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Who is behind Paradise Estate, Abuja?

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Continuation of  https://www.societyreporters.com/richard-nyongs-lekki-gardens-linked-to-n9-9m-fraud-allegation-in-estate-deal/

 

The Paradise Estate, Abuja, is a brainchild of the Lekki Gardens, a frontline real estate firm based in Lagos, Nigeria.

In August 2015, when it berthed in Abuja, the vision was to deliver about 100, 000 housing units by 2018 and one million by 2023. It is not certain if this goal has been achieved.

The LinkedIn Page of Blessing Nyong-Essien shows that she is the MD of the Paradise Estate. owned by Life Camp Paradise Estate. She is also a signatory to the company’s account.

An attempt to establish the actual owners and shareholders of the Life Camp Paradise Estate, showed that the company has been inconsistent with its name.

For instance, the name found on Aishat’s payment document – The Life Camp Paradise Limited – was different from the name – The Paradise Abuja found on the letterhead containing the official allocation of a unit of the three-bedroom duplex to the complainant.

The name, Paradise Estate Limited, was subjected to public search and it showed a firm registered at 15, Erie Street, Off Sakonba road, Benin City, on June 26, 2002, with registration number 455426. It has only two directors, Arigbe Ebuwa and Ibude Osazee.

A similar search was conducted on The Life Camp Paradise Limited. The findings showed it was registered on May 6, 2016, with two persons – Imeh Christiana Amida and Stella-Marie Omogbai – as directors of the company as well as the shareholders.

Amida, in 2015, as the Chief Operating Officer of Lekki Gardens announced the launch of the Paradise Estate located in Abuja.

She said, “The Paradise is a new lifestyle community conceived to provide Abuja’s growing upwardly mobile middle class the rare privilege of owning choice homes at extremely low prices just like we have done in Lagos and Port Harcourt.

Amida further explained that the new project was necessitated by the demand for the Lekki Gardens debut project – Games Paradise –, which sold out barely one month after it was launched, The Guardian reported.

Findings based on information gathered from multiple sources showed the Lekki Gardens Estate Limited referenced by Amida is owned by multiple directors – which includes Richard Nyong, Olusola Nyong, Hon. Gbenga O., Engr. Kemi A. and Christiana Amida M.

Richard in an interview with City People, a lifestyle platform was described as “the chairman of The Paradise, Abuja”.

Nyong-Essien manages the Paradise Estate introduced in Abuja in 2015 and there is a likelihood that the three persons are related based on our findings.

Richard is linked to five other firms – Lekki Springs Limited, Get Too Rich Investment Limited, Lekki Gardens Facility Management Limited, Lekki Gardens Emporium Limited, and Lekki Gardens Horizons Limited.

His fellow director, Olusola, has interests in about seven others. They include Get Too Rich Investment Limited, Lekki Gardens Facility Management Limited, Lekki Gardens Emporium Limited, Lekki Gardens Horizons Limited, Lekki Palms Limited, Lekki Springs Limited, Lekki Gardens Horizon Limited, and Lekki Gardens Estate limited.

Paradise Estate firm reacts

When contacted, Paradise Estate’s client service officer, who had done repeated mail exchanges with the aggrieved couple, Eniola Olaoye, did not respond to calls and a text message sent to her phone number.

Nyong-Essien, the authorised signatory in the entire deal, neither answered nor returned calls. This reporter further sent a text message but there was no response.

When a call was put through to her second line, a lady identified as Tosin answered but terminated it when she heard the questions. This reporter later called back but she advised The ICIR to visit the office.

Tosin, who later introduced herself as a personal assistant to Nyong-Essien, was asked to book an appointment since her MD had gone incommunicado. She was briefed about the purpose of the meeting, including the allegation that the firm was fraudulent. But she has not responded to date.

Meanwhile, Aisha Ahmed, the account officer that earlier introduced Aishat Balogun to the Paradise Estate, simply attributed the situation to ‘force majeure.’

Force majeure in business is a situation where a force of nature or unforeseen circumstances prevent someone or a party from fulfilling his or her part of an agreement. It is usually a clause mostly embedded in contract agreements.

“Her house is ready,” Ahmed stated when asked when the property would be handed over.

