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

The property on 33 Balogun Avenue, Lagos, is in dispute. There are two claimants. Whilst the Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams’ relatives would like their asset handed back to them, the Lebanese organization, which supposedly leased it, promises the property experienced very long been bought to them. Taiwo Hassan, who has been pursuing the disagreement, reports

For the former Main Clinical Director of Unity Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams, it’s been a tug-of-war attempting to reclaim his inheritance. His father, late Clarence Olatunde Williams, inherited the property 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, had leased the house to Mohammed El-Khalil and some others in 1953.

The lease was for 50 many years. And the 10-storey building was on 3/5, Bankole Road, Lagos, at that time. The avenue had due to the fact been rearranged and it is now on 33 Balogun Avenue. Williams Snr. and his siblings experienced declared themselves house owners of the aforementioned assets by inheritance less than native legislation and customs. But in 1953, they granted a 50-yr lease of the residence to Messrs Mohammed El-Khalil and Ramiz Moukarim.

However, a very little in excess of 3 many years (1956) soon after the execution of the 1953 lease, Moukarim and El-Khalil allegedly claimed to have out rightly ordered the assets from Williams’ father and his siblings the exact same brothers and sisters who made the 1952 Declaration and signed the 1953 lease. But Williams has taken care of that he experienced no expertise of the purported sale of the assets, insisting that the Lebanese ended up occupying the developing below the 1953 lease.

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

They drew our consideration to the 1956 Deed of Transfer beneath which they claimed the assets was offered to them.” Fearful by the switch of activities, the 85-12 months-outdated Williams carried out a search at the lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, but what he discovered out was a lot more confounding. It was uncovered, according to him, that the Deed of Transfer of title was indeed registered by the Lebanese as the rightful entrepreneurs of the property, scarcely three decades immediately after the commencement of the 50-calendar year lease by the Williams’ family.

Not contented with what they saw, the Williams went to obtain a duplicate of the 1956 Deed of Transfer and forwarded similar 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 compared with individuals on the 1953 lease. Soon after the evaluation of the forensic report, the Law enforcement concluded that the signatures on the 1956 intended Deed of Transfer of title were totally various from individuals on the 1952 declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease.

They subsequently declared that the 1956 Deed of Transfer was cast. Yet another 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 scenario.

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 even with the truth that in the 1952 Declaration and 1953 Lease, the identical aunt was continually explained as Adenike Wilson. It was the blend of the Police results and these contradictions that prompted Williams to solution the Higher Court of Lagos Point out to look for to void it and to recuperate their family’s house.

On March 8, 2012, the relatives commenced a match at the Substantial Court of Lagos Condition, against El-Khalil & Sons Houses Restricted and three others. They integrated the personal representatives of the Estate of Mohammed El-Khalil, personal representatives of the Estate of Ramiz Moukarim and the Registrar of Titles, Lands Registry of Lagos Point out as defendants. Williams experienced approached the courtroom in search of repossession of the residence. The legal battle spanned seven many years prior to the court shipped its judgement in the accommodate on December, 6, 2019, in favour of Williams and his family.

A glance at the summary of the qualifications on which the authorized struggle was fought as demonstrated in a courtroom document designed out there to this newspaper indicated that Williams is a descendant of a single James Wilson, the original operator of the property in dispute. By the way, the Lebanese agency, according to Williams, experienced refused to hand more than the residence to him and his household and has since been discouraging the court order on the excuse that they had appealed the judgement at the Court of Attraction, Lagos.

At the hearing of the accommodate, both of those Williams and the Lebanese named for forensic evidence in regard of the authenticity or or else 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 bizarre twist, the forensic physician named by the defendants testified underneath crossexamination in advance of the demo court that the signatures on the Deed of Transfer ended up so unique from the signatures on the 1953 Lease “that there was no basis for any comparison between the two sets of signatures.” Following the judgement, the defendants submitted an enchantment at the Court of Charm, Lagos Division, searching for to overturn the ruling. They also utilized for a keep of execution of the judgement of the trial courtroom pending the outcome of that attraction.

