Firm Petitions Police Over Alleged Stealing of Title Document
Men of the Nigeria Police, Ogun State Command, have been asked to investigate alleged stealing, concealing and obtained by false pretence of an original Deed of Sub-lease document belonging to a limited company, Jimioil Nigeria Limited.
The petitioning firm is also pleaded with the police to ensure that the perpetrator of the alleged criminal acts is brought to book and punished according to the law.
The above are contained in a petition dated March 7, 2020, to the Sagamu Area Command, by Barrister Babatunde Oshilaja, counsel to Jimioil Nigeria Limited, against one Michael Babatunde Bello and his company, Olaoluwa Nigeria Limited
In the petition, Jimioil Nigeria Limited, through its counsel, stated that its Original Deed of Sub-Lease, which is the basis and subject of the petition is just one of many such title documents to parcels of land held/owned by it, that have gone missing since the death of Otunba Gilbert Olufadejimi Osiname, its Chairman/Chief Executive, who retained and had in his custody, possession and control of these title documents personally up until the time of his death on May 26, 2003.
Osinlaja stated that sometimes in May 2003, the Company experienced the loss of many of its title documents including the one on landed property at Ijora Foreshore, Ijora, Apapa, Lagos State, and reported the missing document to the Divisional Police Officer, Nigeria Police, Divisional Headquarters, lsara-Remo, Ogun State on June 15, 2006, with a Sworn Declaration by its Shareholder/Director, Chief Mrs. Christiana Molaye Osiname at the High Court, Registry Sagamu dated June 15, 2006; while also published the Loss of Deed in page 44 of the Guardian Newspaper of Monday June 12, 2006.
The lawyer stated further that subsequently to the above, Mr. Kayode Omotosho, a lawyer in his letter dated April 16, 2008, admitted that the missing Original Deed in respect of the ljora, Lagos property had been in custody of Mr. Kayode Osiname.
Barrister Oshilaja further stated that on Jay 29, 2009, he received written instruction from the Company to take up any matter that may arise in connection with the Company in respect of its landed along Benin/Sagamu Express Road at Sagamu International Market Junction, opposite Ojajimi Petrol Station. And that in the course of his inquiries on the said particular Company’s landed property at Sagamu, he discovered and suspected that series of crimes have been committed by Mr. Micheal Babatunde Bello with regard to Jimioii’s Original Deed of Sub-Lease as contained in the caption of this Petition as alleged that requires Police investigation, and Prosecution if and when there is evidence as proof of commission of any of the crimes alleged against the suspect Mr. Micheal Babatunde Bello.
With regard to the suspicion of stealing, receiving stolen Original title Deed of SubLease of Jimioil Limited, Mr. Micheal Babatunde Bello on October 8, 2018, at the High Court Registry, Sagamu in Suit No. HCS/77/2016 between Jimioil Ltd. Vs. Mrs. O.E. Osiname Oke Kunle and 3 others swore on Oath, which he swore and deposed to in that High Court case admitted in writing the commission of the alleged crimes with his company aforesaid.
Jimioil Nigeria Limited’s lawyer stated that since ignorance of the law is not an excuse, the alleged Deed of Assignment between Jimioil Ltd. and M. Ola Oluwa Nigeria Limited, which was alleged as evidence of purchase/transfer is not registered at the Lands Registry, Abeokuta and it is invalid in law to effect any transfer of the interest in the Sub-Lease of Jimioil Limited
The lawyer further stated that there was no direct payment of any amount or the alleged N1.5 million, purchaser price to Jimioil Limited or its Bank Account since July 2008. Adding that the price N1.5 million allegedly paid was so very low for the entire/total 7784.00 square metres of land compared to the open market price which an honest seller (Jimioil Nigeria Limited) possessed of the Original Deed of SubLease would expect to obtain for it as to suggest by itself that the N15 million is the price of a stolen property.
He also aimed that there was no valid, legal Power of Attorney from Jimioil Nigeria Limited empowering any of its directors to sell or transfer its landed property involved in this Petition. There is no written record, letter/communication from/to Jimioil Nigeria Limited, regarding alleged sale/transfer of the landed property involved in the Original Deed of Sub-Lease in this petition. And that the thumbprint of his client, Chief Mrs. Christiana Molaye Osiname was forged.
The lawyer also stated that there was neither request not complaint from M. Ola-Oluwa Nigeria Limited to Jimioil Nigeria Limited to apply to the Governor of Ogun State for consent to effect/normalize alleged transfer/sale of land to alleged Purchaser since 2008.
He stated that Mr. MB Bello and his company, M. Ola-Oluwa Nigeria Limited had the intention manifested in the sworn statement on oath, of depriving Jimioil Nigeria Limited, the owner of the possession of its original Deed of Sublease. And that the intention to deprive Jimioil Nigeria Limited of the original of its Deed of Sublease was formed at the time in July 2008 when Mr. MB. Bello and his company took the original Deed of Sublease and assisted in the criminal disposal of same.
Osinlaja stated further that upon discovery of alleged criminal acts, he discussed same with the then Solicitor to Mr. Bello, who wrote him a letter dated May 31, 2017, seeking amicable settlement of the matter. He however, stated that Bello’s Solicitor was later debriefed terminating the amicable settlement plan.
