From PETRUS OBI, Enugu
Two Anambra State businessmen and political heavyweights, Senator Andy Uba and Prince Arthur Eze are now at war over two property said to belong to one Major Emmanuel Okwuosa also from the State. An Enugu State High Court had ordered that the said property be sold to enable Arthur Eze recover the one million United States dollars owed him by Okwuosa.
However, Senator Uba, representing Anambra South in the Senate, is claiming ownership of the two property namely, Plots M17 and O/19 Independence Layout, Enugu, which the state Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezulike, ordered to be attached for sale in favour of Prince Eze on October 10, 2012. The court had granted an ex-parte application brought by Obi Orakwue, counsel to Prince Eze pursuant to Section 44 of Sheriffs & Civil Process Act, 2004; Order IV Rules 1 (2) & 16 (1); Order VII Rule 7 Judgment Enforcement Rules and ordered the attachment and sale by private contract of the immovable property of Okwuosa, who was indebted to the applicant to the tune of US$1 million.
But following the issuance of the Writ of attachment and sale against the said property by the court, in suit number E/147/2012, Senator Uba filed an application as an interested party/appellant. Uba, in his application, claimed that the two property in question were bought for him by Major Okwuosa from one Chief R. O. Nkwocha family in the sum of N250 million. Uba, while appealing against the decision/order of the court urged the court to make an order halting the sale of the property.
In the seven grounds of appeal set out by Uba through his counsel, Chuma Oguejiofor, he told the court that Okwuosa had purchased the property for him and with money he had provided to the knowledge of the prior owners of the property, R.O. Nkwocha family of Enugu Ukwu, Anambra State, adding that he actually made available N250 million for the purchase and registration of the property.
Uba said that he had confronted Okwuosa severally to submit the title document to the property but he informed him that they were still with the lawyers and later with officials of the Lands Registry, Enugu, adding that he had a shock of his life when he learnt that “fraudulently and without his consent, that the 2nd defendant/respondent (Okwuosa) had registered the property in his own name at the Lands Registry Enugu.” Uba contended that Okwuosa could not have registered “validly property that does not belong to him in his own name” and as such could not also confer on any person, title he never had on the property.
In a 26-paragraph counter affidavit opposing Uba’s motion, dated October 19, 2012, Prince Eze’s counsel, Orakwue, told the court that Uba was not the owner of the two property but Okwuosa, who had his interest duly registered in his names at the Lands Registry vide Irrevocable Power of Attorney and Deed of Assignment. He insisted that Okwuosa and his company, Major Concepts Limited, were in physical possession of the said two plots.
“I believe that the applicant (Uba) had no funds to have acquired the two immovable properties said to have been bought in the sum of one hundred and twenty million naira only (N120, 000,000) given his past positions as mere domestic servant of former President Obasanjo, and a taxi driver in Los Angeles, United States of America,” the affidavit said. Urging the court to refuse Uba’s application, Eze further stated that it was rooted in bad faith and designed to frustrate him as the plaintiff/judgment creditor from reaping the fruits of his judgment.
However, when the case came up last Wednesday before Justice Umezulike, Uba’s counsel, Chuma Oguejiofor sought for time to reply Eze’s averment in the counter affidavit, which he said, touched on Uba’s character and doubted his source of wealth, prompting the judge to adjourn the case to October 29, 2012 for definite argument.