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

ByTommie C. Curtis

Jun 10, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The house on 33 Balogun Road, Lagos, is in dispute. There are two claimants. Even though the Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams’ family needs their asset handed back to them, the Lebanese company, which supposedly leased it, claims the residence experienced lengthy been sold to them. Taiwo Hassan, who has been following the disagreement, reports

For the previous Chief Healthcare Director of Unity Medical center, 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 property with his siblings from their individual father, James Wilson. His father, and his uncle, Charles Adeyinka Wilson, as nicely as his aunts, Florence Aduke Bajomo (Nee Williams) and Adenike Wilson, had leased the home to Mohammed El-Khalil and others in 1953.

The lease was for 50 decades. And the 10-storey developing 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 on their own proprietors of the aforementioned house by inheritance underneath indigenous guidelines and customs. But in 1953, they granted a 50-year lease of the assets to Messrs Mohammed El-Khalil and Ramiz Moukarim.

However, a small in excess of three many years (1956) following the execution of the 1953 lease, Moukarim and El-Khalil allegedly claimed to have out rightly bought the property from Williams’ father and his siblings the very same brothers and sisters who made the 1952 Declaration and signed the 1953 lease. But Williams has taken care of that he had no awareness of the purported sale of the home, insisting that the Lebanese were being occupying the building less than the 1953 lease.

At the expiration of the lease on March 31, 2003, the Lebanese, Williams stated, refused to vacate the assets, prompting him to formally notify them of the expiration of the lease, though at the exact time requesting them to vacate the assets. Williams explained: “We approached the Lebanese to get again our house, but their reaction was disheartening. As an alternative of complying, they claimed that the residence had been bought to their progenitor 3 many years into the lease settlement. This, they said, was perfected in 1956.

They drew our focus to the 1956 Deed of Transfer below which they claimed the assets was bought to them.” Fearful by the turn of gatherings, the 85-yr-old Williams done a search at the lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, but what he discovered out was extra confounding. It was found, according to him, that the Deed of Transfer of title was in fact registered by the Lebanese as the rightful entrepreneurs of the house, barely three decades after the commencement of the 50-yr lease by the Williams’ family.

Not content with what they observed, the Williams went to attain a copy of the 1956 Deed of Transfer and forwarded same to the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Nigerian Police, Alagbon, Lagos, for additional scrutiny and to verify the authenticity of the signatures of his father and his father’s siblings and in contrast with individuals on the 1953 lease. Immediately after the evaluation of the forensic report, the Law enforcement concluded that the signatures on the 1956 meant Deed of Transfer of title were totally distinct from individuals on the 1952 declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease.

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

It was also recognized 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 similar aunt was persistently explained as Adenike Wilson. It was the mix of the Law enforcement findings and these contradictions that prompted Williams to solution the Higher Court docket of Lagos Condition to seek to void it and to recuperate their family’s property.

On March 8, 2012, the household commenced a match at the Significant Court of Lagos State, towards El-Khalil & Sons Qualities Restricted and 3 others. They included the private reps of the Estate of Mohammed El-Khalil, particular 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 fight spanned 7 years in advance of the court sent its judgement in the suit on December, 6, 2019, in favour of Williams and his family.

A glance at the summary of the background on which the lawful battle was fought as revealed in a court docket document built obtainable to this newspaper indicated that Williams is a descendant of a person James Wilson, the initial operator of the property in dispute. Incidentally, the Lebanese agency, in accordance to Williams, experienced refused to hand over the assets to him and his family members and has since been disheartening the court docket purchase on the justification that they experienced appealed the judgement at the Court docket of Charm, Lagos.

At the listening to of the suit, both equally Williams and the Lebanese called for forensic evidence in regard 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 health practitioner referred to as by the defendants testified beneath crossexamination before the demo court 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 between the two sets of signatures.” Immediately after the judgement, the defendants filed an enchantment at the Court docket of Appeal, Lagos Division, trying to get to overturn the ruling. They also applied for a remain of execution of the judgement of the trial courtroom pending the consequence of that charm.

