Court Adjourns Hearing In Okeowo Family’s N100 Million Libel Suit To May 20

Hearing in the suit filed by a Lagos billionaire and property developer, Sir Oluwatumininu Okeowo against some of his siblings over alleged false and libelous publication against him has been adjourned till May 20, 2024.

Okeowo had, in suit number LD/ADR/4661/2022 dragged his siblings before Justice Aishat Opesanwo of the Lagos High Court claiming N100m as damages for libel over dispute on the estate of their late father, Sir Taiwo Okeowo.

The Defendants in the suit are, Joe Faraday, (a company belonging to his brother), Joshua Okeowo and Tolulope Okeowo.

The claimant, by the processes filed by his lawyer, Wale Adesokan, SAN is asking the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from publishing libelous statements against him.

He prayed the court to compel the defendants to disclose evidence that he (Claimant) forged Lagos State Certificate of Occupancy over property known as 15A and 15B, Bayo kuku Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

However, the defendants in their statement of defence filed by their lawyer, Kunle Adegoke SAN, denied making any unprovoked assault or orchestrated smear campaign on the claimant’s perceived character and neither do they have any malice against him.

The Defendants further stated that they did not, at any time, malign or defame the character of the Claimant in any manner whatsoever and shall put the Claimant to strict proof in respect of this allegation.

The Defendants averred that they did not, at any time whatsoever, authored the purported internet publication titled “Sir Taiwo Okeowo Estate Brief” or engaged in a campaign of calumny against the claimant with respect to the alleged destruction of Santo Domingo Luxury Residences or any other matter whatsoever.

They stated that the letter dated October 5, 2022 referenced to in paragraph 10 of the Statement of Claim was written on the authorization of the 2nd and 3rd Defendants as well as their 6 siblings in their capacities as shareholders and directors of Manna Real Estate Company Limited and Metal Construction (West Africa) Ltd and beneficiaries of the Estate of Late Sir Taiwo Okeowo, wherein they instructed the law firm of Fortbanc to petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to carry out an investigation into criminal activities committed by the Claimant.

They averred that the basis for the petition to the law enforcement authorities by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants and their other siblings was due to alleged fraudulent and reckless dissipation of properties of the estate of their late father, Sir Taiwo Okeowo among other criminal actions allegedly committed by the Claimant.

Also, in their counter claim, the defendants averred that since the death of their father, no letters of administration were granted to anyone to administer the estate of their late father, Sir Taiwo Okeowo whereas the Claimant had been diverting assets of the estate to his personal use.

They further averred that the Defendant to Counterclaim (Sir Olu Okeowo)
was neither the administrator of the estate of their late father nor a shareholder or a director in the two companies owned by the late Sir Taiwo Okeowo.

They alleged that after the death of their late father in 2003, the defendant to counterclaim forcefully took over the control of the two companies, (being Metal Construction (West Africa) Ltd and Manna Real Estate Company Ltd), including the assets of the estate of the deceased without the consent or authority of the surviving children of the deceased.

They further alleged that since the death of their father, (Sir Taiwo Okeowo), the Defendant to Counterclaim has been illegally managing the assets of the estate of their late father to the extent that the Defendant to Counterclaim dissipated most of the funds, assets and properties of their late father by converting some of the funds, assets and properties of the Estate to himself and one company known as Gibralter Construction Nigeria Limited, wherein the Defendant to Counterclaim is a shareholder and director.

The Counter-claimants stated that the Defendant to Counterclaim has constituted himself as a sole self-appointed administrator of the estate of their late father by allegedly denying them and their siblings equal shares in the estate of their deceased father.

They alleged that he refused to disclose information regarding the management of assets of the Estate of their late father or render account of his administration of same.

Consequently, they prayed the court for a declaration that the Counter-claimants, together with the Defendant to Counterclaim being the beneficiaries of the estate of Late Sir Taiwo Okeowo are jointly entitled to the distribution of the assets of the estate of the said Late Sir Taiwo Okeowo.

“A declaration that the Counter-claimants are entitled to access to information regarding the management of the estate of their late father, Sir Taiwo Okeowo.

“An Order directing the Defendant to Counterclaim to render proper account of his management of the Estate of the late Sir Taiwo Okeowo who died intestate.

“An Order appointing the Administrator-General of Lagos State to take over the management of the assets of the Estate of the Late Sir Taiwo Okeowo and distribute same in accordance with the Administration of Estates Law of Lagos State.”

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