Mortgage banker loses bid to stop arrest over Safe Tower estate project

Legal moves by the Chief Executive Officer of Safetrust Mortgage Bank, Mr. Akintayo Oloko at the Federal High Court, Lagos to frustrate his arrest and possible prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged scam on the multi-billion naira Safetowers Estate project, Lagos has hit the rock following the court’s judgment on Friday.

The judgment stemmed out of a fundamental human rights suit filed by Oloko against the Attorney General of the Federation, the EFCC, Mr. Ogunmefun and Currant Limited.

In the suit filed at Federal High Court, Lagos, the developers represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Safetrust, Mr. Akintayo Oloko, Safetrust Mortgage Bank, and Macbosh Properties Limited and Mortgage sought among other reliefs, a mandatory order compelling the respondents to return forthwith the title deed of the Safetowers Estate registered as N0 37/37/2444 at the Lagos Lands, covered by Survey Plan N0 BAS258/2013/130-116(3)/LA owned by 3rd applicant, Macbosh Properties Limited but allegedly seized by the respondents.

They also wanted an order compelling the respondents to jointly and severally tender written and public apology to the applicant as well as payment of N500 million as general and exemplary damages for illegal arrest, detention, harassment and deprivation of personal freedom and liberty.

The motion was supported by 14-paragraph affidavit deposed to the first applicant, Akintayo Oloko, written addresses, 11 paged memorandum of Understanding between Macbosh properties Limited and Kunle Ogunmefun in 2014, non disclosure agreement between parties and other correspondences between parties, including terms of settlement.

The applicants submitted that parties have due to various misunderstanding and events that transpired in the course of the transaction, already agreed to terminate the agreement as contained in the memorandum of understanding on the condition that the developer repay the amount invested by the investor together with the interest that has accrued on the said sum at the rate of 16 percent.

In urging the court to dismiss the applicants’ originating motion with substantial cost, it was the submission of the 3rd and 4th respondents that the officers of the EFCC did not act outside the provisions of the EFCC Act, when they investigated the applicants based on the 3rd respondent’s petition dated June 20, 2017, arrested and seized the title deed of the Safetower estate located at Ikate, Lekki Peninsula Scheme.

In its judgment, Justice Muslim Sule Hassan dismissed the originating motion filed by Oloko for being unmeritious.

The judge held that by combined sections 6, 7, 8, 13, 41 and 46, the EFCC is empowered to investigate and person for fraud and did not need a court order to do so.

In dismissing the suit, the court further held that the EFCC was empowered to temporary take over property for investigation, examination and enquiry.

The judge, who had earlier struck out the first applicant (Attorney- General of the Federation), from the suit for not conforming with the rules of court and not disclosing course of action held that there was a petition against the applicants for obtaining money by false pretence.
According to the court, the EFCC acted within its powers and awarded the cost of N20, 000 in favour of each of the respondents.

He also said that the applicants cannot expect a judicial fiat to prevent the EFCC form doing its work neither should they rushed to court to be shielded from criminal investigation

The EFCC is statutorily empowered to conduct criminal investigation against fraud or criminal activities.

Safetower Estate located at Ikate, Lekki, Lagos promoted by Safetrust Mortgage Bank Limited and Macbosh Properties Limited ran into controversy following contractual disagreements between the developers and an investor.

Conceived in 2013 as a 3 blocks high rise building comprising 16 units of 3 bedroom apartments and 2 units of 5-bedroom Pent duplexes, the project was to be delivered within a construction time of 24 months.

The investor, Mr. Kunle Ogunmefun offered to purchase one block of the high-rise buildings for the sum of N710 million, prompting the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014 with the developer with respect to construction and delivery of the property within the stipulated delivering period.

In line with the agreement, he made payments by installments, amounting to a total sum of N550 million.

But the situation changed for the worse leading to the involvement of the EFCC over allegations of criminal intent to defraud leveled against the developers by the investor.

Bertram Nwannekanma

‘Embrace technology for real estate investment’

Stakeholders in the real estate have said professionals should pay more attention to technology to boost investment in the industry.

According to them, the industry in other countries has embraced technology and is gradually phasing out the analogue system.

The stakeholders spoke at the second edition of ‘The Summit 2.0’ organised by the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Lagos State Branch.

The programme, among other things, focused on how technology could help professionals in project finance, facility management, property taxation, mortgage and insurance valuation, agribusiness and Real Estate Investment Trust.

The Chief Executive Officer, Northcourt Real Estate Investment Company, Tayo Odunsi, said technology and real estate had become intertwined, with the advantage of a self-regulated and secure system.

