•‘Our father was dead at the time of purported deal
•We’ve filed processes in court, says bank’s lawyer
By Henry Umahi
Is it possible for a dead man to stand as guarantor for someone seeking a loan facility from a bank? Could it be a case of mistaken identity? Or is it just that someone is feeding fat on the dead or playing smart by using a dead man’s particulars for fraudulent activities?
While the bank has seized a property, saying that the owner used it to facilitate an overdraft facility, the children of the property owner insist that their father was dead and buried as at the time of the purported transaction.
The late Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike family of Ikate, Surulere, Lagos will not forget November 2, 2016 in a hurry. That day, the family was rendered homeless following an order of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos. A representative of the family, Mr. Adebayo Abimbola Sonaike, told the reporter: “Trouble started on that fateful day when I was out of the house and all of a sudden I started receiving frantic telephone calls from people in my neighbourhood and tenants in the house, saying that our premises had been invaded by armed men.”
So, when he returned home, he got the shock of his life. It was gathered that the court granted Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) the authority to take over the family property at No 2 Ahme Street, Ikate, Surulere because the patriarch of the family, Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike allegedly stood as guarantor to a debtor of the bank.
But the puzzle is that the family is claiming that their father could not have been a party to the transaction, as he was already dead and buried before the application for the N25 million overdraft facility was submitted to GTBank for consideration. If that is the case, could it be that the bank did business with a ghost?
But the bank also has documents backing its transaction with the ‘dead’ man.
In a petition to the Director, Consumer Protection Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Adedayo Sonaike said: “On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, armed soldiers, policemen, court bailiffs and several other persons acting as agents of GTBank Plc stormed our residential premises at 2, Ahme Street, Ikate, Surulere, Lagos to enforce an interim court order from the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos. The order granted GTBank and its appointed Receiver/Manager the authority to take over our property pending the hearing and determination of the originating summons. As a consequence of this development, the agents of GTBank forced themselves into our premises and evicted all occupants immediately under duress.”
Maintaining, “hitherto this action, we had no contact whatsoever with GTBank Plc,” the petition dated November 10, 2016 further said: “From the originating summons served on us on November 2, 2016, it was deducted as follows: That one Mrs. Adebayo Ajibola (trading under the name and style of Ajibson Nigeria Enterprises applied to GTBank, Sagamu branch on March 10, 2011 for an overdraft facility of
N25 million. On May 3, 2011, GTBank offered Ajibson Nigeria Enterprises an overdraft facility of N25million for a period of 12 months.
“The agreed security arrangements for the facility were: (a) A tripartite legal mortgage over a landed property belonging to Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike, the father of the MD/CEO of the company (borrower) located at 16, Bishop Street, off Agege Motor Road, Surulere, Lagos valued at N62 million (open market value) and N45.5 (F.S.V) Boye Komolafe. (b) Personal guarantee of the company’s MD/CEO, Mrs. Adebayo Ajibola for the full amount and interest accrued thereon.
Subsequently, the facility was accepted by Mrs. Adebayo Omowunmi A., the MD/CEO of Ajibson Nigeria Enterprises on May 18, 2011.
“Surprisingly, when the tripartite legal mortgage among GTBank, Mrs. Adebayo Ajibola and Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike was executed in 2012, the property attached was no longer 16, Bishop Street, off Agege Motor Road, Surulere, Lagos State offered on record to GTBank by Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike as per the latter’s letter (presumably wrongly dated) May 4, 2010 but No. 90, Obele Odan area, Surulere now 2, Ahme Street, Ikate-Suruere, Lagos State.
“From August 10, 2011 to October 4, 2012, GTBank actively advanced credits to Ajibson Nigeria Enterprises vide direct payments to Dangote Cement Plc for the supply of goods to Ajibson Nigeria Enterprises.”
Other particulars of the petition, which was supported with relevant documents, include: “The Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike who was the owner of the property at 2, Ahme Street, Ikate, Suruere, Lagos State was my father. He died on January 3, 2011 (aged 91 years 11 months and 28 days) and was buried on January 21, 2011.
“My father, Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike was already dead and buried by
March 10, 2011 when Ajibson Nigeria Enterprises’ application for N25 million overdraft facility was submitted to GTBank for consideration.
Consequently, he was not a party to the transaction and was not privy to all other related actions undertaken by Ajibson Nigeria Enterprises and GTBank Plc.
“The property specifically offered to GTBank by the Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike (known to Ajibson Nigeria Enterprises and GTBank Plc) is 16, Bishop Street, off Agege Motor Road, Suruere, Lagos state and not 2, Ahme Street, Ikate-Surulere, Lagos State.
“Nowhere in all the documentary evidence tendered by GTBank was 2, Ahme Street, Ikate-Surulere offered as a substitute for 16, Bishop Street, off Agege Motor Road, Surulere, Lagos State.
“From March 2011 to June 2013, GTBank provided evidence of its relationship with the Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike of 16, Bishop Street, off Agege Motor Road, Surulere, Lagos State. Interestingly, GTBank was also in contact with Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike at 16, Bishop Street off Agege Motor Road Surulere, Lagos State in June 2013 to intimate him with the status of Ajibson Nigeria Enterprises’ account and its preparedness to commence recovery action.
“It is pertinent to re-emphasis that my father, Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike of 2, Ahme Street, Ikate-Surulere, Lagos State died on January 3, 2011 and was buried on January 21, 2011 long before March 2011 to June 20 13 referred to above. The signature of the Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike known to Ajibson Nigeria Enterprises and GTBank during the documentation for the overdraft facility bears no resemblance to that of my father during his lifetime. For over 60 (sixty) years, my father maintained a single banking relationship with only Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, first at Obun Eko branch, Lagos Island and later at Lawanson branch.
“GTBank Plc instituted the court action that led to the seizure of 2, Ahme Street, Ikate-Surulere, Lagos State on October 17, 2016, which is five years, 9 months and 14 days after the demise of my father who was never a party (in any form) to the transaction under review.
“On behalf of myself and all members of the family of late Emmanuel Kalejaiye Sonaike of 2, Ahme Street, Ikate – Surulere, I hereby appeal for your urgent intervention in this matter from, a banking regulator’s viewpoint in order to establish the truth of this matter.”
Court will decide
Reacting to the claim by the Osonaike family that their father had died at the time of the said transaction, GTB’s lawyer, Mr. Temilola Adamolekun said: “That’s what they are saying. The matter is in court. Our reactions are in court. We have filed processes in court.”