enchantment is pending before the Courtroom of Attraction. Interestingly and notably, the defendants did not also item to or contest this additional affliction. In its ruling shipped on February 17, the demo courtroom, amongst other factors, granted a conditional keep in line with the proposals of the functions. The decide designed an purchase to the effect that the judgement sum and curiosity accruing on it up until the judgement really should be deposited inside 7 times by way of a financial institution draft in the identify of the Chief Registrar of the Superior Court docket of Lagos Condition.

He also claimed that the management of the assets should really be vested in a reliable estate firm to be appointed by the Main Registrar of the Court docket. Nevertheless, the defendants, it was additional learnt, introduced a second attractiveness, this time, from the order of conditional stay granted by the trial courtroom pretty much on the defendants’ very own phrases.

The defendants’ counsel, Main Tunde Olojo of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi, Kusamotu, Olojo & Co, on December 9, 2019, despatched a see with Attractiveness No: Match No: LD/331/2012 to the Court docket of Enchantment, Lagos, a duplicate of which is in possession of Saturday Telegraph. They, via their attorneys, reported they were dissatisfied with the determination of the Superior Courtroom of Lagos Point out, contained in the judgement by Justice Candide-Johnson, delivered on December 6, 2019.

According to Counsel to Khalil: “The figured out demo decide erred in legislation 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 demo did not deliver any death certificate to create the demise of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. In the Discover of Attraction, the 1st respondent did not also guide 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 show that the 3rd Appellant is a beneficiary of the estates of equally 1st and 2nd Appellant. So, the discovered demo decide erred in regulation when he held that the 1st respondent has proven a circumstance of forgery towards the 1st -3rd Appellants and that the doctrine of genuineness did not avail them.” In a further twist nonetheless, Williams petitioned the Federal Government through the Office environment of the Inspector Basic of Law enforcement (IGP). He particularly asked the IGP, Mohammad Adamu, to conserve him in the arms of Lebanese descendants of El-Khalil, whom, he explained, have refused to launch his family’s residence soon after the expiration of their 50-12 months-aged lease agreement. The petition also covers that of forgery, fraudulent conversion of house and getting by way of pressure pretence. In the petition dated August 28, and duly signed by him, a copy of which was manufactured accessible to Saturday Telegraph, showed that he was boasting that the company of M. El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Restricted cast a Deed of Transfer dated December 2, 1956, and has been saying possession of and occupying his family’s home due to the fact then based on the forged titled doc. Williams equally claimed that the company, M. El-Khalil & Sons Homes Limited, now managed by Francis Uzom of Frank Harden Restricted and Obinna Chima experienced relied on bogus claim of possession of the home to pocket massive money functioning into billions of naira in rents selection from unsuspecting tenants at the property. “They have been making an attempt to promote the stated house based mostly on the mentioned cast title files,” he additional alleged. He stated that his attempts to alert the occupants of the house and the typical general public, primarily likely residence buyers about the declare of ownership by M. El-Khalil & Sons Properties Constrained, have led to a number of threats of dying directed at him by officers of the explained organization. Though responding to the weighty allegations, the Lebanese speaking as a result of their attorney, Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi and Kusamotu Olojo & Co, dismissed the dying claims 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 bogus and baseless. It is a entire lie from the air.” Omoboriowo did not only garbage Williams’ promises on assets forgery, but insisted that, “It is a fabricated lies that cannot be demonstrated by him at the law court due to the fact M. El-Khalil & Sons Qualities Confined is a business and if he is insisting that a business solid a certificate like he claimed, so why didn’t he come out and point out a director (s) or staff of the corporation that did it in M. El-Khalil & SONS Attributes Limited and the so-known as director or staff members will occur out publicly to accept or deny that.” The attorney stated that the claimant has no proof of proof to that impact as he’s making use of the risk to everyday living as a ploy to achieve sympathy pursuing his clients move to charm the High Court docket of Lagos Judgement. “There is no iota of truth in that,” he included. Omoboriowo informed our reporter that the situation is now in the Court of Enchantment and that it is presently slated for listening to on December 14. “We are prepared to take it up