December 4, 2023


Good Living

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

The property on 33 Balogun Road, Lagos, is in dispute. There are two claimants. Although the Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams’ family desires their asset handed again to them, the Lebanese firm, which supposedly leased it, promises the assets experienced lengthy been marketed to them. Taiwo Hassan, who has been adhering to the disagreement, experiences

For the previous Chief Medical Director of Unity Medical center, Lagos, Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams, it’s been a tug-of-war seeking to reclaim his inheritance. His father, late Clarence Olatunde Williams, inherited the assets with his siblings from their possess father, James Wilson. His father, and his uncle, Charles Adeyinka Wilson, as properly 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 many years. And the 10-storey creating was on 3/5, Bankole Road, Lagos, at that time. The street experienced considering the fact that been rearranged and it is now on 33 Balogun Street. Williams Snr. and his siblings had declared on their own owners of the aforementioned home by inheritance underneath native guidelines and customs. But in 1953, they granted a 50-calendar year lease of the house to Messrs Mohammed El-Khalil and Ramiz Moukarim.

Having said that, a little above a few several years (1956) soon after the execution of the 1953 lease, Moukarim and El-Khalil allegedly claimed to have out rightly ordered the property from Williams’ father and his siblings the identical brothers and sisters who made the 1952 Declaration and signed the 1953 lease. But Williams has maintained that he had no information of the purported sale of the residence, insisting that the Lebanese ended up occupying the creating underneath the 1953 lease.

At the expiration of the lease on March 31, 2003, the Lebanese, Williams explained, refused to vacate the residence, prompting him to formally notify them of the expiration of the lease, although at the exact same time requesting them to vacate the property. Williams said: “We approached the Lebanese to get back our house, but their response was disheartening. In its place of complying, they claimed that the property had been sold to their progenitor a few yrs into the lease agreement. This, they claimed, was perfected in 1956.

They drew our attention to the 1956 Deed of Transfer underneath which they claimed the home was offered to them.” Fearful by the change of functions, the 85-yr-outdated Williams done a search at the lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, but what he found out was extra confounding. It was learned, according to him, that the Deed of Transfer of title was certainly registered by the Lebanese as the rightful house owners of the property, hardly three years following the commencement of the 50-yr lease by the Williams’ relatives.

Not pleased with what they observed, the Williams went to receive a duplicate of the 1956 Deed of Transfer and forwarded exact 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 comparison with individuals on the 1953 lease. After the analysis of the forensic report, the Law enforcement concluded that the signatures on the 1956 supposed Deed of Transfer of title have been totally distinct from individuals on the 1952 declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease.

They subsequently declared that the 1956 Deed of Transfer was cast. A further seeming abnormality that caught Williams’ eyes was the failure of the 1956 Deed of Transfer to cancel or even make any variety 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 described 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 same aunt was constantly explained as Adenike Wilson. It was the mix of the Law enforcement findings and these contradictions that prompted Williams to strategy the Large Court docket of Lagos State to seek to void it and to recover their family’s house.

On March 8, 2012, the household commenced a suit at the High Courtroom of Lagos State, towards El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Constrained and 3 others. They bundled the own reps of the Estate of Mohammed El-Khalil, private reps of the Estate of Ramiz Moukarim and the Registrar of Titles, Lands Registry of Lagos Condition as defendants. Williams experienced approached the courtroom looking for repossession of the house. The legal fight spanned 7 a long time prior to the court delivered its judgement in the accommodate on December, 6, 2019, in favour of Williams and his spouse and children.

A search at the summary of the history on which the legal fight was fought as shown in a court docket doc manufactured readily available to this newspaper indicated that Williams is a descendant of just one James Wilson, the initial proprietor of the residence in dispute. Incidentally, the Lebanese agency, in accordance to Williams, experienced refused to hand more than the assets to him and his relatives and has because been frustrating the court docket purchase on the justification that they experienced appealed the judgement at the Court docket of Appeal, Lagos.

At the listening to of the suit, each Williams and the Lebanese named for forensic proof in regard of the authenticity or otherwise 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 instead bizarre twist, the forensic health practitioner called by the defendants testified under crossexamination before the demo court that the signatures on the Deed of Transfer ended up so distinct from the signatures on the 1953 Lease “that there was no foundation for any comparison concerning the two sets of signatures.” Soon after the judgement, the defendants submitted an attractiveness at the Courtroom of Charm, Lagos Division, looking for to overturn the ruling. They also utilized for a stay of execution of the judgement of the trial courtroom pending the outcome of that attraction.

