September 30, 2023


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

12 min read

The house on 33 Balogun Street, Lagos, is in dispute. There are two claimants. While the Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams’ family wants their asset handed again to them, the Lebanese business, which supposedly leased it, statements the residence experienced extended been offered to them. Taiwo Hassan, who has been subsequent the disagreement, stories

For the former Chief Health-related Director of Unity Healthcare facility, Lagos, Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams, it’s been a tug-of-war striving 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 nicely as his aunts, Florence Aduke Bajomo (Nee Williams) and Adenike Wilson, experienced leased the assets to Mohammed El-Khalil and other folks in 1953.

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

Even so, a small in excess of three several years (1956) right 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 identical brothers and sisters who made the 1952 Declaration and signed the 1953 lease. But Williams has preserved that he had no understanding of the purported sale of the assets, insisting that the Lebanese were occupying the making less than the 1953 lease.

At the expiration of the lease on March 31, 2003, the Lebanese, Williams claimed, refused to vacate the house, prompting him to formally notify them of the expiration of the lease, when at the identical time requesting them to vacate the house. Williams stated: “We approached the Lebanese to get back again our property, but their reaction was disheartening. As an alternative of complying, they claimed that the residence experienced been sold to their progenitor three many years into the lease agreement. This, they mentioned, was perfected in 1956.

They drew our interest to the 1956 Deed of Transfer below which they claimed the residence was offered to them.” Apprehensive by the convert of gatherings, the 85-12 months-aged Williams done a lookup at the lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, but what he found out was much more confounding. It was found, according to him, that the Deed of Transfer of title was without a doubt registered by the Lebanese as the rightful proprietors of the property, scarcely three many years soon after the graduation of the 50-12 months lease by the Williams’ family.

Not pleased with what they noticed, the Williams went to acquire a copy of the 1956 Deed of Transfer and forwarded same to the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Nigerian Police, Alagbon, Lagos, for even further 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. Following the evaluation of the forensic report, the Police concluded that the signatures on the 1956 intended Deed of Transfer of title have been fully various from people on the 1952 declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease.

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

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 regardless of the actuality that in the 1952 Declaration and 1953 Lease, the exact aunt was persistently explained as Adenike Wilson. It was the mix of the Law enforcement findings and these contradictions that prompted Williams to strategy the Large Courtroom of Lagos State to look for to void it and to get well their family’s home.

On March 8, 2012, the family members commenced a match at the High Court of Lagos Condition, towards El-Khalil & Sons Homes Restricted and 3 many others. They incorporated the private representatives of the Estate of Mohammed El-Khalil, particular associates of the Estate of Ramiz Moukarim and the Registrar of Titles, Lands Registry of Lagos Point out as defendants. Williams had approached the court looking for repossession of the house. The authorized struggle spanned seven a long time right before the court delivered its judgement in the match on December, 6, 2019, in favour of Williams and his relatives.

A seem at the summary of the qualifications upon which the lawful struggle was fought as shown in a court docket doc designed readily available to this newspaper indicated that Williams is a descendant of a person James Wilson, the original owner of the home in dispute. Incidentally, the Lebanese business, in accordance to Williams, experienced refused to hand more than the property to him and his family members and has due to the fact been irritating the courtroom purchase on the justification that they experienced appealed the judgement at the Court of Enchantment, Lagos.

At the hearing of the suit, each Williams and the Lebanese identified as for forensic proof in respect of the authenticity or normally of the signatures on the 1956 Deed of Transfer as compared to the signatures on the 1952 Declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease. But in a fairly weird twist, the forensic health care provider known as by the defendants testified underneath crossexamination before the demo courtroom that the signatures on the Deed of Transfer ended up so distinctive from the signatures on the 1953 Lease “that there was no foundation for any comparison involving the two sets of signatures.” Following the judgement, the defendants submitted an attraction at the Courtroom of Attractiveness, Lagos Division, in search of to overturn the ruling. They also utilized for a remain of execution of the judgement of the trial court docket pending the result of that attractiveness.