Still, at the hearing of the software for keep of execution, the defendants knowledgeable the demo court that they were being ready to deposit a lender guarantee with the registrar of the demo court docket for the judgement sum pending the result of their attraction.

Incidentally, Williams did not oppose the defendants’ proposal that a financial institution guarantee really should be deposited in the account of the registrar of the court. He simply added a even further affliction that the administration of the home need to be vested in a reliable estate management company, even though the appeal is pending in advance of the Court docket of Enchantment. Apparently and notably, the defendants did not also item to or contest this supplemental problem. In its ruling shipped on February 17, the demo courtroom, among the other matters, granted a conditional stay in line with the proposals of the parties. The choose built an purchase to the impact that the judgement sum and interest accruing on it up till the judgement should be deposited inside of seven times by using a lender draft in the identify of the Main Registrar of the Substantial Court of Lagos Condition.

He also explained that the management of the assets should be vested in a trustworthy estate business to be appointed by the Chief Registrar of the Courtroom. Having said that, the defendants, it was even further learnt, introduced a second enchantment, this time, versus the purchase of conditional continue to be granted by the trial court docket 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, sent a notice with Appeal No: Match No: LD/331/2012 to the Courtroom of Charm, Lagos, a copy of which is in possession of Saturday Telegraph. They, by means of their attorneys, said they ended up dissatisfied with the decision of the Substantial Court of Lagos State, contained in the judgement by Justice Candide-Johnson, shipped on December 6, 2019.