According to him, in some countries, many banks and investors do not engage valuers for residential valuation anymore rather, they engage machines.

“Technology can save costs and increase efficiency, as it can allow for a quick and easy transfer of assets by cutting out intermediaries, who currently hold information that is not shared. It also encourages increased transparency and fraud prevention,” he said.

Odunsi stated that valuers could respond to global best practices in real estate by embracing technology as an enhancer and not a disruptor.

According to him, real estate professionals can enhance their clients’ experience with new reporting formats based on technology, and also reduce timescales through digitalisation.

The Group Managing Director, Alpha Mead Group, Femi Akintunde, said facility management had improved with the application of technology.

Giving an insight into the importance of technology tools in facility management, Akintunde said, “Business technology is the ever-increasing reliance on information technology by businesses of all types to handle and optimise business processes.”

The Chief Executive Officer, Private Property Nigeria, Olurotimi Bajomo, stated that professionals in real estate could employ strategies to ensure zero downtime and service efficiency, especially in facility management.

According to him, this can be done through the engagement of skilled professionals and specialists in providing critical risk management services and maintenance of critical infrastructure and operational systems.

“There should be development of operations and maintenance procedures necessary to maximise reliability and increase life expectancy of facilities and services, as well as shift from the traditional reactive and preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance based on condition-based monitoring,” he added.

The Lead Consultant at Awoyokun Consulting, Nnennaya Awoyokun, also spoke on the need for extensive research by professionals in the built environment.

She stated that research remained a game changer for those aiming to make a difference in their professions.

“Your informed opinion makes you stand out and at the same time opens you up to a different playing field. Information is the foundation of all the services we render. Why not build a strong research base,” she added.

The Chairman, Fairwood Property Development Limited, Stephen Mayaki, stated that estate surveyors were the most qualified professionals to lead and direct the property development process, adding that they should create practices that would endure and outlive them.

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

 

IGP signs pact for construction of estates for police officers

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim K. Idris, has moved to bridge housing deficit among police officers with the signing of an agreement for the provision of housing estates for them.

He said the agreement with EL-Kabir Global Business Nigeria Ltd will bridge nationwide housing deficit for men of the force.

The IG said the firm is to commence the construction of two and three bedroom flats, bungalows for men and officers of the force across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT through the Federal Mortgage Bank.

Also speaking, the Director of the firm, Mohammed Kabiru, said the project would commence in phases with Abuja, Enugu, Kano, Yola, Plateau, Niger, Jigawa, Katsina, Benue, and Ogun states in the first phase.

He commended the Nigeria Police Force, for demonstrating commitment and sustained partnership with the private sector towards full realization of the National Housing Policy which, he said, placed emphasis on private sector driven housing delivery.

Abubakar Sadiq Isah

 

LASG to prosecute Land Use Charge defaulters

The Lagos State Government has revealed plans to prosecute defaulters of the Land Use Charge in the state in its bid to improve compliance.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Taxation and Revenue Matters, Mr Fatai Lasisi, stated this at a programme organised by the Lagos State Branch of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers tagged: ‘The Summit 2.0’.

Lasisi, who was represented by the Head of Legal in his office, Olufemi Sowemimo, said the development became necessary in order to engender a culture of voluntary tax compliance.

“Arguably, the greatest failing of property tax is the unwillingness of the government to enforce it, as we know that we have a lot of high net worth individuals in our society, who have big and gigantic properties but do not pay taxes yet; none of these people has been prosecuted for failing to pay tax. Therefore, we need strong institutional support to improve property tax compliance in the state,” he said.

He added that tax education and enlightenment programmes were also important and that the government was working on enlightening people on the need for tax compliance.

Lasisi stated that under the new property law, individuals did not need to wait for the government to send the LUC to them, but could value their properties using professionals to calculate how much they had to pay.

“Those contesting the assessed value of their property can assess their property for the purpose of filing their own counter assessment, which will then be considered by the Commissioner of Finance. The line the present administration in Lagos State is toeing is to encourage self-assessment for voluntary compliance, which will be of benefit to all in the long run,” he said.

The SA added that the state government had created a complaint unit in the Ministry of Finance to deal with issues and problems relating to the LUC.

According to him, the governor has directed that complaint units be set up in all the local governments and Local Council Development Areas of the state for easy access to the members of the public who have questions on the LUC.

Other complaint centres, he stated, were the LUC Appeal Tribunal, Citizens’ Gate and the toll-free lines.

