N5.6bn Estate Mismanagement: Court Orders Service of Processes on Gov. Obaseki’s Wife

A Lagos High Court Judge, Justice M.A Savage has ordered that court papers filed in the suit alleging gross mismanagement of the estate of late Philanthropist, Chief Olatunji Ajisomo Alabi by the management of Bank of Industry Investment and Trust Company Ltd, be served on the Managing Director of the company, Mrs Betsy Obaseki through the company’s secretary.

Mrs Obaseki is the wife of the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki.

Some children of late Chief Olatunji Alabi a.k.a Lord Rumens had dragged BOI Trustees before the court over alleged mismanagement of their father’s N5.6billion estate.

The children namely Babatunde, Oladipo, Subuola, Awojuola, Rukayat, Olukemi and Adeola Alabi stated in the suit that their late father appointed BOI Trustees as trustees of his estate in his will dated July 30, 1996.

The children however claimed that since the demise of their father in 1998, BOI Investment and Trust Company has persistently mismanaged his estates and has refused to give proper financial account to them.

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Joined in the suit as co-defendant is the Managing Director of BOI Trustees Mrs Betsy Obaseki and the company secretary, Mr. Simon Odomokwu.

The plaintiffs have served the court papers on BOI Trustees and Mr Odomokwu but were unable to serve Mrs Obaseki prompting them to file a motion for substituted service.

Moving the motion, a lawyer from the law firm of GMO Legal, Olasubomi Durojaiye stated that her office had made three attempts to serve the court papers on Mrs Obaseki but that on each occasion, they were told that she was unavailable.

Olasubomi prayed the court for any order to serve the defendant by pasting the court papers at the premises of BOI office in Lagos as all effort to personally serve Mrs Obaseki has failed.

Granting the motion for substituted service, Justice Savage ordered that the 2nd defendant rather be served through the company’s secretary who is also a party in the suit.

He subsequently adjourned the matter to November 14, 2017 for hearing.

In their statement of claims, the late Lord Rumens children stated that BOI trustees from the on set, cleverly applied and got the probate for their late father’s personal properties and not his real properties.

Despite this action, the children claimed that BOI Trustees continued to administer the real properties of their late father.

They further claimed that BOI Trustees deliberately refused to gather their father’s estate together and only resorted to rent collection while paying meagre sums as annual allowances to the beneficiaries of estate.

According to them, the gross negligence of BOI Trustees of not gathering all their later father’s property together, led to the lost of some properties to third parties.

List of properties allegedly lost as a result of BOI Trustees negligence includes; 38 Acres of land located at Mawuko, Abeokuta Ogun State; Property at 51 Majaro Street, Lagos; 23 Makoko Street, Yaba; 285 Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria island, Lagos; Property at Makoko fishing Village and Carrara Mabel, Awodiora, Apapa, Lagos.

Items in the will allegedly mismanaged and unaccounted for by the trustee includes 26,604 shares with United Bank for Africa, 22,500 shares in Nigerian Bottling Company, 50,000 shares in Total Nigeria Plc, 5268 shares in UAC Plc, and 6,615 shares in Union Bank Plc.

The children also claimed that four gold bars weighing 1000kg contained in their father’s will has been unaccounted for as the trustees insisted that it has not been able to find a local or international buyer for gold bars.

They concluded that since the trustee has refused to allow any of them to sight the gold bars, they believe that the trustee may have sold them off and converted the proceed or is using same a security for advances for its personal benefit.

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