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Kwara assets: Witness gives account of how he got property without C of O

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kwara-assets:-witness-gives-account-of-how-he-got-property-without-c of-o

By Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

Another witness, AbdulRahman Shuaib, has narrated before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the Sale of Kwara State Government’s  Assets,  sitting in Ilorin, how he was offered the Kwara State Government property on 7, Fariya Road in Kaduna by Harmony Holdings Limited (HHL) at the sum of N50 million.

Testifying before the panel, Shuaib said he had been living in the three bedroom apartment,  with boys quarters,  since 1997 as a tenant until 2014, when the then Group Executive Director of Harmony Holdings Limited approached him to buy the property.

“I am aware that the property was owned by the Kwara state government. I started as a tenant of the Kwara State Investment and Property Development Corporation and I was paying between N100,000  and N800,000 until 2014 when Harmony Holdings took over the property, and I was offered it at the sum of N60 million. I didn’t start the idea of buying the property. They (Harmony Holdings) initiated the idea and I later agreed to pay the sum of N50 million,” he said.

When the lead counsel to the panel, Joseph Bamigboye (SAN), asked the witness about the nature of the title on the property, Shuaib said he was shown the certified true copy of its Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), which served the purpose of his negotiation.

Shuaib said, ”At the point of negotiation I saw a certified true copy of its Certificate of Occupancy and we had an understanding of immediate payment of N40 million into Harmony Holdings Limited’s  account. The money was acknowledged through a letter. So, the balance became an issue because I insisted on getting the C of O. I committed 80 percent of the payment with the belief that I was dealing with an agency owned by government. I gave a benefit of trust that at the point I will be paying the next N10 million I would have sighted the original copy of the certificate of occupancy. But that didn’t happen.

“Though there was pressure from Harmony Holdings Limited to pay the outstanding,  I stood my ground on seeing the C of O first. Nonetheless, as the conversation went on with Adebayo Sanni, Hussein Alada and Joseph Afolayan of Harmony Holdings Limited, I told them that I would release the sum of N7.5 million in addition to the N40m and I would hold on to N2.5 million. So, if it becomes necessary to authenticate and regularise the document, I will use from it and offer the net balance. Then, we agreed on that. I told them to declare in a recognised newspaper that the C of O was missing and they should indemnify me which they did.

“So, I am holding on to N2.5 million till the C of O is out, and we reconcile the account because their retainer lawyer is on it in Kaduna.”

Shuaib, therefore, urged the commission to order for the perfection of the title while looking at the possibility of reducing the price he paid for the property, saying he was unduly cheated and conceded to pay the amount under duress when compared to the amount the HHL sold other Kwara state government properties in Kaduna.

The commission  subsequently  summoned Prof. Saka Nuhu, Idris Ibrahim (Kaduna), Jamal Solomon (Kaduna), Taoheed Community in Ilorin and the Daudu Amule Ile-Egba Shuaib Agboola Olarongbe to appear before it.

Chairman of the commission,  Justice Olabanji Orilonishe,  directed the Secretary of the Commission, Muhammad  Baba Orire, to summon the affected persons in line with Section 8 of Commissions of Inquiry Law (No 4 of 2006) as a result of their failure to honour the commission’s invitation to appear before it on Thursday.

Former Group Executive Director, Harmony Holdings Limited, Adebayo Sanni, on Wednesday, this week appeared before the commission in respect of the state government’s 11, Catchment Road property  that he allegedly bought but eventually forfeited to the government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The commission had also interrogated former Director-General, Kwara State Bureau of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Segun Soewu, on the management of N4.7 billion SMEs fund under the last administration in the state.

Chairman of the Commission Justice Olabanji Orilonishe (Rtd), however, mandated Soewu to produce the list of all the beneficiaries, their addresses, the amount collected, the amount paid and the outstanding payment.

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