“Tax and development run hand in hand. It should, therefore, be taken as a sure deal that the more revenue government has access to, the greater the development potential of that state or country. Evidence from the member counties of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development supports the fact that there is a correlation between tax and development,” Lasisi added.

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

 

Court orders Temporary Forfeiture of Dieziani’s N325million Lekki Land to FG

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the temporary forfeiture of a landed property belonging to the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Dieziani Alison Madueke valued at N325.4million, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Justice Babs Kweuwumi who presided over the court, granted the order of temporary forfeiture of the property, a vacant plot of land said to be at Plot 13, Block 11, Oniru Chieftaincy Family Private Estate, Lekki, Lagos after listening to the Motion Ex-parte filed and argued by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, A.B.C. Ozioko.

Other defendants in the suit are, lawyer, Mr Donald Chidi Amangbo and Mez Group Limited.

The EFCC in a motion Ex-parte marked FHC/L/CS/811/18, sought for an interim order of the court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the assets and properties named and described in the schedule to the application which properties and assets are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.

The EFCC in the affidavit is also seeking an order authorising the commission to appoint a competent person (s) or firm to manage the assets named and described in the scheduled to the application.

The EFCC also asked the court for an order directing the applicant to notify the person(s) in whose possession the properties sought to be forfeited to appear before the court and show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

After listening to submission by counsel to EFCC, Justice Kweuwumi granted the application for interim forfeiture of the property to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The judge further ruled that the order must be published in a national newspaper for anybody who have interest in the property sought to be forfeited to come forward and show cause why the property should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Justice Kweuwumi has fixed July 24, to continue the trial

NaijaLive Tv

We’ll Assist FMBN to realise its mandate – AGF

The Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris has pledged the support of the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to assisting the nation’s foremost mortgage finance institution, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, (FMBN) to realise its mandate.

Mr. Idris gave this assurance recently when he received in audience the management team of the bank at the Treasury house in Abuja led by the Managing Director/ Chief Executive, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa.

The nation’s treasury boss, described as gratifying the recent efforts of the bank to deploy ICT in managing its operations especially with regards to its contribution to the National Housing Fund (NHF) which are contributed by public servants across the nation.

“Leveraging on our experiences in the implementation of the nation’s public finance reforms, which has been largely ICT driven and which has been widely acclaimed as successful, we will be ready to provide the needed support and guide in helping you achieve this all important step, which I believe will bring renewed confidence to your customers and contributors” the AGF emphasized.

He further explained that the IPPIS platform on which the payment are carried out is constantly being improved to meet all the staff needs as it captures details of deductions and contributions made on the salary of staff, assuring that the Office will do all it can to assist the mortgage bank ensure transparency in handling the NHF, which is 2.5% of the basic salary of contributors.

“The synergy that has existed between us would be deepened for the mutual benefit in our organisation” the AGF maintained.

Earlier, the Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the FMBN, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa expressed his appreciation to the Account-General of the Federation for what he described as “the smooth operation” of the Treasury Single Account and other reforms being implemented by the Treasury since Mr. Ahmed Idris assumed the saddle of leadership at the Treasury.

He called for more collaboration with the FMBN to enable them succeeds in delivering their mandate.

Sundiatapost

‘Private Sector Participation, Solution To Housing, Infrastructure Challenges’

Chairman, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Mr Olayinka Omotosho has called on the Federal Government to provide the enabling environment for active participation of the private sector in housing and infrastructure delivery.

Omotosho made the call last Monday in Lagos while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of “Construction Summit 2018’’ organised by the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Lagos.

He said the housing and infrastructure problems persisted in Nigeria because there had not been active participation of the private sector.

Omotosho said that government should allow the private sector to drive the housing construction sector for maximum provisions that would curb the nation housing and infrastructure deficit.

According to him, all government needs do is to provide the enabling environment and other necessities that will aid operation of the private operators.

“There are thousands of houses built in major cities of the country they are not affordable to many Nigerians because they are built by profit-oriented private investors.

“Government alone cannot provide the needed houses/infrastructure for the country. It needs full participation of the private sector operators, through a well-programmed Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.

“This implies leaving housing and infrastructure delivery in the hands of the private sector operators, while government provides the necessary conducive environment,’’ Omotosho said.

Omotosho expressed optimism that the active participation of the private sector in housing/infrastructure delivery would have great impact on the country infrastructure situation.

He noted that for the PPP programme to have positive impact in addressing the nation infrastructure needs, government also needed to go beyond provision of land and policy frameworks.

According to him, government needs to grant incentives to private sector developers.