“It is just for them to work on the infrastructure. In fact, an email has been sent to her and other affected persons.”

This reporter reminded her that despite repeated emails previously sent to the subscribers including Balogun, the company still reneged on its agreements.

She was also reminded of the need to provide a more specific date this time. But she placed the call on hold and never picked up until the reporter terminated it. Subsequent calls were ignored.

Aisosa S. Sunny-Ekos is the head of Legal Services Department in Lekki Gardens. His official email is aisosa@lekkigardens.com. He also spoke officially with respect to the controversial property meant to be delivered by the Paradise Estate, Abuja. He also faulted Ahmed’s earlier claim of force majeure when The ICIR spoke with him on a phone call on Wednesday, March 17.

“That is not true,” he said.

Meanwhile, earlier, on Thursday On March 11, 2021, the lawyer replied to the email trail reaffirming the organisation’s commitment to delivering the building through his official email aisosa@lekkigardens.com.

“Yes, I am in copy of the email trail and I believe that the commitment of our client’s service team shall be duly complied with,” he wrote in part.

“We appreciate your patience thus far in this transaction and yet appeal for some more patience to enable us to conclude on the pending infrastructure works.”

But more than a year after the response, the aggrieved couple was yet to get their building delivered.

The email trail links Paradise Estate to Lekki Gardens – much like it is being fully managed by Lekki Gardens company.

Aishat Balogun also confirmed to this newspaper about a meeting held with Nyong-Essien in October 2019.

“I met with Richard personally at Karimo Estate close to ours and, he assured me Blessing (Nyong-Essien) was capable,” she added.

He confirmed the deal, describing it as a peculiar case. But, he would not provide further detailed information.

“I am conversant with her transaction. The letter from her lawyer is currently on my table. She subscribed for a three-bedroom,” he told this reporter, but he could not still establish exactly when the house would be delivered. This was after about one hour of back and forth conversation in an attempt to verify the claims and exact owners of the firm.

Finally, on Saturday, March 19, the complainant reached out to The ICIR to announce the estate had eventually agreed to refund the money (N9.9 million paid for the structure). But this time, the firm contacted the husband, Zakari.

The email, with the subject ’90 days paradise refund’ had an attachment of a refund application form.

The form’s content read with five conditions, among which was that the “refund repayment timeline is over a 90-day period.” Besides, it added, “interest is not payable on a refund.”

But the family kicked. “It’s so unfair collecting N9.9m after 40 months,” Balogun frowned.

“I want a property or the current value of the said property as of today. That is our position.”

(The ICIR)

Also, the provisional allocation signed by Nyong-Essien and Motunrayo Oloruntoba was on behalf of Paradise Estate Limited, this is also a different name from that of the letterhead.

Society

Between Gov. Hope Uzodimma And Imo Hoteliers…….

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Governor Hope Uzodimma has prevented the proposed strike by the Imo Hoteliers Association.

The strike was scheduled to commence on Tuesday but the Chairman of the association, Mr. Chima Chukwunyere announced in Owerri that the strike has been suspended.

Chukwunyere said that the proposed strike was suspended after due consultations with Gov. Uzodimma.

According to him, Uzodimma promised to personally intervene to solve all the outstanding issues raised by the association.

“The governor condemned the actions of sealing and looting of the hotels illegally and directed that no ministry should use consultants in revenue collection.

” He promised to convene a meeting of the executives of the Imo Internal Revenue Service and those of the Nigeria Hotel Association, Imo chapter, to harmonize the demand notice issued to the hoteliers.“

Chukwunyere said that the governor also advised members to pay taxes to enable the Imo government to function and serve the state better.

The association on Sept. 10 threatened to embark on strike over alleged multiple taxations, illegal sealing of hotels, and unprofessional conduct of revenue collectors.

 

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Despite his “expulsion”, ADC presidential candidate, Kachikwu, makes INEC list

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Mr Kachikwu was expelled from the party last Friday by the Ralph Nwosu-led NWC.

The embattled presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dumebi Kachikwu, has been named among candidates validly nominated by political parties for the 2023 presidential election despite his “expulsion” from the party.

