Residents and landlords of Victory Park Estate, Lekki, Lagos State, have accused the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON, of harassment over their property despite pending court cases and orders.
Two of such cases were filed by Mrs B. Ibude and Mr Okechukwu Okoli and his wife against AMCON and its receiver-manager Mr Lanre Olaoluwa. The plaintiffs obtained injunctions against the respondents AMCON and Olaoluwa appealed.
The estate spans almost 50 hectares of land and is one of the gated communities in the Igbokushu area of Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1.
The residents are accusing AMCON and its receiver-manager of outright disregard for law and order and illegal use of official powers.
They claimed to have bought plots of land in the estate from Grant Properties Ltd, a company promoted by the late Rev Olajide Awosedo and his family, and obtained the relevant title documents.
According to them, in 2003, Grant Properties and Knight Rook approached some of them individually and offered them plots in the estate, following which they invested their hard-earned money and life savings, while others obtained mortgage loans.
The residents said before paying, they carried out checks to ascertain that there were no caveats in the Lands Registry or the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC.
Assured that the coast was clear, they purchased their various plots legally from Grant Properties/Knight Rook, the only companies authorised to sell plots of land in the estate.
The homeowners said they found that at the time of purchasing the plots of land, Knight Rook’s title to the estate was free from any encumbrance, as no mortgage, pledge or charge had been obtained against it by any financial institution or any other company.
The homeowners said from 2003 till June 2017, they continued to buy into the estate; some developed their property and started living in the estate without harassment.
They also registered their titles, obtained the consent of the Governor and paid their Land Use Charge as and when due.
Issues arose when AMCON moved to recover alleged credit facilities granted to the late Awosedo, the chairman of Grant Properties Limited and Knight Rook Ltd, which executed the title documents to the property in the estate.
To the residents’ shock, sometime in June 2017, they woke to a publication that Knight Rook, the owner of the global certificate of occupancy over Victory Park Estate, was in receivership with other companies over a loan Grant Properties Ltd allegedly took from banks.
According to the residents, following the steps taken to recover the outstanding indebtedness, the late Awosedo and other shareholders of Knight Rook purportedly transferred their shares to the nominees of the banks and resigned their positions as directors, thereby relinquishing their right to continue to act as such.
The plaintiffs alleged that despite the removal of the Awosedos from Knight Rook Ltd, an agreement was entered into sometime in 2006 by the banks with Grant Properties Ltd to market and sell the land at Victory Park Estate and remit proceeds to the banks.
The residents said it was very puzzling that from 2006 until AMCON’s publication of putting the companies in receivership in 2017, members of the public were made to believe that the Awosedos were executing the banks’ instructions.
AMCON appointed Mr Olaoluwa as receiver/manager to take over the assets of Knight Rook Ltd and its parent company, Grant Properties Ltd.
The receiver/manager obtained an ex-parte order in a suit numbered FHC/AB/CS/69/16.
The order granted him the power to dispose or take possession of several property in the estate, pending the conclusion of the debt recovery proceedings against Knight Rook Ltd and Grant Properties Ltd.
The residents alleged that under the guise of performing his functions, the receiver/manager has continued to make life unbearable for them. AMCON and Olaoluwa, they said, are not only taking over unoccupied and undeveloped property, but the ones in occupation, with residents being forced out with thugs and the police.
The plaintiffs said many of the plots targeted by AMCON were already sold to third parties before the take-over by the banks and the eventual transfer of the assets to AMCON.
To them, the property cannot form part of the assets of Knight Rook Ltd.