By Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

A witness, AbdulRahman Shuaib, has narrated before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the sales of Kwara Government assets sitting in Ilorin how he was offered the Kwara State Government property on 7, Fariya Road in Kaduna by Harmony Holdings Limited (HHL) at N50 million.

Testifying before the panel, Shuaib said he has been living in the three- bedroom apartment with boys quarters since 1997 as a tenant until 2014 when the then Group Executive Director of Harmony Holdings Limited approached him to buy the property.

“I am aware the property was owned by the Kwara state government. I started as a tenant of the Kwara State Investment and Property Development Corporation and I was paying between N100,000 and graduated to about N800,000 until 2014 when Harmony Holdings took over the property and I was offered to buy the property at the sum of N60 million. I didn’t start the idea of buying the property. They (Harmony Holdings) initiated the idea and later agreed to pay the sum of N50 million,” he told the panel.

When the lead counsel to the panel Joseph Bamigboye (SAN) asked the witness about the nature of the title on the property, Shuaib said he was shown the certified true copy of its Certificate of Occupancy which served the purpose of his negotiation.

The witness said: “At the point of negotiation I saw a certified true copy of its Certificate of Occupancy and we had an understanding of immediate payment of N40 million into Harmony Holdings Limited account.

“The money was acknowledged through a letter. So, the balance became an issue because I insisted on getting the C of O. I committed 80 percent of the payment with the belief that I was dealing with an agency owned by government.

“I gave a benefit of trust that at the point I will be paying the next N10 million I would have sighted the original copy of the certificate of occupancy. But that didn’t happen.

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“Though there was a pressure from Harmony Holdings Limited to pay the outstanding but I stood my ground on seeing the C of O. Nonetheless, as the conversation went on with Adebayo Sanni, Hussein Alada and Joseph Afolayan of Harmony Holdings Limited, I told them as a man of honour that I would release the sum of N7.5 million in addition to the N40m and I would hold on to N2.5 million so if it becomes necessary to authenticate and regularise the document I will use from it and offer the net balance. Then, we agreed on that. I told them to declare in a recognised newspaper that the C of O was missing and they should indemnify me which they did.

“So, I am holding on to N2.5 million till the C of O is out and we reconcile the account because their retainer lawyer is on it in Kaduna.”

Shuaib therefore urged the commission to order for the perfection of the title as well as looking at the possibility of reducing the price he paid for the property, saying he was unduly cheated and conceded to pay the amount under duress when compared to the amount the HHL sold other Kwara state government properties in Kaduna.

The commission therefore summoned Prof Saka Nuhu, Alhaji Idris Ibrahim (Kaduna), Jamal Solomon (Kaduna), Taoheed Community in Ilorin and the Daudu Amule Ile-Egba Shuaib Agboola Olarongbe to appear before it.

Chairman of the commission Justice Olabanji Orilonishe directed the Secretary of the Commission, Alhaji Muhammad Baba Orire, to summon the affected persons in line with Section 8 of Commissions of Inquiry Law (No 4 of 2006) as a result of their failure to honour the commission’s invitation to appear before it on Thursday.

Former Group Executive Director Harmony Holdings Limited Adebayo Sanni on Wednesday appeared before the commission in respect of the state government’s 11 Catchment Road property he allegedly bought but eventually forfeited to the government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The commission had also interrogated former Director-General Kwara State Bureau of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Segun Soewu on the management of N4.7 billion SMEs fund under the last administration in the state.

Chairman of the Commission, Justice Olabanji Orilonishe (Rtd), however mandated Soewu to produce the list of all the beneficiaries, their addresses, the amount collected, the amount paid and the outstanding payment.

The Nation