Still, at the listening to of the application for keep of execution, the defendants informed the trial court that they had been geared up to deposit a financial institution assurance with the registrar of the demo court for the judgement sum pending the result of their attraction.

By the way, Williams did not oppose the defendants’ proposal that a lender ensure ought to be deposited in the account of the registrar of the court docket. He merely added a further situation that the administration of the residence need to be vested in a respected estate management firm, whilst the appeal is pending prior to the Courtroom of Appeal. Apparently and notably, the defendants did not also item to or contest this extra situation. In its ruling shipped on February 17, the trial court, amongst other factors, granted a conditional keep in line with the proposals of the functions. The judge made an order to the impact that the judgement sum and interest accruing on it up till the judgement need to be deposited inside seven times through a lender draft in the name of the Chief Registrar of the High Courtroom of Lagos State.

He also claimed that the management of the property ought to be vested in a highly regarded estate firm to be appointed by the Chief Registrar of the Court. On the other hand, the defendants, it was further learnt, released a next enchantment, this time, against the buy of conditional keep granted by the demo court virtually on the defendants’ individual phrases.

The defendants’ counsel, Main Tunde Olojo of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi, Kusamotu, Olojo & Co, on December 9, 2019, despatched a observe with Attractiveness No: Match No: LD/331/2012 to the Court docket of Attractiveness, Lagos, a copy of which is in possession of Saturday Telegraph. They, as a result of their attorneys, mentioned they ended up dissatisfied with the final decision of the Large Court docket of Lagos Condition, contained in the judgement by Justice Candide-Johnson, delivered on December 6, 2019.

