Court voids purchase of Honda Place landed property
Justice Abisoye Bashua of a Lagos High Court, Epe division has nullified the sale of a land and warehouse located at Apapa/ Oworosonki Expressway, Ijesha, and Surulere known as Honda Place to Connoisseur Investment Limited by late Chief J. A Ojomo.
The court declared that the sale is fraudulent, null and void in its judgment, following a legal action filed by Horst Pukke and Company Limited, Mr. Olu Awe and Mrs. Olufunke Awe, suing for and on behalf of Estate of Mr. Ayoola Awe over the rightful owner of the disputed property.
Justice Bashua also granted Horst Pukke, the first claimant statutory right of occupancy of the parcel of land and declaring that the seller, late Chief John. Agboola Ojomo had no legal right to transfer the said property to Connoisseur Investment Limited through a deed of assignment dated October 11, 2002.
The judge further granted the claimants possession of the land containing a warehouse located at Ijeshatedo on Apapa/Oworonsoki and awarded N5 million as damages against Honda Motors Nigeria Limited, (the first defendant) and Connoisseur Investment Ltd (the 2nd defendant) for depriving the first claimant of the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of the property.
In his decision, Justice Bashua declared that by virtue of sale agreement dated October 12, 1982, signed between first claimant and the late Ojomo, the Ojomo Industries with all its assets including the subject matter of the suit has become the property of the first claimant.
“ An order of perpetual injunction is granted restraining the Lagos state attorney general (4th defendant) and Registrar of Titles Lagos state (5th defendant), their agents, servants from accepting and granting consent to the 2nd defendant deed of assignment dated October 11, 2002 between late Chief Ojomo and the 2nd defendant and if any consent is already granted it should be nullified”.
The judge also held that with transfer of Ojomo shares to Horst Pukke and Chief Adigun Ogunseitan all the rights and interest of Ojomo in Ojomo Industries, which includes its property, had been extinguished.
It was also the findings of the court that with the payments of debts owed UBA by Horst Pukke, there was evidence late G. A Awe singlehandedly paid all the money, which is confirmed by the transfer of rights and interest.
It further found with respect to the property in dispute that what the 2nd defendant negotiated and paid for was the property, which had earlier been sold by late Ojomo, and not the land is dispute.
The court also dismissed the counter claims of the 2nd defendant that its lease is still subsisting and in possession, stressing that its position dramatically changed from a tenant holding over to who claim the property as of right.
It said: “the 2nd defendant is presently in lawful possession and superintendent of Honda Service station having properly acquired same. Although the interest of the 3rd defendant is yet to be registered. It is now the beneficial owner of the property which Oba Ojomo assigned to it”.
The case of he claimants was that the first claimant entered into a purchase and takeover of Ojomo Industries by buying all the assets including the land in dispute after it liquidated al the debts owed by Ojomo to United Bank of Africa.
The assets transferred includes an assembly plants, factory where motor and other equipment was assembled, raw material; and finished goods warehouse
After the first claimant took over Ojomo industries, the land in dispute was leased to Nitras Nigeria Limited, who put in possession Milan Impex for five years, the lessee only used three years and was later let to the second defendant for ten years, who secretly bought the land in dispute from late Oba Ojomo without informing the claimant even though the document of title used in purchasing the property in dispute had earlier been sold by late Ojomo and not in respect of the land in dispute.
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