to the Supreme Court docket since our purchasers have a robust scenario to upturn the judgement in their favour pursuing the trim victory that Williams is taking pleasure in over the Substantial Courtroom judgement that gave him one particular of the lands on the assets.” On the coming December 14, Charm hearing, Omoboriowo explained: “My purchasers have a sturdy circumstance versus him to upturn the judgement as a issue of point. That is why we are treading the line of professionalism, the line of the legislation and not resorting to push, law enforcement and listed here and there. He’s the 1 that goes about chatting as aged as he is. We are heading to upturn it by the grace of God. The circumstance is however going to the Supreme Courtroom and we are heading to overturn the initial judgement it is just a trim victory he has now.” Not too long ago, Williams has also complained of other alleged underhand dealings by the Lebanese. For occasion, through the time period when the circumstance was right before the demo court, he said, the defendants, less than the guise of a bogus settlement initiative, delayed the hearing of the circumstance for a sizeable duration of time. He also claimed that the Lebanese at some stage re-configured the assets to accommodate a lot more tenants from whom rents operating into hundreds of millions have been collected by the defendants. Immediately after the defendants were done with the configuration of the home and experienced allow out the newly included spaces to tenants, all pretences to amicable settlement of the dispute with Williams had been completed away with by them as they returned to announce to the trial courtroom that the settlement initiative failed. Again, while their two appeals were pending ahead of the Courtroom of Attractiveness, the defendants allegedly started out boasting to the tenants in the developing and the folks in the immediate surroundings that they had been well prepared to hold the circumstance in court docket indefinitely by way of the attractiveness method. They even pointed to the notoriously slow judicial procedure in the country, to push home their place, Williams alleged. “They claimed that specified my advanced age, it is just about difficult for me to see the stop of the scenario in my life span,” he even more advised our reporter. But the threats and wishes of loss of life notwithstanding, Williams thinks that the same Almighty God, who stored him alive all through the duration of the situation at the trial courtroom, would maintain him by means of the appeal procedures right until his last vindication by the Court of Attraction, and if need to have be, the Supreme Court. Williams mentioned that he was steadfast in his belief that while the wheels of justice may possibly flip slowly, they do, in reality, flip exceedingly wonderful, expressing that his religion in God and the judicial procedure experienced never been more powerful. Omoboriowo nonetheless, stated that his clients’ corporation has been in possession and occupation of the same house given that 1966 with no any obstacle or disturbance from Williams’ alleged predecessors’ intitle or the Claimant. He insisted that his business carried out a standard repair service in the tune of N150 million for the trespass and lawful execution carried out by the Claimant and/or his brokers on the influenced residence in December 2009. In accordance to him, the Claimant lacks the locus standi to institute or begin any case in opposition to them in that he is not a celebration to any of the transactions (title files) when signing the deed of agreement in 1953 was carried out. Assistant assets supervisor of M. El-Khalil & Sons (properties) Minimal, Obinna Chima, on his part said that there is absolutely nothing in any of the documents positioned ahead of the Courtroom by Williams from whom the Court docket could obtain or infer any romantic relationship or link involving the Claimant and his alleged predecessors-in-title. This, the Lebanese’ lawyers, agreed with, when they mentioned that this motion is statute barred in that the induce of motion which is challenging the authenticity of the Deed of transfer of Freehold dated November 2, 1956, arose 55 years ago. The discovered attorney argued that this accommodate quantities to an abuse of the course of action of the Court docket in that the notices to give up and see of owner’s intent to utilize to get well possession upon which this action is established were purportedly served throughout the pendency of suit No LD/2144/05 (Dr. C.O. Williams vs M. El-Khalil & ORS) in which the reported fit, events and the subject matter subject are the exact as in the immediate fit and also a Detect of Charm submitted by the Claimant which has not been withdrawn. However, a take a look at to the assets in problem by our reporter, confirmed that it is a 10-storey building with shop place ranging from N3 million to N15 million for every annum with traders of all kinds occupying the residence. The traders provide mostly footwear, bags, leather, clothing, jewellery components, and occupy each and every ground of the making.

 

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