Nevertheless, at the listening to of the application for stay of execution, the defendants knowledgeable the trial court docket that they were well prepared to deposit a lender ensure with the registrar of the trial court for the judgement sum pending the outcome of their enchantment.

Incidentally, Williams did not oppose the defendants’ proposal that a lender warranty need to be deposited in the account of the registrar of the court. He just additional a even further situation that the administration of the assets need to be vested in a dependable estate administration company, even though the enchantment is pending right before the Court of Appeal. Curiously and notably, the defendants did not also item to or contest this more condition. In its ruling shipped on February 17, the trial court docket, among other things, granted a conditional continue to be in line with the proposals of the functions. The decide produced an get to the effect that the judgement sum and fascination accruing on it up till the judgement must be deposited inside of 7 days by using a bank draft in the identify of the Chief Registrar of the High Court docket of Lagos Point out.

He also mentioned that the management of the assets need to be vested in a reputable estate firm to be appointed by the Main Registrar of the Court docket. On the other hand, the defendants, it was even more learnt, released a 2nd enchantment, this time, towards the buy of conditional stay granted by the demo court almost 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 observe with Appeal No: Go well with No: LD/331/2012 to the Courtroom of Appeal, Lagos, a duplicate of which is in possession of Saturday Telegraph. They, by way of their legal professionals, claimed they ended up dissatisfied with the final decision of the Large Court of Lagos State, contained in the judgement by Justice Candide-Johnson, delivered on December 6, 2019.

