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’ household desires their asset handed again to them, the Lebanese firm, which supposedly leased it, claims the assets experienced long been marketed to them. Taiwo Hassan, who has been subsequent the disagreement, stories

For the former Chief Healthcare 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 property with his siblings from their possess father, James Wilson. His father, and his uncle, Charles Adeyinka Wilson, as well as his aunts, Florence Aduke Bajomo (Nee Williams) and Adenike Wilson, experienced leased the residence to Mohammed El-Khalil and other folks in 1953.

The lease was for 50 decades. And the 10-storey constructing was on 3/5, Bankole Street, Lagos, at that time. The street 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 property by inheritance below indigenous legislation and customs. But in 1953, they granted a 50-12 months lease of the home to Messrs Mohammed El-Khalil and Ramiz Moukarim.

Nevertheless, a very little around a few a long time (1956) soon after the execution of the 1953 lease, Moukarim and El-Khalil allegedly claimed to have out rightly procured the property from Williams’ father and his siblings the same brothers and sisters who made the 1952 Declaration and signed the 1953 lease. But Williams has taken care of that he had no information of the purported sale of the assets, insisting that the Lebanese ended up occupying the building underneath the 1953 lease.

At the expiration of the lease on March 31, 2003, the Lebanese, Williams said, refused to vacate the house, prompting him to formally notify them of the expiration of the lease, when at the exact time requesting them to vacate the house. Williams explained: “We approached the Lebanese to get back our home, but their reaction was disheartening. Instead of complying, they claimed that the residence had been marketed to their progenitor three yrs into the lease settlement. This, they explained, was perfected in 1956.

They drew our focus to the 1956 Deed of Transfer underneath which they claimed the home was bought to them.” Worried by the switch of gatherings, the 85-12 months-old Williams executed a lookup at the lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, but what he uncovered out was far more confounding. It was identified, in accordance to him, that the Deed of Transfer of title was in fact registered by the Lebanese as the rightful entrepreneurs of the residence, scarcely 3 a long time immediately after the graduation of the 50-yr lease by the Williams’ family members.

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 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 individuals on the 1953 lease. Soon after the analysis of the forensic report, the Law enforcement concluded that the signatures on the 1956 supposed Deed of Transfer of title ended up entirely various from these on the 1952 declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease.

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

It was also found that the Lebanese inadvertently misrepresented or wrongly explained Williams’ aunt, Adenike Wilson, as “Anike Wilson” in the purported 1956 Deed of Transfer in spite of the fact that in the 1952 Declaration and 1953 Lease, the exact aunt was persistently explained as Adenike Wilson. It was the mixture of the Law enforcement findings and these contradictions that prompted Williams to technique the Higher Courtroom of Lagos Point out to find to void it and to recuperate their family’s assets.

On March 8, 2012, the relatives commenced a fit at the Higher Courtroom of Lagos Condition, towards El-Khalil & Sons Properties Constrained and 3 many others. They bundled the personal reps of the Estate of Mohammed El-Khalil, individual reps of the Estate of Ramiz Moukarim and the Registrar of Titles, Lands Registry of Lagos Condition as defendants. Williams experienced approached the courtroom searching for repossession of the home. The legal battle spanned seven decades right before the court docket sent its judgement in the fit on December, 6, 2019, in favour of Williams and his spouse and children.

A glance at the summary of the track record upon which the lawful struggle was fought as proven in a court doc designed readily available to this newspaper indicated that Williams is a descendant of just one James Wilson, the first owner of the assets in dispute. By the way, the Lebanese organization, according to Williams, experienced refused to hand in excess of the property to him and his relatives and has due to the fact been discouraging the courtroom purchase on the justification that they had appealed the judgement at the Court docket of Enchantment, Lagos.

At the listening to of the suit, both equally Williams and the Lebanese known as for forensic proof 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 fairly strange twist, the forensic health care provider called by the defendants testified under crossexamination prior to the demo courtroom that the signatures on the Deed of Transfer have been so various from the signatures on the 1953 Lease “that there was no basis for any comparison among the two sets of signatures.” Just after the judgement, the defendants filed an attractiveness at the Courtroom of Appeal, Lagos Division, in search of to overturn the ruling. They also used for a stay of execution of the judgement of the trial courtroom pending the end result of that attraction.

