From: James Ojo, Abuja.
Over 300 house owners, who invested in the Winning Clause Estate at Plot 67 Kafe District, Gwarinpa Extension, Abuja, have petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleging that the promoter of the estate, one Mrs. Obiageli Okwubanego, collected over N2 billion from them under false pretense.
The petition, addressed to the Acting chairman of the anti-graft agency, Ibrahim Mag,u and signed by Mr. Mike Arowosegbe and Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Chairman and General Secretary, respectively, requested for thorough investigation of the activities of the estate developer.
Mrs. Okwubanego, however, denied that she collected money under false pretense saying that she was the owner of the estate with document as prove of evidence.
The petitioners traced the genesis of the crisis to year 2009, when they started subscribing to the estate then known as Sahara City Estate.
‘’Between 2009 and 2011, most of us subscribed to an Estate located at Plot 67, Kafe District, Gwarinpa Extension, Abuja, then known as Saraha City Estate and which belonged to Saraha/Proform Limited at the time.
‘’By 2012, when many had completed their buildings and actually stated living in the Houses, another Developer named Winning Clause Limited entered into the fray and claimed it was the rightful owner of the Plot,” they alleged.
The petitioner stated that the matter later became a subject of litigation until the parties resolved to enter into a Consent Judgement in October 2013 and the judgement was delivered by the Abuja High Court number 24 on November 28, 2013.
Through the judgement, EFCC was informed that the said Plot 67, Kafe District was transferred to Winning Clause Limited and their members elected to work with the company in accordance with the Consent Judgement.
According to the petitioners, a new twist was added when another claimant to Winning Clause Limited surfaced in January 2017.
“While we were all trying to cope with ‘’highhandedness’’ of the Managing Director of Winning Clause Limited, Mrs. Oby (Obiageli) Okwubanego, we the house owners were taken aback by the emergence of another claimant to the company, which was awarded the right to Plot 67, Kafe District by the Court.
“Attaching a letter by a counsel to one Mrs. Halimat Abdulazeez, which has effectively placed a caveat on the said Company, Mrs. Okwubanego had imposed series of levies and fees on our members under false pretense and forced them to pay ‘’humongous’’ amounts under threats to life and property.
‘’She had effectively deployed agents of the FCT administration during the tenure of Senator Bala Mohammed, who allocated the plot to her company in March 2011. Right now, the said Mrs. Okwubanego and Winning Clause had through various accounts in at least four banks collected about N1 billion(One billion Naira only) from our members’’, the association alleged.
“Our members have also paid at least N70 million (seventy million Naira) as Infrastructure fees for which the company has refused to give account after failing to undertake the infrastructural development the money was paid for.
‘’Our fear is that besides the said N1billion the company had collected as land charges, the money collected under the guise of infrastructure could go down the drain if the activities of the company are not checked.’’
The petitioners stated that they had gone to check at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and discovered that Mrs. Okwubanego was not a Director of the Company and had confronted her with this fact in November 2016 but refused to provide any concrete answers.
The fear of the petitioners was that they might have paid money to ‘’an imposture under false pretenses’’ but said they could not be blamed as those of them who paid different sums, especially following the demolition of gate houses of most of their homes by officials of Abuja Development Control in 2013.
But Mrs. Okwubanego denied all the allegations saying that she was ready to meet with EFCC operatives whenever she is summoned.
“I have not been invited, anytime they invite me am ready to show that I am the owner of the estate. The estate is mine and I have document to show that it belongs to me,” she said.