“Examples of such incentives are import duty waivers on building materials, provision of infrastructure and credit facilities through effective mortgage system and tax relief, among others.

He added that introduction of realistic building regulations and the review of restrictive legislation, such as the Land Use Act of 1978, were also some of the factors that could guarantee conducive atmosphere for private sector operation.

The Tide

Delta govt to build 11,500 housing units for residents

Delta state government has entered into partnership with several key players in the housing industry to provide over 11, 500 housing units to Deltans.

Housing commissioner, Arch. Joseph Ajiri Ogeh who disclosed this during a media briefing in Asaba, listed the major players to include LARFARGE (Green house) which is to provide ten thousand housing unit.

Others include Shelter Afrique and the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund for 1,000 and 650 housing units, respectively, the commissioner said.

Other achievements of his ministry, he said, include the execution/ renovation and completion of 154 3-bedroom and four bungalows at N2.9billion, renovation of government quarters for N500million, Head of Service Complex for N577million, and office building for DSIEC for N244.3 million.

Others are remodelling/rehabilitation of governor’s lodge Abuja for N244.2milliom, development of new central secretariat complex Asaba for N13.6b.

Ogeh the construction of new secretariat complex was awarded to North China Nigeria Limited and is expected to be completed in the next two years.

When completed, the complex will house 28 agencies (MDAs). The commissioner said this will help the state government to drastically reduce rent paid for offices.

Alphonsus Agborh

 

Nigerian Low-Cost Mortgage Lender Set for $1.4 Billion Boost

Nigeria’s government plans to inject 500 billion naira ($1.4 billion) into its low-cost mortgage lender over the next five years in an effort to spur home ownership that has failed to take off in Africa’s most-populous nation.

Faced with a housing deficit of 17 million units, Nigeria is seeking to improve access to home loans in an economy that vies with South Africa as the continent’s biggest. A lack of proper land deeds, poverty and record high interest rates means there are only an estimated 50,000 registered mortgages, of which state-owned Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria accounts for 18,200, according to Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Musa Dangiwa.

The lender is seeking to boost its capital from 5 billion naira at a rate of 100 billion naira a year, he said in an interview on June 21 in the capital, Abuja. FMBN is expecting proposals on its recapitalization, as well as a reorganization of its business, to be approved by all arms of government by the end of 2018, Dangiwa said.

The company’s current capital base is “grossly inadequate,” he said. “That’s why we’re in the process of ensuring that the capital base be increased.”

Armed with the extra cash, the lender can go from the 2,500 new mortgages it plans to sign up this year to 100,000 over the next two years, Dangiwa said. The extra capital will also encourage other investors to provide additional funding, he said.

In August, the FMBN will flag off a 1,500 housing project it is providing funding for under a new “rent-to-own” program that Dangiwa says will help creating more mortgages and access to housing.

In South Africa, the continent’s most-industrialized economy with a population of about 55 million, mortgages account for almost 30 percent of total credit, the largest component of banks’ assets, which amounted to about 5.14 trillion rand ($382 billion) at the end of January, according to central bank data. Nigeria has a population of about 200 million.

Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Co., the nation’s state-backed mortgage guarantor, which provides loans to banks, plans to issue 11 billion naira worth of 15-year bonds through multiple sales as part of a five-year 440 billion-naira program, NMRC Chief Executive Officer Charles Inyangete said in a March interview.

Elisha Bala-Gbogbo

Mpape land owners threaten court action over reallocations

Land owners at Mpape 1 Annex in Abuja have threatened action against the Federal Capital Territory Administration over what they call ‘unlawful re-allocation’ of land allocated to them in Mpape District.

In a statement by their counsel, I.M. Gadzama of Silver Shield Chambers, the property owners claim that the FCT Minister, Malam Mohammed Bello had reallocated their lands to mainly members of the National Assembly without prior notification.

“Our clients are the bonafide title owners of the properties situated and lying at Mpape 1 Annex with registered title documents and the properties are at various levels of development duly approved by the minister’s office since 2003.

“Sixteen years thereafter the present minister of FCT in connivance with the National Assembly members and others redesigned substantial part of the Mpape District as Maitama II comprising originally of 1,300 plots into 2,300 plots of same and now reallocated same to themselves,” the statement said.

The statement said the beneficiaries of the ‘unlawful’ allocations were already selling the plots to general public “causing chaos between existing allottees and the subsequent purchasers.”

The property owners rejected reallocation of plots and have called for reversal by the FCTA saying “treat this as our client’s notice of intention to sue in the event of refusal, neglect or any inadvertence.”

Malikatu Umar Shuaibu

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