BusinessDay
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Property owners edgy as bank seeks to for close estate in Lagos over loan default

Property owners who bought from Ashake Court, a moderate housing estate in the Oniru area of Lagos, are presently edgy as they risk losing their investment following a decision by an old generation bank to foreclose the estate over the developers default in repaying a loan they allegedly took from the bank.

The bank’s decision is said to be based on a court ruling in a suit numbered FHC/L/CS/130/2019, which it instituted in January 2019, seeking to recover the loan put at N100 million along with the accumulated interest since 2009 when the loan was given and taken, giving a total of N281 million.

A Federal High Court in Lagos, which granted the prayers of the bank in the judgment delivered in March 2020, was presided over by Justice A.M. Liman.

A statement by the property owners, obtained by Businessday at the weekend, describes the project (Ashake Court) as an off plan development at Block IV, Plot 23, Oniru Family Chieftaincy Estate, Victoria Island Extension. It gives the name of the estate developer as Prime Water View (PMV) Limited.

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It recalls that development and sales of various units of flats and a pent house commenced in 2008 on installment payment basis in line with the construction period of 18 months agreed between the developers and the subscribers.

It adds that, by the end of 2009, most subscribers/off takers to the project had paid for their flats, which were sold at an average price of N45million each except the penthouse which was slightly higher.

The statement notes that, on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, the property owners had the rudest shock of their lives when a contingent of armed policemen numbering 12 and five OPC members stormed their premises and proceeded to chase them with threat to cause mayhem.

“Residents pleaded for leniency and the officers and their cohorts proceeded to forcefully latch their gates, thereby restricting movement in and out of their premises,” the statement discloses, adding, “when the raucous finally abated, they proceeded to paste a Federal High Court judgment on their walls, claiming that they had obtained a foreclosure judgment on the property.”

Continuing, the statement points out, “it is pertinent to mention that PWV promised www.businessday.ng subscribers that, upon full payment, it would proceed to register the property at the lands registry on their behalf. The loan was granted and obtained despite the fact that the subscribers had fully taken physical possession of their flats in early 2009 and others at the beginning of 2010.”

It recalls further that, on Thursday, August 27, 2020, the property owners met with representatives of the bank, including their counsel. They offered to pay in full the principal sum of N100 million being the loan obtained by the developers.

The bank rejected the offer and after protracted discussions offered to write off 40 percent off the interest, but the property owners pleaded for more concessions making reference to CBN Prudential Guideline, which stipulates that banks should desist from booking interest on a nonperforming loan after a period of six months.

“It appears that the bank is bent on taking their pound of flesh from the property owners despite their presentation that its demand will increase the cost of the property far in excess of its value by a margin of 40 percent, such that future sales would be at a significant loss to the owners,” it notes.

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