Still, at the listening to of the software for remain of execution, the defendants educated the trial court that they had been geared up to deposit a bank guarantee with the registrar of the demo court docket for the judgement sum pending the consequence of their appeal.

Incidentally, Williams did not oppose the defendants’ proposal that a financial institution guarantee should really be deposited in the account of the registrar of the court. He merely extra a further ailment that the administration of the residence should really be vested in a respected estate management firm, even though the enchantment is pending in advance of the Court docket of Enchantment. Apparently and notably, the defendants did not also item to or contest this more problem. In its ruling delivered on February 17, the demo court docket, between other issues, granted a conditional continue to be in line with the proposals of the events. The decide produced an purchase to the outcome that the judgement sum and fascination accruing on it up until the judgement must be deposited within just seven days via a bank draft in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Large Court of Lagos State.

He also mentioned that the administration of the house need to be vested in a dependable estate company to be appointed by the Chief Registrar of the Court docket. Even so, the defendants, it was even further learnt, released a next charm, this time, from the buy of conditional continue to be granted by the trial court virtually on the defendants’ individual conditions.

The defendants’ counsel, Main Tunde Olojo of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi, Kusamotu, Olojo & Co, on December 9, 2019, despatched a observe with Appeal No: Match No: LD/331/2012 to the Courtroom of Attraction, Lagos, a duplicate of which is in possession of Saturday Telegraph. They, by means of their attorneys, stated they were dissatisfied with the decision of the Substantial Courtroom of Lagos Condition, contained in the judgement by Justice Candide-Johnson, sent on December 6, 2019.

