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Mortgage firm, subscribers quarrel over Safe Court Estate in Lagos


Safe Court Estate, Lekki. Image sourcenigeriapropertycentre

Safe Court Estate, Lekki. Image sourcenigeriapropertycentre

ALTHOUGH there are claim of documents, which allegedly confer ownership of a residential estate located within a fast-growing city, Ikate- Elegushi neighbourhood in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State on a mortgage bank, Imperial Homes Mortgage Bank Plc, stalemate still hangs on two units of the high-fliers’ home.
Presently, there are pending two suits before a Lagos High Court over the property, the claims in both are essentially the same, notwithstanding.  While a couple, Dr. Akinniran and Dr. (Mrs.) Rita Akintola, initiated one, Messrs. Olarenwaju Falade filed the other.

Safe Court is a tastefully finished 47 units residential apartments, built on land measuring 6255.517 square metres, originally owned by a developer, Primewaterview, but was offered as off-plan by the developer to Imperial Home, formerly known as GTHomes Limited.

Court record has it that Primewaterview was indebted to Cornerstone Asset Management Limited, created a Deed of Legal Mortgage (DLM) in favor of Cornerstone.

While this lasted, Primewaterview executed another deed of assignment in favour of GTHomes, which also had accepted an offer of off-plan purchase of Safe Court Estate, paid for an initial 30 units of the development with a “gentlemanly understanding reached between Primewaterview and GTHomes would purchase the remaining 17 units on completion of the estate and in the event that the developer elected to sell the remaining units, Imperial Homes would be offered the option of first refusal.

Following the payment for the said 30 units, curiously, the developer also executed a deed of Sublease (DoS) in Imperial Homes’ favour over the same landed it had earlier created DLM with Cornerstone. To effect to the transaction, Imperial Homes registered the DoS with the Lagos State Government.

But, as the developer failed to meet up with its financial obligation to Cornerstone Asset Management Limited, the latter, armed with a court order, appointed a receiver-manager, in the person of Chief Ajibola Aribisala to take over the entire development. the which after the failure of the former to meet up with its obligation appointed a receiver-manager, who immediately moved to take over the property.

Worried by the development, Imperial Homes initiated the process by appointing Messrs. FreshBrook, a firm of solicitors to protect its interest particularly as the bank had sold the 30 units to its customers it bought in Safe Court and its staff was already marketing the remaining 17 units.

Thereafter, negotiations to settle the matter amicably ensued and that led to a Terms of Settlement, which was entered as a consent judgment of the Federal High Court.  Consequently, Cornerstone executed a Deed of Release in favour Imperial Homes.

According to the DoR made on 11tgh June 2013, “Witness that in consideration of the sum of N25m being the consent judgment sum in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1085/2012 now paid by GTHomes Limited (in subrogation for Primewaterview Limited, the Mortgagor) to the Mortgagee as the mortgage money and interest owed in respect of the said mortgage… the Mortgagee hereby conveys and transfers to GTHomes Limited (in subrogation for Primewaterview Limited, the Mortgagor) the mortgaged property measuring 6255.517 square metres situate, lying and being at Lekki Pennisula Scheme, Ikate Ancient City, Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State…”. Also, with the settlement, Imperial Homes’ title to Safe Court was affirmed in two separate actions both at the Federal and Lagos State High Courts.

Throughout the negotiation that culminated into the settlement, the developer was said to have sold a unit of the remaining 17 units, and asked that the sale be recognised by the bank. After the option opened for Primewaterview under the ToS to repurchase the 17 units was said to have elapsed, Imperial Homes went on to sell off 14 units to Northcourt, Block H, penthouse 700 and Block H, Flat 601, which it did not sell because they are currently under litigation. The bank added that as at when it was selling the 14 units it was not aware of anybody’s interest, as Primewaterview was said to have denied any other sale other a unit.   The bank is now asking the court to dismiss the actions with substantial cost, claiming it is frivolous and vexatious. Meanwhile, Justice Iyabo Kasali, had ordered parties, including the Akintolas and Falade against Primewaterview, Imperial Homes Mortgage Bank Plc and Registrar of Titles, Lagos State to maintain status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by a customer of Primewaterview claiming ownership of the apartments, equally directed lawyers in the suit to educate their clients on the consequences of disobedience of court order.

The customer, Olanrewaju Falade, had dragged GT Homes and Primewaterview to court, alleging fraudulent conspiracy to deny him ownership of two apartments in the estate, which he had duly paid for.

He also filed a motion for interlocutory injunction restraining the first and second defendants (Primewaterview and GT Homes) from preventing him from gaining access to the apartments pending the determination of the suit.
Besides, the claimant (Falade), in the motion, also seeks an interlocutory injunction restraining the Registrar of Titles of Lagos State Lands Registry from accepting any document of title registration for the said two apartments described as Block H, P/H 700 and Block H, Flat 601 pending the determination of the suit.
The claimant, in an affidavit in support of the suit, recalled that sometime in June 2010, he received an offer letter from Primewaterview, which was the joint developer of the Safecourt Estate with Safetrust Limited, for subscription for sale of one unit three-bedroom serviced apartment.

The terms of the agreement in the offer letter was that upon acceptance of offer, a down payment of 50 per cent was required while the balance 50 per cent would be due upon completion and delivery of the apartment in the conditions stated in the offer.

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