The crisis rocking the estate of the deceased legal luminary, Chief Frederick Rotimi Williams, SAN, has taken a new dimension.
The eldest son of the legal icon, Chief Oladipupo Akanni Williams, SAN has dragged Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON before a Federal High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria to asertain circumstances surrounding the indebtedness of his brother and two others in relation to the Estate of their late father.
Oladipupo Williams is urging the court to direct and compel AMCON to make available to him copies of documents contained in the file of his brother Folarin Rotimi Williams,and two others, Lambo Jumoke Oguntuga and Kemi Sheri Williams with regards to the sum of N2,303,470,835.43 in which they stand indebted, and any other details regarding the loan.
In a 13-paragraph affidavit personally sworn to and filed before the court, Ladi Williams averred that sometime in 2018, AMCON published an article titled the list of top Nigerians owing total debt of N906 billion.
He said the content of the publication was brought to his attention, after which he wrote a letter of inquiry to AMCON dated 25 February 2020, requesting for copies of documents contained in the file of Mr Folarin Rotimi Williams, Lambo Jumoke Oguntuga and Kemi Sheri Williams with regards to the money owed and any other Ogun tugs regarding the loan obtained as they are indebted to the tune of N2,303,470,835.43.
He said after months of receiving no reply, he sent a letter of reminder dated 26th day of June, 2020, and further restated the legal grounds upon which he was entitled to the said information as requested and then gave AMCON a period of seven days to provide the requested information, failure of which would result to a commencement of legal action against the organization.
Upon failure of AMCON to accede to his lawful demands, he served AMCON a pre-action notice dated 13th of July, 2020. The statutory period of 30 days between serving a pre-action notice has since elapse.
Oladipupo averred further that it is his honest fear that Mr Folarin Rotimi Williams might have used part of the unconstituted Estate of their late father Chief FRA Williams (which he is not beneficiary to), to secure the loan to which he is now indebted and that it is on this basis that he had requested for details regarding the collateral as well as other details regarding the loan obtained.
Oladipupo said the granting of his prayers would not in anyway prejudice AMCON, and that it would only give the parties an opportunity to let the case be determined on its merit and further preserve his right.
However, in a notice of preliminary objection filed before the court by a Lagos Lawyer, Dr. Francis Chuka Agbu, SAN, on behalf of AMCON, the debt recovery agency urged the court to dismiss or strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
In an affidavit in support of the preliminary objection sworn to by Chief litigation officer in the law firm of Lexaier Partners, Ceaser Anyeabosi and filed before the court by Dr. Francis Chuka Agbu, the deponent stated that Chief Oladipupo Williams failed to serve a valid 90 days pre-action notice on AMCON as mandated by AMCON Act.
He said the suit is also statute barred, having been commenced outside the 3 months stipulated by section 2(a) of the public protection Act and order34(4) of the Federal High Court civil procedure rules 2019.
”The suit is incompetent having been commenced outside the 30 days period provided by section 20 of the Freedom of Information Act ,2011.
”The suit as presently constituted is incompetent for the respondent’s failure to seek the leave of the court pursuant to order 34 rule (3) of the Federal high court civil procedure rules and (2) failure to file affidavit of non- multiplicity of suits, pursuant to order 3 rule (9)2 of the Federal high court civil procedure rules 2019, before filing this suit.
The suit was initially pending before Justice Rilwan Aikawa, who has been transfered to Akure division of the Federal high court.
The suit now pending before the new judge, Justice Daniel Emeka Osiagor has been adjourned till 12th of October, 2021 for hearing.PM.BEWS MATERIAL