In accordance to Counsel to Khalil: “The figured out trial judge 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 over the demo did not bring any demise certification to create the demise of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. In the Discover of Attractiveness, the 1st respondent did not also direct 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 each 1st and 2nd Appellant. So, the realized demo decide erred in law when he held that the 1st respondent has recognized a circumstance of forgery towards the 1st -3rd Appellants and that the doctrine of genuineness did not avail them.” In an additional twist having said that, Williams petitioned the Federal Governing administration by way of the Office environment of the Inspector Basic of Police (IGP). He specifically requested the IGP, Mohammad Adamu, to help you save him in the fingers of Lebanese descendants of El-Khalil, whom, he explained, have refused to release his family’s assets soon after the expiration of their 50-12 months-previous lease arrangement. The petition also handles that of forgery, fraudulent conversion of house and obtaining by force pretence. In the petition dated August 28, and duly signed by him, a duplicate of which was manufactured obtainable to Saturday Telegraph, showed that he was claiming that the firm of M. El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Restricted solid a Deed of Transfer dated December 2, 1956, and has been claiming possession of and occupying his family’s residence since then based mostly on the cast titled document. Williams similarly claimed that the organization, M. El-Khalil & Sons Qualities Limited, now managed by Francis Uzom of Frank Harden Confined and Obinna Chima experienced relied on untrue claim of possession of the assets to pocket big income running into billions of naira in rents selection from unsuspecting tenants at the home. “They have been trying to offer the explained home dependent on the explained forged title files,” he further more alleged. He explained that his initiatives to alert the occupants of the assets and the general community, specially probable assets potential buyers about the declare of possession by M. El-Khalil & Sons Houses Confined, have led to several threats of dying directed at him by officers of the stated business. Even though responding to the weighty allegations, the Lebanese talking through their lawyer, Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi and Kusamotu Olojo & Co, dismissed the demise statements allegation in his interview with our reporter. In accordance to him, “This is a lie that was very well fabricated. In fact, the allegation is not only a lie, but also fake and baseless. It is a comprehensive 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 docket since M. El-Khalil & Sons Homes Minimal is a firm and if he is insisting that a business cast a certification like he claimed, so why did not he come out and mention a director (s) or staff of the corporation that did it in M. El-Khalil & SONS Homes Limited and the so-identified as director or workers will come out publicly to settle for or deny that.” The lawyer stated that the claimant has no proof of evidence to that outcome as he’s employing the risk to existence as a ploy to obtain sympathy pursuing his customers move to charm the Higher Court docket of Lagos Judgement. “There is no iota of fact in that,” he additional. Omoboriowo advised our reporter that the situation is previously in the Court docket of Enchantment and that it is by now slated for hearing on December 14. “We are prepared to get it up to the Supreme Courtroom because our purchasers have a robust situation to upturn the judgement in their favour following the trim victory that Williams is making the most of around the Higher Court judgement that gave him 1 of the lands on the assets.” On the coming December 14, Attraction hearing, Omoboriowo mentioned: “My customers have a powerful scenario versus him to upturn the judgement as a make a difference of point. That is why we are treading the line of professionalism, the line of the regulation and not resorting to press, police and listed here and there. He’s the one particular that goes about conversing as outdated as he is. We are likely to upturn it by the grace of God. The circumstance is however heading to the Supreme Court docket and we are likely to overturn the initial judgement it is just a trim victory he has now.” Lately, Williams has also complained of other alleged underhand dealings by the Lebanese. For occasion, in the course of the interval when the situation was right before the demo courtroom, he stated, the defendants, below the guise of a bogus settlement initiative, delayed the hearing of the situation for a substantial size of time. He also claimed that the Lebanese at some point re-configured the house to accommodate more tenants from whom rents running into hundreds of hundreds of thousands were collected by the defendants. Soon after the defendants ended up completed with the configuration of the house and experienced allow out the newly included spaces to tenants, all pretences to amicable settlement of the dispute with Williams had been done absent with by them as they returned to announce to the demo courtroom that the settlement initiative failed. Again, when their two appeals have been pending before the Courtroom of Charm, the defendants allegedly begun boasting to the tenants in the creating and the individuals in the speedy setting that they had been organized to keep the case in court docket indefinitely by way of the attractiveness course of action. They even pointed to the notoriously gradual judicial system in the place, to push residence their place, Williams alleged. “They claimed that given my innovative age, it is nearly unachievable for me to see the finish of the scenario in my lifetime,” he further informed our reporter. But the threats and wishes of demise notwithstanding, Williams believes that the same Almighty God, who retained him alive all through the length of the circumstance at the demo courtroom, would sustain him by the charm procedures until eventually his last vindication by the Courtroom of Enchantment, and if have to have be, the Supreme Courtroom. Williams claimed that he was steadfast in his perception that even though the wheels of justice may possibly change slowly and gradually, they do, in fact, switch exceedingly great, expressing that his faith in God and the judicial method had never ever been stronger. Omoboriowo even so, spelled out that his clients’ firm has been in possession and occupation of the exact home given that 1966 with no any problem or disturbance from Williams’ alleged predecessors’ intitle or the Claimant. He insisted that his enterprise carried out a standard restore in the tune of N150 million for the trespass and lawful execution carried out by the Claimant and/or his brokers on the influenced assets in December 2009. According to him, the Claimant lacks the locus standi to institute or commence any situation in opposition to them in that he is not a social gathering to any of the transactions (title documents) when signing the deed of agreement in 1953 was carried out. Assistant property supervisor of M. El-Khalil & Sons (properties) Limited, Obinna Chima, on his part explained that there is nothing at all in any of the documents put in advance of the Courtroom by Williams from whom the Courtroom could discover or infer any connection or connection concerning 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 bring about of motion which is hard the authenticity of the Deed of transfer of Freehold dated November 2, 1956, arose 55 many years in the past. The learned lawyer argued that this accommodate quantities to an abuse of the process of the Court docket in that the notices to stop and observe of owner’s intent to apply to recover possession upon which this motion is established were being 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 said accommodate, get-togethers and the topic make a difference are the identical as in the instant go well with and also a Notice of Attraction filed by the Claimant which has not been withdrawn. Having said that, a stop by to the property in concern by our reporter, confirmed that it is a 10-storey setting up with store place ranging from N3 million to N15 million per annum with traders of all sorts occupying the property. The traders promote mostly footwear, baggage, leather-based, outfits, jewellery equipment, and occupy each individual floor of the creating.


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