Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
Over 300 house owners, under the platform of Winning Clause Estate Residents Association, Plot 67 Kafe District, Gwarinpa Extension, Abuja, have requested the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the alleged collection of over N2 billion from them under false pretense.
In a petition addressed to the acting Chairman of the anti-graft commission signed by Mr. Mike Arowosegbe and Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Chairman and General Secretary of the association respectively, and acknowledged by EFCC on February 20, 2017, the house owners requested for thorough investigation of the activities of Winning Clause Limited and its promoters, Mrs. Obiageli Okwubanego, an estate developer, and recovery of the “monies” collected from them “under false pretense.”
According to the petitioners, “We are representatives of the residents and home owners association of the above-named estate located at Plot 67, Kafe District, Gwarinpa Extension, Abuja.
“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.
“A court action was instituted by the claimants and after some pushing and shoving, the parties resolved to enter into a consent judgment in October 2013 and the judgment was delivered by the Abuja High Court number 24 on November 28, 2013.’’
The house owners said with that judgment, 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 judgment, saying to their utmost shock and dismay, another claimant to Winning Clause Limited surfaced in January 2017.
The residents further added that while they were all along trying to cope with ‘’highhandedness’’ of the Managing Director of Winning Clause Limited, Mrs. Oby (Obiageli) Okwubanego, all the while, 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, the petitioners said that contrary to the judgment of the court, the said Okwubanego had imposed series of levies and fees on their 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.
‘’Our members have also paid at least N70 million 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 association added.
Explaining the seeming dirty deals enveloping Winning Clause Limited’s transactions with its members, the petitioners said that their earlier checks at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) had revealed that Okwubanego is not a director of the company and had confronted her with this fact in November 2016 but refused to provide any concrete answers.
The owners of over 300 duplexes in Abuja feared 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 Development Control in 2013, having been instigated by Okwubanego’s famed relationship to ex-Minister Bala Mohammed.
The association accused Mohammed of revoking the allocation of Plot 67, Kafe District, Gwarinpa, their estate, earlier done in 2005 and allotted then to Proform West Africa (which entered into alliance with Saraha Homes) illegally.
According to the petitioners, ‘’Our investigations revealed that the company initially registered its office as Sapele Street, NSPMC Quarters, Garki II, Abuja, (a residential building) and later 6B, Senanga street, Off Accra Street, Wuse Zone 5 (office of its former Lawyer, Barr. PIN Ikwueto, SAN), currently, it has no office in town, except the one it occupies in our estate.
‘’Our members are becoming apprehensive that dealing with a company without a visible office in town and any known address outside the operational office within the Estate could place them in disadvantage. We therefore respectfully ask for your kind protection in this regard.
‘’In the CAC documents, One Mr. Ayah is registered as managing director, now we have Okwubanego and lately, we have been told that Mrs. Safinat Emengo and Mr. Tony Emengo are the Consultants to the Winning Clause and have all the say on issues. Incidentally, this husband and wife were residents in the estate and former executive members of the Residents Association. Mr. Emengo was Pioneer Vice Chairman, while his wife Safinat was Treasurer and Secretary of the Association at different times. Sir, this is disturbing to say the least.
‘’Whereas Sir, the documents submitted to CAC named the trio of Francis Ayah, Mrs. Felicia Owei Phillip and Christopher Ayah as Directors of the Company and Francis D. Ayah (of NSPMC Quarters Garki II) as Managing Director, the person we have seen since 2011 is Mrs. Okwubanego, while thus far, we have not been shown any letter linking her to the company or mandating her to serve.’’
The house owners stated that going by the letter from Mrs. Halimat Abdulazeez, they are worried that Okwubanego might have defrauded them of their hard earned resources through false pretense, while also colluding to keep our estate undeveloped and vulnerable to security risks, requesting EFCC to unravel the true ownership of Winning Clause and retrieve their monies from undue quarters.
The following accounts being operated by Winning Clause Limited: Zenith Bank No. 1013260014; United Bank for Africa No. 1018229182; Heritage Bank No. 5100154481; Heritage Bank N0. 5100211533; Diamond Bank No. 0075600939, and Access Bank No. 0718901620 were said to have been used to collect the monies from the house owners.