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Enugu commissioner in court over property acquisition

Enugu commissioner in court over property acquisition
August 10
23:08 2020

Victor Nnam, commissioner for lands and urban development in Enugu, has been charged to court for allegedly using illegal means to forcefully acquire and sell large expanse of land belonging to Private Estate International West Africa Limited meant for the development of Enugu Lifestyle and Golf Resort.

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The allegation is contained in a criminal summons filed at the federal high court, Enugu division by the attorney-general of the federation pursuant to a petition forwarded to the inspector-general of police, to investigate a criminal breach of trust and impersonation against Nnam and two other persons.

In a statement on Monday, Private Estate International West Africa Limited said it had chronicled events leading to the charge against the commissioner, saying he was a consultant to the company prior to his appointment as the commissioner for lands and urban development.

“Commissioner Victor Nnam used confidential information from his client to scheme for land out of the land holding of his client granted and covered by Building Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Enugu State Government in breach of the ethic of his profession,” the statement said.

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“Against obvious conflict of interest and in breach of the duty to his client, he caused the application for layouts out of his said holding and in one instance he approached the principal members of the Obeagu Development Union to consent to his scheme.

“Upon being turned down, Nnam presented a fake affidavit to the lands authorities upon which a layout was approved for him from the land holding of his former client. He commenced selling the land to the public by himself and through a company Geosquaremeter Innovative Limited and others.”

According to Private Estate West Africa Limited, its discovery of the illegality forced it to instruct its lawyers, Brockwell Practice, to petition the Nigeria Police Force who investigated the matter before handing it to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation for review.

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“Upon the review by the office of the Attorney General, a prima facie criminal case of multiple forgery was established against Nnam and an eight-count charge of forgery has been filed against him by the Attorney General of the Federation at the Federal High Court, Enugu,” the statement read.

“Our company has also instituted a civil action against Nnam alongside Mr Paul Ogbe and Geo-squaremeter Innovative Limited, claiming damages in excess of N1.8billion in the Enugu High Court (Suit No. E/413/19) as evidence of yet another forgery case.”

Nnam, through his lawyer, Emma Onyibor, dismissed the allegations as mere distractions that cannot stand any legal test.

“For the records, the charges should be considered incompetent and lacking in basic facts. They are also frivolous and malicious and should be treated as such,” Oyinbor said.

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“The commissioner understands that the Federal Government cannot take up a land case that is not within the Federal Capital Territory and initiating one without the consent of the Attorney General of Enugu State maybe considered an abuse of the Land Use Act.

“I want to state categorically that as a public officer, my client’s first line of responsibility and allegiance would remain the Enugu State Government and will not be beholden to matters in the course of his erstwhile private practice or to land grabbers, while he will continue to discharge his duties to ensure sanity in land administration in Enugu State.”

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