According to Counsel to Khalil: “The acquired trial decide erred in law 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 through the trial did not provide any dying certificate to create the demise of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. In the Observe of Attractiveness, 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 both of those 1st and 2nd Appellant. So, the figured out trial judge erred in law when he held that the 1st respondent has established a scenario of forgery in opposition to the 1st -3rd Appellants and that the doctrine of genuineness did not avail them.” In yet another twist even so, Williams petitioned the Federal Govt by means of the Workplace of the Inspector Normal of Police (IGP). He especially questioned the IGP, Mohammad Adamu, to help you save him in the fingers of Lebanese descendants of El-Khalil, whom, he reported, have refused to launch his family’s property following the expiration of their 50-yr-old lease settlement. The petition also handles that of forgery, fraudulent conversion of property and acquiring as a result of pressure pretence. In the petition dated August 28, and duly signed by him, a copy of which was produced offered to Saturday Telegraph, confirmed that he was professing that the organization of M. El-Khalil & Sons Properties Constrained solid a Deed of Transfer dated December 2, 1956, and has been claiming possession of and occupying his family’s assets since then dependent on the forged titled doc. Williams equally claimed that the organization, M. El-Khalil & Sons Properties Limited, now managed by Francis Uzom of Frank Harden Restricted and Obinna Chima experienced relied on wrong assert of possession of the home to pocket big income jogging into billions of naira in rents collection from unsuspecting tenants at the house. “They have been making an attempt to promote the mentioned house dependent on the mentioned forged title files,” he additional alleged. He explained that his endeavours to warn the occupants of the property and the common public, primarily prospective property consumers about the declare of possession by M. El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Minimal, have led to a number of threats of demise directed at him by officers of the mentioned enterprise. Whilst responding to the weighty allegations, the Lebanese talking as a result of their attorney, Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi and Kusamotu Olojo & Co, dismissed the demise promises 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 false and baseless. It is a comprehensive lie from the air.” Omoboriowo did not only garbage Williams’ promises on property forgery, but insisted that, “It is a fabricated lies that simply cannot be demonstrated by him at the law court due to the fact M. El-Khalil & Sons Homes Restricted is a business and if he is insisting that a organization solid a certificate like he claimed, so why didn’t he come out and point out a director (s) or workers of the business that did it in M. El-Khalil & SONS Houses Minimal and the so-named director or employees will arrive out publicly to accept or deny that.” The law firm stated that the claimant has no evidence of proof to that effect as he’s utilizing the menace to lifestyle as a ploy to gain sympathy pursuing his customers go to appeal the High Court docket of Lagos Judgement. “There is no iota of reality in that,” he additional. Omoboriowo told our reporter that the situation is by now in the Courtroom of Appeal and that it is previously slated for listening to on December 14. “We are all set to acquire it up to the Supreme Court due to the fact our purchasers have a sturdy circumstance to upturn the judgement in their favour following the trim victory that Williams is enjoying in excess of the Large Court judgement that gave him a single of the lands on the residence.” On the coming December 14, Appeal hearing, Omoboriowo claimed: “My clientele have a potent situation versus him to upturn the judgement as a make any difference of simple fact. 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 one that goes about speaking as old as he is. We are going to upturn it by the grace of God. The case is even now likely to the Supreme Courtroom and we are likely to overturn the first 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, in the course of the time period when the situation was before the demo court docket, he reported, the defendants, beneath the guise of a bogus settlement initiative, delayed the hearing of the scenario for a considerable length of time. He also claimed that the Lebanese at some point re-configured the house to accommodate extra tenants from whom rents working into hundreds of tens of millions were collected by the defendants. Right after the defendants had been completed with the configuration of the home and experienced let out the recently included areas to tenants, all pretences to amicable settlement of the dispute with Williams have been carried out away with by them as they returned to announce to the trial courtroom that the settlement initiative unsuccessful. Once again, when their two appeals were pending ahead of the Court docket of Charm, the defendants allegedly started off boasting to the tenants in the constructing and the people today in the quick atmosphere that they were prepared to continue to keep the scenario in court indefinitely by way of the attractiveness procedure. They even pointed to the notoriously gradual judicial course of action in the region, to push dwelling their level, Williams alleged. “They claimed that supplied my advanced age, it is practically not possible for me to see the end of the case in my lifetime,” he even more told our reporter. But the threats and needs of loss of life notwithstanding, Williams thinks that the identical Almighty God, who kept him alive throughout the length of the circumstance at the trial court docket, would maintain him by way of the attraction procedures right until his closing vindication by the Court docket of Appeal, and if need be, the Supreme Courtroom. Williams explained that he was steadfast in his belief that however the wheels of justice may possibly transform slowly and gradually, they do, in fact, flip exceedingly fine, saying that his religion in God and the judicial system had hardly ever been stronger. Omoboriowo nevertheless, discussed that his clients’ enterprise has been in possession and profession of the exact same property given that 1966 without the need of any problem or disturbance from Williams’ alleged predecessors’ intitle or the Claimant. He insisted that his business carried out a common 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 affected assets in December 2009. In accordance to him, the Claimant lacks the locus standi to institute or start any scenario versus them in that he is not a occasion to any of the transactions (title documents) when signing the deed of settlement in 1953 was carried out. Assistant assets supervisor of M. El-Khalil & Sons (properties) Limited, Obinna Chima, on his element claimed that there is very little in any of the files positioned prior to the Court docket by Williams from whom the Court docket could discover or infer any partnership or relationship in between the Claimant and his alleged predecessors-in-title. This, the Lebanese’ legal professionals, agreed with, when they claimed that this motion is statute barred in that the cause of action which is difficult the authenticity of the Deed of transfer of Freehold dated November 2, 1956, arose 55 years in the past. The realized law firm argued that this suit quantities to an abuse of the course of action of the Courtroom in that the notices to quit and discover of owner’s intent to implement to recuperate possession upon which this motion is started were being purportedly served all through the pendency of suit No LD/2144/05 (Dr. C.O. Williams vs M. El-Khalil & ORS) in which the stated go well with, events and the matter make any difference are the very same as in the quick go well with and also a Detect of Charm filed by the Claimant which has not been withdrawn. Nevertheless, a visit to the residence in issue by our reporter, confirmed that it is a 10-storey building with shop room ranging from N3 million to N15 million per annum with traders of all types occupying the property. The traders offer typically footwear, luggage, leather, outfits, jewellery extras, and occupy every single ground of the developing.


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