In the light of all the above, the lawyer urged the police to carry out thorough forensic investigations of all the alleged crimes each and all and against all the suspects known/unknown, identify the witness as and ascertain the salient facts and evidentiary materials possible including Forensic Science laboratory tests/analysis for comprehensive scientific examination of alleged thumb-print of Chief (Mrs) Christiana Molaye Osiname, to authentic thumb print of Jimioil Ltd. company documents
The lawyer also urged the police to draft and prefer criminal charges where there are compelling evidences to ground proof beyond reasonable doubt to obtain conviction at trial after criminal prosecution. And to retrieve the Original Deed of Sub-Lease from whoever has possession of same and restore same to Jimioil Limited, the rightful owner.
In his response to the allegations, Mr. Babatunde Michael Bello, the Managing Director of Olaoluwa Nigeria Limited; in a counter petition to Ogun State Police Commissioner, accused the Sagamu Area Command of being meddler interloper and unlawful interference in a matter that is already before the Court.
Bello’s lawyer, Uthman Adeniyi in the counter-petition captioned “unlawful interference in judicial process in suit no HCS/77/16 and harassment of Mr. Michael Babatunde Bello and the managing director of the 5th defendant in the suit” dated March 19, 2020, while denying all the allegations contained in the petition against him, stated that the petitioner, Mrs. Christiana Molaye Osiname was involved in all the transaction and cannot prove forgery allegation.
Bello, who consistently maintained his innocence on the all allegations, also accused the Sagamu Area Command of taking sides, by mounting pressure on him to produce documents that is already with the court.
He therefore counselled the men of Nigeria Police, to Ogun State Command, to avoid been in collusion with the court. While also threatened to file an application joining both the Ogun State Police and Sagamu Area Commands in the suit, to forestall further interference.
Parts of Bello’s counter–petition reads: “by a Writ of Summons dated the 23rd of March 2016, one Mrs. Olubusola Ebunoluwa Osiname Okekunle commenced an action against Mr. M. Olaoluwa & Ors, claiming as follows: “(a) The sum of N250,000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) being general damages for the trespass committed by the defendant on the land in dispute; (b) an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants, or their agents, servants and privies from committing further act of trespass on the land in dispute.
“By its defence dated 23rd of June 2016, the 1st Defendant denied the Claimant’s claims and copiously pleaded how he came to be in possession of the property.By an application dated the 23rd of June 2016, Jimi Oil Limited now called the 4th Defendant/Counter Claimant was joined by the Court on the 16th day of February 2017, Jimi Oil Limited now the 5th Defendant filed a Counter-Claim against Mrs. Olubusola Ebunoluwa Osiname Okekunle, Mr. M Olaoluwa & 2Ors.
“On the 25th of September, 2019, we moved the Court to strike out the claims against the Defendant which was granted and the 2nd Defendant was given time to file a defence to Jimi Oil Limited’s Counter-Claim. In the 2nd Defendant’s defence to the Counter-Claim, the 2nd Defendant copiously pleaded how it acquired the property in dispute.
“In it reply, Jimi Oil Limited did not allege forgery but denied that one of its Directors, Chief (Mrs) Christiana Molaye Osiname was involved in the transaction, of course it cannot prove forgery. Surprisingly, Mr. Michael Babatunde Bello, the Managing Director of M. Olaoluwa Nigeria Limited was invited by the Police at the Shagamu Area Command on Wednesday the 18th of March 2020.
“He was asked to make a statement in respect of forgery of the Deed of Assignment but he rightly insisted that his Solicitors must be in attendance. This was based on a complaint by Jimi Oil Limited, a Party in the suit referred to above.
“On Thursday 19th of March 2020, our Principal Partner and Mr. Oluwatobi Ogunjimi, a Solicitor in our office accompanied Mr. Michael Babatunde Bello to the Area Command, where the I.P.O demanded for the documents related to the purchase of the disputed property which is the subject matter in Suit No. HCS/77/16, Our Mr. Uthman provided copies of the documents in our possession but the I.P.O insisted on having the original copies.
“We are asking that that Police should stay clear of this matter since all Parties have submitted to the jurisdiction of a competent Court. More suspiciously is the insistence of the I.P.O to have our Client bring the original documents that he had pleaded and filed in Court. These documents are now public documents and the I.P.O can simply ask for the Certified Copies instead of insisting on the originals in possession of our Client. All the documents he required for his so called investigation are already before the Shagamu High Court in suit number HCS/77/16.
“We also view with suspicion the insistence by the I.P.O for our Client to produce one of its witnesses who will give evidence for its in Court.
“We wish to note that what the Police is now doing is constituting a Court of its own after Parties have submitted to the jurisdiction of a competent Court. We opine that the Nigeria Police CANNOT compete with a Court of competent jurisdiction.
“We ask humbly that you prevent a collision between the Court and the Police. We must reiterate that we are filing an application in Court to join the State Command and the Shagamu Area Command to stop this unnecessary interference in the judicial process that is ongoing between the Parties”.