GTB is in fresh trouble as ANLCA is seeking bank payment of N200 billion demurrage and storage losses over FG suspension.
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has requested the payment of over N200 billion in demurrage charges incurred by customs brokers and freight forwarders as a result of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) suspension owing to alleged non-remittance of import duty collected on behalf of the federal government.
The association, in a meeting with the officials of the bank on Wednesday, stated that its members will not bear the cost of demurrage incurred while pressing it in that they are not ready to let go of the losses.
Speaking on behalf of the association, its National Secretary; Mr Babatunde Mukaila expressed dissatisfaction in the way the management of GTB handled its suspension by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), noting that ANLCA is aware that NCS gave GT Bank two weeks’ notice to resolve their challenges, yet they neither resolved the issue nor made alternative arrangement in the interest of their customers.
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He argued that in the past, some banks have had similar problems but quickly appointed a receiver bank pending the resolution of the matter.
The ANLCA scribe stressed that the approach of the bank amounts to negligence on their part, adding that where there is negligence, someone or group suffers the detriment and as such in every detriment there must be compensation.
He reiterated that the aims and objectives of the association is to protect its members while asking the bank officials how they intend to mitigate the losses.
Other members of the association in attendance also condemned the bank’s attitude and concluded that there will be no stand down on demand for adequate compensation.
Responding, the representative of GT Bank; Mr Lanre Kola-Banjo apologised to the customs brokers while explaining that the problem was as a result of technical fault from the server.
He however debunked the notion that the bank was given two weeks’ notice. He said to the contrary, they woke up one morning only to discover that the bank had been disconnected.
He further explained that it was after they had been suspended from accessing the NCS portal that they were given two weeks to fix the technical problem or face serious sanction. He said that the problem has since been resolved.
He promised to take the association’s demands to the top management of the bank for further action.
This is even as he added that it is not about apologising to the importers, but the issue is that, it is the Customs Brokers that are at the receiving end, because they are in contract with importers and not concerned with demurrage and storage charges.
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Lagos blue rail will convey 250,000 passengers daily
THE Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has described the completed 250, 000-passenger Blue Rail train project as a milestone that came through several reforms in the state’s transportation sector, stating that the first-phase of the project will be operational in January.
The governor stated this on Wednesday during the test-running of the mono-rail and events to mark the completion of the first phase of Lagos rail mass transit held at the National Theatre Blue Line Station, Iganmu, Lagos.
Also, the Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, Mrs Abimbola Akinajo, explained that the train passengers will use the state’s unified electronic payment system known as cowry card currently being used for Bus Rapid Transit and regulated ferry services.
She said, “In our projection, we reckon that this phase of the rail project would move no less than 250,000 passengers daily, while the entire line when completed would move more than 500,000 passengers.
“Construction of the Blue Line has been one of the most challenging projects undertaken by Lagos government, given many hitches that had to be overcome. To get to the point of completion, we have had disturbances and delays in the relocation of submarine cables, gas pipelines, and the removal of shipwrecks. This made the construction of the submarine pillar extremely difficult.”
SANWO-OLU EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER REAL ESTATE FRAUDULENT PRACTICES
… CALLS FOR VIGILANCE AMONG RESIDENTS, PROFESSIONALS TO CURB MENACE
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has expressed concern over the rate of unprofessional practices in the real estate sector in recent time, saying that the development calls for increased vigilance on the part of all genuine real estate practitioners and the government.
The Governor said that in view of the rate of reported cases of dubious acts by some real estate agents who are taking undue advantage of the real estate market, being one of the fastest growing industry in Nigeria and Lagos State in particular, registered real estate practitioners must uncover the quarks in the profession in order to salvage the image of the real estate practice.
Governor Sanwo-Olu expressed these concerns at the Opening Ceremony of the Third Lagos Real Estate Market Place Conference and Exhibitions Organized by Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority-LASRERA, on Tuesday, at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
He recalled that the conference and Exhibition was initiated as a platform for Individuals/Organizations operating in the Real Estate Sector to network and address developmental issues affecting the real estate business in Lagos State.
According to Sanwo-Olu, who was represented at the event by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, the chosen theme for Conference; “A Town Hall Meeting On The Lagos Real Estate Emerging Markets – Mitigating Potential Risks” was adopted to once again, beam search light on this sector against the background of new tactics and strategies being deployed by unscrupulous and fake practitioners to defraud unsuspecting clients.
His words: “As a Government, we owe it a duty to safeguard investments of people who may be unaware of some unprofessional practices in the market. The need to restore public confidence to this sector led to the establishment of the Lagos State Real Estate transaction in Lagos State to protect the citizens and investors from the potential risks emerging in the market.