In accordance to Counsel to Khalil: “The discovered trial judge 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 during the trial did not deliver any dying certification to create the demise of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. In the Notice of Enchantment, the 1st respondent did not also direct 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 clearly show that the 3rd Appellant is a beneficiary of the estates of equally 1st and 2nd Appellant. So, the figured out demo judge erred in legislation 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 yet another twist nevertheless, Williams petitioned the Federal Govt by way of the Place of work of the Inspector Standard of Law enforcement (IGP). He especially requested the IGP, Mohammad Adamu, to conserve him in the palms of Lebanese descendants of El-Khalil, whom, he reported, have refused to release his family’s residence after the expiration of their 50-year-outdated lease agreement. The petition also handles that of forgery, fraudulent conversion of property and getting by pressure pretence. In the petition dated August 28, and duly signed by him, a duplicate of which was manufactured obtainable to Saturday Telegraph, confirmed that he was declaring that the enterprise of M. El-Khalil & Sons Properties Limited cast a Deed of Transfer dated December 2, 1956, and has been boasting ownership of and occupying his family’s house considering that then dependent on the forged titled doc. Williams equally claimed that the business, M. El-Khalil & Sons Attributes Constrained, now managed by Francis Uzom of Frank Harden Restricted and Obinna Chima had relied on false claim of ownership of the home to pocket large cash running into billions of naira in rents assortment from unsuspecting tenants at the house. “They have been making an attempt to provide the stated residence dependent on the mentioned cast title paperwork,” he further more alleged. He reported that his initiatives to warn the occupants of the home and the standard community, especially prospective house consumers about the assert of ownership by M. El-Khalil & Sons Qualities Limited, have led to many threats of dying directed at him by officers of the explained organization. When responding to the weighty allegations, the Lebanese talking as a result of their law firm, 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 effectively fabricated. In simple fact, the allegation is not only a lie, but also fake and baseless. It is a total lie from the air.” Omoboriowo did not only rubbish Williams’ promises on house forgery, but insisted that, “It is a fabricated lies that are not able to be demonstrated by him at the regulation court docket for the reason that M. El-Khalil & Sons Qualities Confined is a corporation and if he is insisting that a corporation solid a certification like he claimed, so why did not he occur out and mention a director (s) or staff members of the firm that did it in M. El-Khalil & SONS Attributes Minimal and the so-identified as director or team will appear out publicly to acknowledge or deny that.” The lawyer discussed that the claimant has no evidence of proof to that impact as he’s utilizing the menace to everyday living as a ploy to gain sympathy subsequent his purchasers move to attractiveness the Higher Court docket of Lagos Judgement. “There is no iota of real truth in that,” he added. Omoboriowo explained to our reporter that the scenario is now in the Court docket of Charm and that it is currently slated for listening to on December 14. “We are all set to acquire it up to the Supreme Courtroom for the reason that our consumers have a potent case to upturn the judgement in their favour adhering to the slim victory that Williams is savoring in excess of the High Court docket judgement that gave him one particular of the lands on the assets.” On the coming December 14, Charm hearing, Omoboriowo said: “My clientele have a powerful situation against him to upturn the judgement as a matter of reality. That is why we are treading the line of professionalism, the line of the legislation and not resorting to press, police and here and there. He’s the a single that goes about talking as previous as he is. We are going to upturn it by the grace of God. The case is still heading to the Supreme Court docket and we are likely to overturn the first judgement it is just a slim victory he has now.” Just lately, Williams has also complained of other alleged underhand dealings by the Lebanese. For occasion, throughout the period when the case was ahead of the demo courtroom, he claimed, the defendants, below the guise of a bogus settlement initiative, delayed the hearing of the situation for a sizeable length of time. He also claimed that the Lebanese at some stage re-configured the property to accommodate far more tenants from whom rents working into hundreds of tens of millions have been gathered by the defendants. After the defendants ended up finished with the configuration of the residence and had let out the freshly added areas to tenants, all pretences towards amicable settlement of the dispute with Williams were carried out away with by them as they returned to announce to the trial court docket that the settlement initiative unsuccessful. Again, when their two appeals have been pending just before the Court docket of Charm, the defendants allegedly commenced boasting to the tenants in the making and the men and women in the speedy setting that they were being geared up to retain the scenario in court indefinitely through the attractiveness system. They even pointed to the notoriously gradual judicial approach in the place, to drive dwelling their level, Williams alleged. “They claimed that presented my superior age, it is practically not possible for me to see the stop of the situation in my life time,” he more told our reporter. But the threats and wishes of loss of life notwithstanding, Williams thinks that the exact Almighty God, who stored him alive during the period of the situation at the demo court, would maintain him as a result of the enchantment procedures until his remaining vindication by the Court docket of Attraction, and if have to have be, the Supreme Courtroom. Williams explained that he was steadfast in his perception that although the wheels of justice may possibly change slowly but surely, they do, in simple fact, change exceedingly fine, indicating that his faith in God and the judicial program experienced hardly ever been stronger. Omoboriowo having said that, stated that his clients’ organization has been in possession and occupation of the very same home due to the fact 1966 without having any problem or disturbance from Williams’ alleged predecessors’ intitle or the Claimant. He insisted that his corporation carried out a standard fix in the tune of N150 million for the trespass and lawful execution carried out by the Claimant and/or his brokers on the affected residence in December 2009. In accordance to him, the Claimant lacks the locus standi to institute or begin any circumstance versus 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 home manager of M. El-Khalil & Sons (qualities) Constrained, Obinna Chima, on his portion stated that there is absolutely nothing in any of the documents put ahead of the Court docket by Williams from whom the Court could uncover or infer any romantic relationship or connection in between the Claimant and his alleged predecessors-in-title. This, the Lebanese’ lawyers, agreed with, when they explained 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 many years in the past. The discovered lawyer argued that this fit quantities to an abuse of the course of action of the Court in that the notices to stop and recognize of owner’s intent to implement to recover possession upon which this action is started ended up purportedly served in the course of the pendency of accommodate No LD/2144/05 (Dr. C.O. Williams vs M. El-Khalil & ORS) in which the claimed go well with, events and the matter issue are the identical as in the fast go well with and also a See of Appeal filed by the Claimant which has not been withdrawn. Having said that, a go to to the home in query by our reporter, showed that it is a 10-storey setting up with shop house ranging from N3 million to N15 million for every annum with traders of all sorts occupying the assets. The traders promote mainly footwear, bags, leather-based, clothes, jewelry accessories, and occupy every single flooring of the developing.


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