The Ooni of Ife, Yoruba’s foremost conventional ruler, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, is presently embroiled in an actual property mega fraud after a few of his firms allotted flats and land that existed solely on paper to a whole lot of buyers.
Other than the revelation that a whole lot of buyers have been by no means refunded after a number of years, the housing scheme, Gran Imperio Group’s multi-million-naira Important Properties, has been described by many as the most important fraud seen but in Nigeria’s actual property historical past.
In keeping with a report by the Basis for Investigative Journalism, Oba Ogunwusi and his firms have swindled a number of housing buyers and patrons to the tune of a whole lot of thousands and thousands of naira, because the king gave the impression to be above the regulation.
In October 2014, Mrs Offiong (not actual title) acquired some paperwork from Metropole Interproject Restricted introducing the sale of a “one unit of three-bedroom nook piece bungalow condominium at South Pointe II Property” at Ajah, Lagos, for N17,967,000 million. She was instructed to pay 50 % of the associated fee if she accepted the provide.
Retiring on the prime cadre within the civil service after 30 years, she didn’t hesitate to take a position her gratuity as a result of the supposed property was in a main location: the constructing’s specs and the property’s services as said within the contract seemed prime notch; the supply date was lower than a yr away in August 2015.
Shortly after paying the preliminary deposit of N8,983,500 million to Metropole Interproject Restricted, a receipt bearing the title of its dad or mum firm, Gran Imperio Group, was issued to Mrs Offiong. On a scheduled go to to the positioning, Gran Imperio Group took subscribers to South Pointe I, as a substitute of South Pointe II.
“They instructed us that South Level II was not prepared but, so that they took us to South Pointe I to point out us what two would appear like when it was prepared,” stated Mrs Offiong’s son, James (not actual title), who went along with his mom to the positioning. “There was a little bit of confusion that day. We suspected that one thing was not proper however we calmed down once they instructed us about one other property that may be accomplished earlier than South Pointe II.”
In a letter to subscribers in February 2015, Adiukwu Kechi, an official of the corporate, notified subscribers of the necessity to pay their subsequent instalment. To get them to decide to finishing their funds, though no land was proven to subscribers in the course of the website go to, Kechi added: “We’ve been magnanimous to maneuver you to a website that’s beside South Pointe II and will likely be accomplished sooner than South Pointe II too, which is Golden Leaf Property, and a last allocation will likely be issued too.”
On the day Mrs Offiong made the ultimate deposit of N8,983,500 million, she acquired a letter from one other employees member of Metropole Restricted, Nnamdi Ukpabi, notifying her of the allotment of ‘Block F Unit 1’.
However on the supply date of August 2015, Mrs Offiong and a whole lot of different subscribers discovered that what they’d have been buildings and land on paper; they’d been defrauded by firms headed on the time by Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, a person later topped the Ooni of Ife in December of the identical yr.
Many buyers, citing concern of backlash from the monarch, declined to go on document, however they accused the corporate of defrauding them.
FIJ managed to trace 5 individuals who agreed to offer paperwork and correspondences with the businesses’ officers on the situation that their identities weren’t revealed. Visits to the areas of the supposed estates, revealed that the property schemes by no means materialised.
Gran Imperio Group’s subsidiary firms, together with Howard Roark Restricted and Metropole Interproject Restricted, have been concerned in ‘Important Properties’, an formidable scheme to construct and ship 1,000 inexpensive bungalow homes to center and low revenue earners by the top of 2015.
Launched in 2014, six estates — Lakeview Park I and II; Mid-Land Court docket; South Pointe I, II; Golden Leaf Property; Y’whats up Property — have been reportedly created by the corporate.
FIJ’s verify on the Company Affairs Fee (CAC) portal of actual property firms with hyperlinks to Ooni Ogunwusi revealed that Gran Imperior Group of Corporations was registered in November 14, 2013, whereas Howard Roark Restricted was registered in 2008. They’ve inactive standing on the portal, which presumably signifies that they’d not filed tax paperwork in a very long time. Metropole Interproject Restricted didn’t seem on the CAC portal.
Investigations by FIJ confirmed that Ogunwusi and 13 others are administrators of Gran Imperio Group of Corporations. The Ooni of Ife additionally sits as director on the board of Howard Roark Restricted.
In 2015, Ogunwusi had said that Golden Leaf Property, a 380-unit condominium developed in collaboration with the British American Tobacco Firm (BATC), was present process building and could be delivered in a yr.
Subscribers have been required to make an preliminary deposit of 30 % of the provide value, 40 % at roofing stage and 30 % upon completion. Six years later, a whole lot of subscribers neither bought flats nor refunds.
Mr Jonathan Abu (not actual title) was one among them. He initially subscribed to South Pointe Two however agreed to be moved to Golden Leaf Property due to the ‘boys quarters’ hooked up to the bungalow and its proximity to his work place on the Island.
After he made the primary deposit of N6,139,800 in March 2015, nothing occurred on the land and he by no means heard from Metropole Interproject Restricted till August 2016, practically a yr and a half after. In a letter signed by two administrators of the corporate, Taiwo Akintayo and Isaac Etim, the corporate said that it didn’t meet supply schedule due to “unresolved land acquisition difficulty”.
It stated a relocation of the undertaking to a different website was in consideration.
Having seen Ooni Ogunwusi rub shoulders with politically highly effective folks, together with President Muhammadu Buhari, who many instances stated that no acts of corruption would go unpunished in his administration, some buyers, on the time, bought discouraged and easily “handed the matter over to God”.
Others who frantically headed to courtroom quickly discovered that it was an train in futility.
With a number of regulation fits, Ogunwusi’s firm chosen courtroom hearings to attend and didn’t honour out-of-court agreements and judgments, FIJ was instructed. Whereas some have been refunded a fraction of the cash they invested, others bought nothing.
“So after we went to courtroom and so they by no means confirmed up, I simply knew nothing would come out of this. They in all probability would simply kill the case,” stated Oluwashina (not actual title) who misplaced N5,010,000 to the South Pointe II scheme and was not refunded. It was the primary main undertaking he began along with his spouse.
Along with suspicions by subscribers that Ooni Ogunwusi was utilizing his affect to frustrate the courtroom circumstances in opposition to his firms is the query: is the corporate financially able to paying a whole lot of buyers it owes thousands and thousands of naira?
Ooni Ogunwusi knew concerning the issues buyers had along with his firm, as a letter to all subscribers shortly after he grew to become the Ooni confirmed. The letter, signed by the Ooni, said his place as Chairman and was co-signed by Taiwo Akintayo. It was written on January 2016.
It started with an apology for “sluggish tempo of labor” and continued by itemizing some challenges. He additional urged buyers, lots of whom neither noticed their land nor constructing on the supposed property, to “assist along with your cost (for those who nonetheless have any due) to allow us ship as quickly as attainable”.
“I wish to guarantee you that Gran Imperio Group stays a going concern and I’m nonetheless dedicated to drive [sic] the imaginative and prescient of the corporate to even higher heights greater than ever earlier than,” Ogunwusi wrote.
Efforts to get feedback from Gran Imperio have been unsuccessful. A woman who answered the decision to one of many cellphone numbers on the agency’s letterhead, claimed it was a improper quantity.
A name to the second quantity was answered by one Humphrey Obadjere, who claimed to be an accountant that had left the corporate.
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