Court sacks Late Adebajo’s Estate Trustees – The Nation Newspaper

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A Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere has sacked the two executors of the Estate of the late proprietor of the Stationery Stores Football Club and NOSS Stores, Israel Adebayo Adebajo.

The court ordered immediate removal of the executor and executrix, Tilewa Adebajo and Adeola Adebajo-Akande, over mismanagement of the estate of the late Adebajo and their inability to account for the proceeds collected from it in the past 14 years.

The court also ordered the immediate removal of the trustees for negligence of the Estate, non-adherence to their fiduciary responsibilities and lack of accountability.

It also ordered the sacked executors to account for the proceeds from the estate in the past 14 years.

The court further ordered the sacked executors be replaced with corporate trustees, either of which could be the First Bank Trustees or Union Bank Trustees, to administer the Estate.

Israel Adebayo Adebajo died in 1969.

The presiding judge, Justice M.O Obadina, gave the order for the sacking of the two trustees following a suit instituted by the daughter of the late Israel Adebajo, Dr. Gloria Adebajo-Fraser, MFR, against the mismanagement of her father’s estate and lack of accountability by the defendants.

The other claimants are Irene Adebajo, the Matriarch and legal wife of the Testator and Roland Adebajo, their older son.

The plaintiff had sought, among other reliefs before the court, the removal of the two defendants as the executors of her late father’s estate and an order of the court compelling them to account for the proceeds collected from the estate since 2004.

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Delivering judgment on the matter, Justice Obadina held since the first and second defendants had failed to manage the account of the estate well, a good case had been established for their removal as the executors of the estate of the late Adebajo.

The judge also averred that contrary to the claims of the defendants that they wanted the money accruing into the estate’s account to accumulate before remitting it to the various beneficiaries, the law had made provision for the yearly rendering of accounts by executors of estates, failure of which is punishable by a fine of N1000 for every year they failed to do that.

Justice Obadina further noted there was no evidence before the court that the balance in the estate’s bank account should increase before distribution to the beneficiaries could be effected by the executors, stressing that since 2004 the estate had not disbursed proceeds to the beneficiaries.

The judge also averred that frauds of about N31.61million and another N11million were detected in the estate’s account with the First Bank plc.

The court awarded N500, 000 cost against the defendants.

Matriarch of the Adebajo family and legally married wife of Israel Adebajo, Irene Adebajo, expressed happiness to witness over the landmark judgment in her lifetime.

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She said: “It hurts me to see the state of the properties as if there are no trustees to care for them. Gloria is God-sent and a true daughter of her father.

“She has demonstrated commendable leadership skills and selflessness to pursue this matter diligently based on my request to her.

“I am proud of her and I know her father’s spirit is definitely with her. She is a person of integrity and exhibits the moral orientation with which we raised her.”

Dr. Gloria Adebajo-Fraser, MFR, commended the judiciary, which she claims is doing a great job in delivering unbiased justice to secure the confidence of the aggrieved.

“Our case is a locus classicus based on the first case my mother instituted 45 years ago.

“I have no doubt that there are many similar situations in Nigeria to day whereby trustees do as they wish with the resources and properties of the deceased to the detriment of the beneficiaries.

“It is my sincere hope that this landmark judgment will change the outlook of such situations in future.

“I see this matter as a victory for various beneficiaries all over Nigeria, who are aggrieved, to give them hope for justice.

“Trustees should realise that their position is not a permanent one but held in trust only and subject to compliance with fiduciary responsibilities and instruction of the Testator in order to serve the beneficiaries in total honesty.”

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Roland, who is the elder brother of Gloria based in Europe, expressed happiness over the victory.

He lamented the trustees spent his own share of funds a few time because he is not resident in Nigeria and ignored letters by his counsel to release his funds till today.

“They act with impunity, total disregard to the existent laws and spent on themselves to our detriment. It reassuring and encouraging to see the Nigerian courts dispense justice in this way.

“The judge deserves special commendation for this judgment. I am impressed. Gloria also must be commended. She is a brave, intelligent and dynamic person.

“She used her personal funds to prosecute this matter on our mother’s request and God has seen her through. She has carved a niche for herself in this family, whether anybody likes it or not.

“I have great respect for her. She never asked to be in charge of the Estate but for corporate trustees to be appointed to administer the Estate.

“That is selfless gesture. Our mother is proud of her and always praises her wherever I speak to her on the phone from Europe.

Efforts to reach the trustees, Tilewa and Adeola, for their reactions as at the time of filing this report proved abortive.

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