Bank’s witness admits development permit date error in Braithwaite’s N10b suit



AN expert witness for the Standard Chartered Bank, Mr. Olugbenga Akinmoladun, yesterday told a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, that he made an error in the date he fixed in his expert report regarding when the bank obtained its development permit.

The witness, who was under cross-examination by the claimant, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, however said it was typographical error, insisting that it was a deliberate falsehood intended to mislead the court.

“I put it to you that you are in error when you said there was approved building permit. The error is a deliberate falsehood to mislead this court”, Braithwaite declared.

The development permit, designated as Exhibit D5, was dated June 2, 2010. But the witness wrote in his report that the permit was dated September 9, 2009.

Braithwaite is pursuing a N10 billion suit against the bank for constructing a 15-storey building and a multilevel car park opposite his residence with an alleged ‘illegal permit’. The octogenarian also wants the high-rise building levelled.

The witness denied that the structure did not have a membrane protective net, saying he saw protective net at the 14th floor when he got to the site. He also denied that the airspace fall short of the requirements of Lagos State building regulations.

Interestingly, Akinmoladun had claimed in his report that he physically measured the distance between the construction site and the claimant’s residence, adding that it is ‘about the size of a standard plot of land’.

“The distance between the project and the claimant house is the size of a standard plot of land. I measured it. Our measurement is not faulty”, he stated.

But when asked the reason he speculated and could not put the exact figure, if indeed he measured it, he said he never considered it as the bone of contention.

Akinmoladun, who also told the court that he is a senior lecturer ‎in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and also a registered town planner with more than 25 years experience, said he has no doctorate degree in his field of study.

“I lecture at UNILAG. I am a senior lecturer and first head of Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UNILAG. I have been involved in World Bank infrastructure development project in Akwa Ibom, Niger and Ondo states. I also did the EIA of Diamond Bank. I also did the EIA and building approval for City Bank. I took part in the building process and approval in Shoprite in Ikeja. I did the same for American International High School at Chevron Drive. I have also been involved in land administration of UNILAG consult in Kaduna State”, he said when he was led in evidence by defence counsel, Mr. Adeniyi Adegbonmire.

Through him, Adegbomire had tendered two reports before the court and the trial judge, Justice Doris Okuwobi, admitted the reports as exhibits D15 and D16 respectively.

The reports tendered were Advocacy Planning Report in respect of the property situated at Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island and the review of claimant’s reply to defendant’s statement of defence dated July 2013 and August 2014 respectively prepared by Olak Consult.

He said he prepared the report for Standard Chartered Bank in respect of the building approval of the property to counter the claimant’s expert ‎report.

As a result of these revelations, Braithwaite informed the court that he would be praying for physical inspection and measurement by a neutral body, saying: “The claimant will be bringing an application for an order for physical and actual measurement of the project site by either the president of town planning association or surveyor-general in view of the manifest conflict in the evidence of both sides on the core issue.”

Justice Okuwobi ‎subsequently adjourned proceedings to October 22, 2015 for further direction.

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