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Kriston-Lally, NLC feud over failed housing project deepens


THE industrial action embarked upon by the judiciary has delayed the refund of deposits by subscribers for the mass housing project by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Kriston-Lally, the Managing Director of the firm, Mustapha Madawaki, has disclosed.

   Madawaki said in Abuja at the weekend that the process of refunding would commence as soon as judicial officers suspend the on-going industrial action.

   Kriston Lally said it is making every effort to arrange for the safe return of deposits and has approached the courts with a request that the courts nominate an independent third party to take responsibility for the safe return of monies, directly to those who made deposits.

    The firm said it took the court option because it is concerned that the NLC is seeking to place the funds into another construction project, which officials of the NLC are promoting, saying, “this is totally illegal and in violation of the agreements signed with Kriston Lally. 

    “We are fully aware that NLC is making frantic efforts to remove us as signatories to the account by force in order to have free access to the funds despite the service from the courts. This however is not possible as the accounts are Kriston Lally’s and only the courts can decide that”.

   It also hinted that Kriston Lally is also concerned about libel originating from the NLC, which accuses the Kriston Lally management of forging signatures so that funds could be released from the bank.

    Madawaki explained: “There are several witnesses to the fact that Mr. Abdulwahed Omar counter signed payment orders to the bank, which allowed for the transfer of money as preliminary deposits for the payments for land on which houses were to be built. 

     “The receivers of each deposit have legally acknowledged direct receipt and committed themselves to return the funds received and these funds are not at risk.”

   Kriston Lally stated that it is also concerned that the NLC is silent on the interest accrued from the subscribers’ deposits which is running into hundreds of millions of Naira.

   The firm expressed worry about NLC leadership inability to reimburse Kriston Lally of money (in dollars) allegedly given to its President, Abdulwahed Omar, and the NLC as part payments for their commissions earlier agreed once the project is completed. It noted that NLC has failed to record such sums in the accounts of Congress.

   Madawaki added: “The firm is also demanding for a refund of nine air tickets to Greece, hotel suites and money spent, which NLC demanded that Kriston Lally pay for on an NLC trip to Greece to meet with international providers of finance for the project. 

 “We are concerned that NLC leadership was only interested in the housing project merely for their own personal benefit and had no concern for the welfare or rights of Nigerian workers and in particular for the depositors.

   “The role of NLC to provide land plots in accordance with their contractual obligation has led to the delay in the construction of the housing project. Kriston Lally has been left by the NLC to pick up the pieces and we are committed to doing that. Once again we desire to apologise for delays in the safe return of monies to depositors. This will be achieved as soon as courts resume.”

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