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Alleged Property Mortgage: Allegation(s) Against CMB Building Maintenance & Investment Company Limited False, Malicious, Misleading – LAWYER

By Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos

The allegation(s) suggesting that CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Company Limited, fraudulently mortgaged homes belonging to Pearl Nuga Park Estate and Pearl Garden Estate situated at Sangotedo Village in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria, is nothing but false, malicious, and misleading.

CMB in a statement issued through its lawyer, Ifoma Ogoh equally argued that the said allegation(s) are pure campaign of calumny.

It would be recalled that the homeowners of Pearl Nuga Park Estate and Pearl Garden Estate had dragged CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Company Limited to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,  EFCC, alleging fraudulent mortgage of some of their homes to secure bank loans.

Ogoh, responding on behalf of CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Company Limited said, “We are solicitors to CMB Building Maintenance & Investment Co. Ltd. (our Client) on whose behalf we write in respect of the twin malicious advertorials placed in the Guardian   Newspaper   on   the  3rd  of   June,   2019   by   a   group   of  persons   falsely presenting   as   the  management   of   Pearl   Gardens   and  Pearl   Nuga   Park   Estates respectively. 

“Both Estates were developed and are managed by our Client.

“The advertorials were written by faceless groups stated to be ’The Management and Trustees   of  the  Pearl   Gardens   Estate   Homeowners  Community   Association’’   and “Pearl Nuga Park Estate Homeowners and Residents Association.

“Unsubstantiated and reckless statements were made in these advertorials and demonstrate what is patently a campaign of calumny by a minority who are resistant to the structured and well ordered running of the  estate.

“Their mission  is to oust our client from continuing to serve as facility managers of the estates in question; a role that our client has played competently and effectively from inception. 

“They also push their agenda  by  latching   on  to  anything  that will  drive  their faulty  narrative.  

“Reports indicate that this group  of individuals are already embroiled in scandal involving embezzlement   and  misappropriation   of   funds,  indicative  of   the   character   and conduct of those driving this smear campaign.

“Allegations by this faceless group are false and  unsubstantiated. 

“It is instructive that they had approached the courts of Law thrice and each time, the cases were struck  out. 

“The false  allegations in the  advertorials appear  to be  an  attempt to malign   our   client   in   the   court  of   public   opinion   having  constituted  themselves prosecutor and judge, in the absence of a case in the court of law. 

“The false and misleading nature of the advertorials is again evident of another issue - the   abuse   of   court   processes  as   well   as   the   sham   and  completely   malicious execution of a non-existent order.”

Ogoh further stated that, “There is no possession order whatsoever on any of our client’s properties; not on Pearl Nuga Park or any other estates built by our client anywhere in Nigeria. 

“Differences   arise   from   time   to  time   in   the   course   of   business  and  our   client’s customer-client  relationship  with  a   bank   has   no  legal   or   lawful   bearing  on any properties.”

While maintaining that the company's clients have nothing to fear, the lawyer stated that, “The court order referred to in the malicious missive was obtained ex-parte by the bank, without our client’s knowledge or prior notice to our client. 

“As we have discovered, despite  the  court’s refusal   to   grant the  request prayed  by  the   bank,  they   went ahead to carry out an illegal execution of a non-existent order to cause confusion, intimidate residents of Pearl Nuga Park and embarrass our client. 

“Our client   has   been   in   business   for   seventeen   years   and   in   that  time,   has developed   several  residential   estates   across   Nigeria,  some   of   which   are   fully occupied with others in the process of development. 

“With close to 3,000 clients and over 15 estates around Nigeria, six of which are occupied by hundreds of residents and managed successfully without conflict, it is clear   that   our   Client   consistently  provides   quality   service.   

“This   is   because   the people who live in CMB built estates are important to our client who places a high premium on their security, safety and comfort. 

“CMB   Building   Maintenance   and  Investment   Co.   Ltd.   is   committed  to  efficient management   of   the   estates  they   take   responsibility   for   and  works   to   establish competent   and  effective   facility   management.   

“As   with   all   services,   there   are charges for ensuring that these continue to provide sustained value to residents. 

“This   is   part   of   an   integrated,  well-run   framework   to   ensure  competent   and professional facility management that benefits all residents of all CMB-built estates. 

“We are gratified that majority of our client’s residents support order and structure and like our client, believe in constructive dialogue.

“Our client is a law abiding, responsible corporate citizen and member of the society. 

“We   restate   that   the   allegations   in  the   advertorials   are   false,   malicious  and misleading and we will be taking appropriate steps to defend our client’s position and reputation built painstakingly over 17 years.”

Meanwhile, in the separate petitions dated May 28, 2019 and addressed to the Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Ibrahim Magu, the executive members of both estates who signed the petitions, alleged that the real estate firm and its Managing Director, Kelechukwu Mbagwu,  had engaged in criminal breach of trust,  unlawful enrichment and conversion of their properties. 

The petitioners insisted that CMB obtained what they termed a  ‘mortgage’ from Wema Bank Plc using the affected homes at Pearl Nuga Estate as collateral without the knowledge or consent of the affected homeowners of the properties.

According to them (the petitioners), "The affected homeowners had paid CMB for those houses to be built and had taken possession of their houses from CMB at different times. 

"CMB and Mbagwu fraudulently withheld the title deeds of the houses from the affected homeowners as it withheld those of several other homeowners within the estate."

The petitioners had equally revealed that the bank had began what they termed a recovery of the six houses within the estate through a law firm, Jirey & Greys, consequent upon the failure of the property developer to repay the loan. 

In the same vein, Pearl Garden Estate had equally pointed accusing fingers at CMB of allegedly making use of four of their members who had already paid in full to fraudulently obtain a N10 million loan from Diamond Bank (now Access Bank).

They (petitioners) had posited that, “We have no other choice but to believe that other houses of our members and homeowners within the estates may be the subject of similar fraudulent mortgages .

"We ask you to investigate this criminal and wanton fraud on our hardworking members and their families.

"We humbly request that you use your good office to thoroughly investigate this fraudulent  act, hold the CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Company Limited and Mbagwu accountable for the fraud, and prevent the loss of the homes of these rightful homeowners and other affected homeowners, which may not be known at this time."

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