In accordance to Counsel to Khalil: “The learned demo judge erred in law 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 in the course of the demo did not convey any loss of life certificate to create the demise of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. In the Observe of Enchantment, 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 present that the 3rd Appellant is a beneficiary of the estates of both of those 1st and 2nd Appellant. So, the discovered demo decide erred in regulation when he held that the 1st respondent has recognized a circumstance of forgery from the 1st -3rd Appellants and that the doctrine of genuineness did not avail them.” In an additional twist on the other hand, Williams petitioned the Federal Federal government through the Business of the Inspector General of Law enforcement (IGP). He exclusively questioned the IGP, Mohammad Adamu, to save him in the arms of Lebanese descendants of El-Khalil, whom, he explained, have refused to release his family’s home immediately after the expiration of their 50-calendar year-previous lease settlement. The petition also addresses that of forgery, fraudulent conversion of house and getting via pressure pretence. In the petition dated August 28, and duly signed by him, a copy of which was built out there to Saturday Telegraph, confirmed that he was proclaiming that the firm of M. El-Khalil & Sons Houses Minimal solid a Deed of Transfer dated December 2, 1956, and has been professing possession of and occupying his family’s home since then primarily based on the forged titled document. Williams similarly claimed that the business, M. El-Khalil & Sons Homes Confined, now managed by Francis Uzom of Frank Harden Limited and Obinna Chima had relied on phony declare of possession of the property to pocket big revenue running into billions of naira in rents selection from unsuspecting tenants at the property. “They have been making an attempt to promote the claimed property based mostly on the explained forged title documents,” he additional alleged. He claimed that his endeavours to alert the occupants of the property and the general public, especially probable assets customers about the declare of possession by M. El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Confined, have led to a number of threats of death directed at him by officers of the claimed corporation. Whilst responding to the weighty allegations, the Lebanese speaking through their attorney, 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. In accordance to him, “This is a lie that was perfectly fabricated. In simple fact, the allegation is not only a lie, but also phony and baseless. It is a finish lie from the air.” Omoboriowo did not only rubbish Williams’ promises on home forgery, but insisted that, “It is a fabricated lies that simply cannot be confirmed by him at the regulation court docket because M. El-Khalil & Sons Houses Constrained is a company and if he is insisting that a organization forged a certificate like he claimed, so why did not he arrive out and point out a director (s) or employees of the organization that did it in M. El-Khalil & SONS Attributes Minimal and the so-named director or workers will come out publicly to acknowledge or deny that.” The lawyer discussed that the claimant has no proof of evidence to that effect as he’s using the risk to life as a ploy to obtain sympathy following his purchasers go to attraction the Superior Court of Lagos Judgement. “There is no iota of fact in that,” he included. Omoboriowo advised our reporter that the situation is currently in the Court docket of Charm and that it is currently slated for hearing on December 14. “We are prepared to just take it up to the Supreme Courtroom simply because our clients have a powerful case to upturn the judgement in their favour subsequent the slender victory that Williams is taking pleasure in over the Superior Court judgement that gave him a person of the lands on the home.” On the coming December 14, Enchantment listening to, Omoboriowo claimed: “My clients have a potent situation in opposition to him to upturn the judgement as a make a difference of fact. That is why we are treading the line of professionalism, the line of the legislation and not resorting to push, police and below and there. He’s the one that goes about talking as outdated as he is. We are going to upturn it by the grace of God. The circumstance is still heading to the Supreme Court and we are likely to overturn the initial judgement it is just a slender victory he has now.” Not too long ago, Williams has also complained of other alleged underhand dealings by the Lebanese. For occasion, for the duration of the interval when the circumstance was prior to the trial court, he claimed, the defendants, under the guise of a bogus settlement initiative, delayed the hearing of the situation for a sizeable size of time. He also claimed that the Lebanese at some issue re-configured the residence to accommodate a lot more tenants from whom rents managing into hundreds of thousands and thousands had been collected by the defendants. Soon after the defendants were completed with the configuration of the house and had allow out the newly added spaces to tenants, all pretences toward amicable settlement of the dispute with Williams were performed away with by them as they returned to announce to the trial courtroom that the settlement initiative unsuccessful. Yet again, while their two appeals ended up pending in advance of the Court docket of Enchantment, the defendants allegedly started boasting to the tenants in the making and the men and women in the speedy ecosystem that they had been geared up to maintain the situation in courtroom indefinitely by means of the charm method. They even pointed to the notoriously sluggish judicial approach in the nation, to push home their stage, Williams alleged. “They claimed that supplied my highly developed age, it is nearly difficult for me to see the conclusion of the situation in my life time,” he further explained to our reporter. But the threats and needs of loss of life notwithstanding, Williams thinks that the exact same Almighty God, who kept him alive all through the length of the scenario at the demo court docket, would sustain him via the attractiveness procedures until his closing vindication by the Courtroom of Appeal, and if need to have be, the Supreme Courtroom. Williams stated that he was steadfast in his belief that though the wheels of justice may transform gradually, they do, in actuality, change exceedingly fantastic, indicating that his faith in God and the judicial technique had hardly ever been much better. Omoboriowo however, spelled out that his clients’ business has been in possession and profession of the exact residence because 1966 with out any challenge or disturbance from Williams’ alleged predecessors’ intitle or the Claimant. He insisted that his organization 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 brokers on the impacted home in December 2009. According to him, the Claimant lacks the locus standi to institute or start any case 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 assets manager of M. El-Khalil & Sons (homes) Minimal, Obinna Chima, on his aspect said that there is absolutely nothing in any of the files put right before the Courtroom by Williams from whom the Courtroom could find or infer any relationship or link involving the Claimant and his alleged predecessors-in-title. This, the
Lebanese’ attorneys, agreed with, when they stated that this action is statute barred in that the cause of action which is tough the authenticity of the Deed of transfer of Freehold dated November 2, 1956, arose 55 decades in the past. The uncovered law firm argued that this suit amounts to an abuse of the approach of the Court docket in that the notices to stop and see of owner’s intent to apply to recover possession on which this action is started had been purportedly served during the pendency of fit No LD/2144/05 (Dr. C.O. Williams vs M. El-Khalil & ORS) in which the claimed fit, get-togethers and the subject matter make a difference are the identical as in the instant fit and also a Notice of Attractiveness filed by the Claimant which has not been withdrawn. Even so, a go to to the residence in concern by our reporter, confirmed that it is a 10-storey creating with store place ranging from N3 million to N15 million for every annum with traders of all kinds occupying the home. The traders market largely shoes, luggage, leather, outfits, jewellery extras, and occupy every single floor of the constructing.


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