Nevertheless, at the listening to of the application for keep of execution, the defendants knowledgeable the demo courtroom that they were being geared up to deposit a bank assure 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 financial institution assurance need to be deposited in the account of the registrar of the court docket. He simply added a further issue that the management of the home ought to be vested in a trustworthy estate management agency, though the enchantment is pending before the Courtroom of Charm. Curiously and notably, the defendants did not also item to or contest this more ailment. In its ruling delivered on February 17, the trial court, amid other matters, granted a conditional stay in line with the proposals of the events. The choose made an purchase to the effect that the judgement sum and desire accruing on it up until the judgement must be deposited within 7 times through a financial institution draft in the name of the Main Registrar of the Higher Court docket of Lagos Point out.

He also explained that the administration of the residence ought to be vested in a reliable estate organization to be appointed by the Chief Registrar of the Courtroom. Nevertheless, the defendants, it was further more learnt, launched a 2nd enchantment, this time, from the get of conditional continue to be granted by the demo courtroom pretty much on the defendants’ very own terms.

The defendants’ counsel, Main Tunde Olojo of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi, Kusamotu, Olojo & Co, on December 9, 2019, despatched a discover with Attraction No: Accommodate No: LD/331/2012 to the Courtroom of Attractiveness, Lagos, a duplicate of which is in possession of Saturday Telegraph. They, by way of their attorneys, explained they were being dissatisfied with the choice of the Superior Courtroom of Lagos Point out, contained in the judgement by Justice Candide-Johnson, shipped on December 6, 2019.

