Court Dismisses Union Bank’s Suit Claiming Ownership of Ikoyi Flat

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc failed Friday in its bid to take over Flat 7B, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, where about N13bn was discovered in April 2017.
Federal High Court in Lagos dismissed the bank’s application claiming ownership of the flat.
The court, on November 9, 2017, ordered the flat’s temporary forfeiture to the Federal Government.
In dismissing the application, the court described the bank as a busybody, just as it ordered the permanent forfeiture of the property to the Federal Government.
The flat attracted public attention in April last year when large sums of money – $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 (about N13bn) – were recovered from it.
The money, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was stashed away in iron cabinets and “Ghana-must-go” bags in the apartment.
The anti-graft agency later traced the ownership of the apartment to Mrs. Folashade Oke, the wife of the suspended Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayodele Oke.
It claimed that its investigations revealed that Folashade bought the properties with proceeds of fraud by her husband.
But a new twist was added when Union Bank claimed ownership of the Flat.
In the application, the bank prayed the court to vacate the interim order forfeiting the flat to the Federal Government.
In a supporting affidavit, the bank said the flat was part of 16, Osborne Road, Ikoyi, belonging to Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Muazu.
It said the property was covered by a certificate of occupancy dated September 27, 2009 and registered as 97/97/2009 in the Lands Registry Office, Alausa.
According to the bank, Muazu mortgaged the property to it by virtue of a Tripartite Deed of Legal Mortgage dated November 1, 2011.
Union Bank said the property was a security for a loan granted to Tripple A Properties & Investment Ltd.
The bank claimed that the property’s original titled deed had been vested in it (the bank).
Besides, it said the loan was yet to be liquidated despite its tenor expiring.
The bank claimed that it sold the property to Chobe Ventures Ltd to liquidate the loan.
The EFCC, in its counter affidavit, argued that the bank lacked the locus standi to challenge the forfeiture.
While arguing the application for the flat’s forfeiture, EFCC’s lawyer said Folashade made cash payment of $1,658,000 in tranches of $700,000, $650,000 and $353,700, for the flat’s purchase between August 25 and September 3, 2015.
In a supporting affidavit deposed to by an investigating officer, Musa Giwa, the agency said she gave the cash to a bureau de change operator, Alhaji Shehu Usman Anka, to pay for the flat.
“The funds used to acquire the property sought to be forfeited in the name of Chobe Ventures belong to the Federal Government of Nigeria but was fraudulently converted to the use of Chobe Ventures. It is in the interest of justice to grant this application,” the EFCC said
EFCC said when it recovered the huge cash from the flat on April 12, it also recovered several documents indicating that the flat belonged to Chobe Ventures, including invoices and cash receipts issued to the company.

Author: News Editor

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