Mr Kachikwu was among the 18 presidential candidates approved by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday.

The Ralph Nwosu-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party announced the expulsion of Mr Kachikwu from the party last Friday for alleged anti-party activities.

He was expelled along with seven other key party leaders following the recommendation of a seven-member disciplinary committee earlier set up by the ADC NWC. The NWC had earlier on 2 September placed the presidential candidate on suspension.

Mr Nwosu, in a statement issued late Friday, said the disciplinary committee found Mr Kachikwu guilty of allegations of gross misconduct, and gross violations of its constitution, among others.

But in its reaction the following day, the interim leadership of the ADC dismissed Mr Kachikwu’s purported expulsion.

The interim National Chairman of the Party, Patricia Akwashiki, in a statement, described the action of the erstwhile chairman, Mr Nwosu, as the antics of a sinking man clutching at straws.

The crisis rocking the ADC has its genesis in the call for the resignation of the national chairman by 27 state chairmen of the party, having spent 17 years in the office.

At the time of filing this report, we could not confirm if the party’s leadership had made formal or legal requests to the commission to remove the candidate from the list.

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Stella Obasanjo’s brother, John Abebe, arraigned for fraud

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Dr. John Abebe, the younger brother of a former First Lady, Stella Obasanjo, was on Monday arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday before the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja over allegations of fraud.

Abebe was arraigned alongside a former Head of Firstbank Plc, United Kingdom Correspondent Office, Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, before Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe on six charges of conspiracy, stealing, and obtaining money under pretence.

Part of the counts against the defendants read: “That you, Dr. John Abebe and Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, on or about the 4th day of June 2013 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; stealing the sum of N120 million worth of property of Arsenal Technologies Limited.”

“That you, Dr. John Abebe and Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, on or about the 4th day of June 2013, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; obtaining by false pretence the sum of N120 million property of Arsenal Technologies Limited under the pretence that your property lying being and situate at 9, Magbon Close, Ikoyi-Lagos State, which you pledged as the security to the Arsenal Technologies Limited was unencumbered, which representation you knew to be false.”

“That you Dr. John Abebe and Inducon Nigeria Limited, on or about the 4th day of June 2013, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud and to gain for yourself the sum of $1,000,000.00 or its Naira equivalent from Arsenal Technologies Limited by false pretence to procure the execution of valuable security to wit; a deed of assignment between Inducon Nigeria Limited and Arsenal Technologies Limited, wherein you falsely claimed that the property lying being and situate at No. 9, Magbon Close, Ikoyi-Lagos was unencumbered and that you have full powers to assign and transfer the said property to the assignor; Arsenal Technologies Limited.

According to EFCC, the offences committed are contrary to Sections 280(1), (12), 8 (7), 285(1) and 278(1)(b) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Following their plea, the prosecutor, Sulaimon urged the court to fix a trial date and to remand the defendants in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services until the hearing and determination of the charge.

However, the defense counsel, Anthony Popo and Sam Etaifo urged the court to grant their clients bail in the most liberal terms.

While moving the bail application on behalf of Abebe, Popo told the judge that the matter before her is a commercial transaction between the first defendant and the nominal complainant, which he is ready to settle out of court.

He also claimed that Abebe had paid back the sums of $100,000 and N30 million to the complainant and had also deposited the title document of 26 acres of land and the documents of a property in London to show his seriousness to resolve the matter.

The lawyer further submitted that the defendant would not jump bail since he never violated the terms of the administrative bail granted to him by the EFCC.

The prosecutor did not oppose the application but urged the court to impose stringent terms that will ensure the defendant’s appearance in court for their trial.

In her ruling, Justice Abike-Fadipe granted the first defendant bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum.

She directed that the surety must be a resident of Lagos and must deposit the title document of a land property whose value must not be less than N20m

The judge also admitted the second defendant to bail in the sum of N10m with one surety in like sum, who must be a resident of the state.

Justice Abike-Fadipe further ordered that the defendant shall continue to enjoy the administrative bail earlier granted to them by the EFCC but if they failed after seven days to perfect the terms of the bail she granted them, they shall be arrested and remanded in prison.

She adjourned the case to December 6 for commencement of trial.

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