According to Counsel to Khalil: “The figured out trial decide 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 through the trial did not bring any dying certificate to set up the demise of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. In the Detect of Enchantment, 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 present that the 3rd Appellant is a beneficiary of the estates of the two 1st and 2nd Appellant. So, the acquired demo judge erred in legislation when he held that the 1st respondent has set up a situation of forgery versus the 1st -3rd Appellants and that the doctrine of genuineness did not avail them.” In a further twist nevertheless, Williams petitioned the Federal Govt by means of the Business of the Inspector Basic of Law enforcement (IGP). He precisely asked the IGP, Mohammad Adamu, to help save him in the hands of Lebanese descendants of El-Khalil, whom, he mentioned, have refused to release his family’s assets following the expiration of their 50-yr-aged lease agreement. The petition also covers that of forgery, fraudulent conversion of home and getting as a result of pressure pretence. In the petition dated August 28, and duly signed by him, a duplicate of which was manufactured offered to Saturday Telegraph, showed that he was proclaiming that the business of M. El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Minimal forged a Deed of Transfer dated December 2, 1956, and has been saying ownership of and occupying his family’s property since then based on the forged titled document. Williams similarly claimed that the enterprise, M. El-Khalil & Sons Houses Constrained, now managed by Francis Uzom of Frank Harden Minimal and Obinna Chima experienced relied on wrong claim of possession of the home to pocket large dollars operating into billions of naira in rents selection from unsuspecting tenants at the residence. “They have been making an attempt to market the stated house dependent on the reported cast title documents,” he additional alleged. He said that his attempts to warn the occupants of the residence and the basic community, primarily prospective assets customers about the claim of ownership by M. El-Khalil & Sons Qualities Minimal, have led to a number of threats of demise directed at him by officers of the claimed company. 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 death statements allegation in his interview with our reporter. According to him, “This is a lie that was effectively fabricated. In simple fact, the allegation is not only a lie, but also bogus and baseless. It is a entire lie from the air.” Omoboriowo did not only rubbish Williams’ statements on home forgery, but insisted that, “It is a fabricated lies that can not be confirmed by him at the law court docket for the reason that M. El-Khalil & Sons Properties Restricted is a corporation and if he is insisting that a corporation cast a certificate like he claimed, so why did not he occur out and mention a director (s) or staff members of the organization that did it in M. El-Khalil & SONS Houses Limited and the so-known as director or personnel will arrive out publicly to take or deny that.” The attorney defined that the claimant has no proof of evidence to that result as he’s making use of the threat to life as a ploy to achieve sympathy adhering to his clientele move to attraction the Significant Courtroom of Lagos Judgement. “There is no iota of fact in that,” he added. Omoboriowo advised our reporter that the case is by now in the Court docket of Appeal and that it is previously slated for hearing on December 14. “We are prepared to choose it up to the Supreme Court docket mainly because our clientele have a robust scenario to upturn the judgement in their favour subsequent the slim victory that Williams is enjoying around the Superior Court judgement that gave him just one of the lands on the home.” On the coming December 14, Charm listening to, Omoboriowo said: “My clientele have a robust case in opposition to him to upturn the judgement as a matter of truth. That is why we are treading the line of professionalism, the line of the regulation and not resorting to press, police and below and there. He’s the one that goes about conversing as previous as he is. We are going to upturn it by the grace of God. The situation is still likely to the Supreme Court and we are going to overturn the preliminary judgement it is just a trim victory he has now.” A short while ago, Williams has also complained of other alleged underhand dealings by the Lebanese. For occasion, through the interval when the scenario was just before the demo court docket, he explained, the defendants, beneath the guise of a bogus settlement initiative, delayed the hearing of the circumstance for a sizeable size of time. He also claimed that the Lebanese at some level re-configured the assets to accommodate additional tenants from whom rents working into hundreds of thousands and thousands were gathered by the defendants. After the defendants have been accomplished with the configuration of the property and had permit out the newly added spaces to tenants, all pretences toward amicable settlement of the dispute with Williams have been completed away with by them as they returned to announce to the trial court that the settlement initiative failed. Again, though their two appeals were pending ahead of the Court docket of Enchantment, the defendants allegedly started out boasting to the tenants in the developing and the people in the instant surroundings that they had been prepared to continue to keep the circumstance in court docket indefinitely by way of the attractiveness course of action. They even pointed to the notoriously slow judicial course of action in the region, to push property their level, Williams alleged. “They claimed that specified my state-of-the-art age, it is nearly difficult for me to see the conclusion of the situation in my lifetime,” he even further informed our reporter. But the threats and wishes of death notwithstanding, Williams believes that the similar Almighty God, who stored him alive in the course of the length of the situation at the trial court, would sustain him as a result of the appeal procedures until eventually his ultimate vindication by the Court docket of Appeal, and if want be, the Supreme Court docket. Williams said that he was steadfast in his belief that while the wheels of justice may change little by little, they do, in reality, transform exceedingly good, stating that his faith in God and the judicial technique experienced hardly ever been stronger. Omoboriowo on the other hand, described that his clients’ business has been in possession and occupation of the similar residence due to the fact 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 in the tune of N150 million for the trespass and lawful execution carried out by the Claimant and/or his agents on the affected property 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 paperwork) when signing the deed of settlement in 1953 was carried out. Assistant home manager of M. El-Khalil & Sons (properties) Constrained, Obinna Chima, on his element mentioned that there is nothing in any of the paperwork positioned prior to the Court by Williams from whom the Court could discover or infer any romantic relationship or link between the Claimant and his alleged predecessors-in-title. This, the Lebanese’ attorneys, agreed with, when they claimed that this action is statute barred in that the bring about of action which is challenging the authenticity of the Deed of transfer of Freehold dated November 2, 1956, arose 55 years ago. The realized law firm argued that this suit quantities to an abuse of the method of the Court docket in that the notices to quit and notice of owner’s intent to implement to recuperate possession upon which this action is founded were being 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 stated fit, functions and the matter matter are the similar as in the fast go well with and also a Notice of Enchantment filed by the Claimant which has not been withdrawn. However, a check out to the property in question by our reporter, showed that it is a 10-storey creating with shop space ranging from N3 million to N15 million for every annum with traders of all sorts occupying the residence. The traders provide mostly shoes, bags, leather, garments, jewellery extras, and occupy each individual ground of the building.

 

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