“LASRERA has defined minimum operational standards and guidelines for citizens to abide with. The guidelines provide a comprehensive checklist for the citizens to correctly identify and have competitive list of registered individuals/organizations in order to avoid doing business with unregistered Real Estate practitioners in the system.
“We can’t talk about risks in the real estate sector without mentioning the violation of principles of transparency and Real Estate Laws. These to a greater extent, are major potential risks in this sector.”
While saying that the State Government, through its regulatory agency, LASRERA, cannot sanitize the industry solely, considering the huge real estate transactions going on in different parts of the State, Sanwo-Olu advocated joint monitoring of this sector to curb quackery and unlicensed operators.
He maintained that the Real Estate Market can be floodgate of Economic prosperity to the State and Stakeholders when potential risks are minimum in this Sector.
He also used the occasion to plead with Lagosians and everyone interested in real estate business to be cautious in any financial transaction they engage in by fact checking the track records of the organisations they are dealing with to ascertain if the individual/organization is registered with LASRERA and other relevant government Agencies in the built sectors.
Also speaking at the event, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka noted that the impersonation in the Real Estate industry is becoming unethically high and it’s seriously contributing to fraudulent proliferation in Real Estate Market which is having negative impact on the reputation of individuals/ organizations including the regulating Agencies of the State Government.
“This development calls for appropriate regulation, implementation and enforcement of the Real Estate Laws in order to restore sanity into the sector and instil public confidence in the real estate profession and it explains why the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority – LASRERA is mandated to regulate and register those individuals / organizations who are involved in this Sector.
“Lagos State Government is determined to ensure sanity is restored to the State’s Real Estate Environment with the review of the Agency’s Law on Monday, 7th February, 2022, to protect investors/investees against any potential risks and also prosecute individuals / organizations, boost the activities of Real Estate Markets with accredited and licensed Practitioners through lasrera.lagosstate.gov.ng,” the Special Adviser added.
The Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on E-GIS and Physical Planning, Dr Olajide Babatunde, said that with the computerisation of documents at Lands Bureau, people can sit comfortably in their houses and offices and access information on government portals relating to properties and lands in Lagos State.
Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau, Mr Olabode Agoro said that the registration of individuals and organizations by LASRERA is to make sure that only qualified and certified practitioners are allowed to practice in the State’s real estate sector.
During the Panel Session on Deploying Technology for Transparency and Growth of the Lagos Real Estate Market, The Moderator, Dr Roland Igbinoba, Founder, Pison Housing and President Nigerian Proptech Association, revealed that GIS is critical for development and Transparency in the Real Estate Sector.
Deputy Director Public Affairs LASRERA
Appeal Court Exonerate Zenith Bank, Upturns High Court Judgement Slam Fine on Real Integrated & Hospitality Limited
After several months of legal tussle between Zenith Bank Plc v Real Integrated & Hospitality Limited and State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Gombe State, a three-man panel in the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos led by Justice Muhammed Sirajo in Appeal No:CA/LAG/CV/262/2022 – have unanimously upturned the Lagos State High Court judgment of Justice O. O. Abike-Fadipe over claims that; on March 8, 2022, there was a breach of contract because on October 7, 2011, Zenith Bank refused Real Integrated to withdraw from its Account No. 1012465427. In her judgment, she directed Zenith bank to pay an interest of 15 per cent per annum on the N872,780,522.84 from May 17, 2011, when the advanced payment guarantees expired till judgment and thereafter at the rate of 10 per cent per annum until final liquidation
Through Zenith Bank’s team of counsel led by Prof. Fabian Ajogwu, SAN and Mr Sylva Ogwemoh, SAN, the bank challenged Justice O. O. Abike-Fadipe’s decision of awarding N2,500,000 as the cost of the action in favour of Real Integrated. The legal team via valid argument backed by proofs argued and sought an order setting aside the lower court decision on the ground that it acted in full compliance with its contractual obligations in line with the Advanced Payment Guarantee (APG) contract and that the trial court was wrong. The Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision on November 23, agreed with the bank’s submission and resolved all the issues raised in its favour. It was gathered that; the 1st Respondent, through its Counsel, E.O Jakpa, argued that the bank breached the contract while SUBEB Gombe State did not contest the Appeal.
Apart from the appellate court setting aside the judgment of Justice Abike-Fadipe, the judge also awarded a cost of N200,000 against Real Integrated & Hospitality Limited and in favour of Zenith Bank. The appeal court further stated that the lower court judgment was upturned on the ground that the trial court was wrong to have presumed that the bank withheld the full account statement of Real Integrated in the light of Exhibit C6 (the comprehensive Statement of Account of Real Integrated), which was tendered by the bank for a limited purpose, adding that there was no need for the lower court to have invoked Section 167 (d) of the Evidence Act, 2011 against the bank.
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