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Property: Judge withdraws from developer’s trial amid pressure

Justice Mohammed Idris of the FCT High Court has withdrawn from the alleged fraud brought against a property developer, Cecil Osakwe, citing external pressure. Justice…

Justice Mohammed Idris of the FCT High Court has withdrawn from the alleged fraud brought against a property developer, Cecil Osakwe, citing external pressure.

Justice Idris, on Monday, remitted the case file, which was brought by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, to the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court for advice.

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The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had filed the two-count charges against Osakwe following a petition by Asabe Waziri claiming that his company, Abeh Signature Apartments collected the sum of N130 million without delivering possession to her.

But in a letter to the Malami by counsel to Osakwe, Victor Giwa, the company advised him not to allow his “highly regarded” office to be used to defame his client who is an honest businessman.

Giwa explained that the repossession of the two units of the 2-bedroom apartment at Mekong Close, Maitama, Abuja, priced at N130 million each, totalling N260 million, for which the staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was granted possession after a part payment of N140 million, was due to her “violation of the covenants of the apartment.”

He said, “Based on various breaches and her mode of payment, our client approached Asabe Waziri to terminate the transaction and offered to refund her money, an offer Asabe bluntly refused, prompting our client to approach the FCT High Court.”

A copy of the enrolled order of the FCT High Court presided by Justice Musa Othman showed that the court had on February 17, 2022, upheld Osakwe’s application terminating the contract, refunding and repossessing the apartments in suit no: FCT/BW/CV/2435/2021 that the mode of payments employed for the purchase violated the money laundering laws.

“That in view of the termination of the contract for the purchase of the two flats of Abeh Court by the claimant, the defendant (Waziri) can no longer claim or exercise ownership over the said two flats,” the judge ruled.

“Consequently, the court orders the claimant (Abeh Signatures) to immediately refund the entire monies paid to it by the defendant (Waziri), (including the legal and agency fees) and further orders the defendant to immediately hand over possession of the two flats, being flats 3C and 38 of Abeh Court to the claimant,” he added.