Lagos Building Investment MD, Tobi Lawal, accused of bribery, corruption

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Bricktop Development & Advisory, an estate development firm, has accused Lagos Building Investment Company (LBIC) officials of destroying some facilities of a 16-apartment complex called Abike Court due to the developer’s refusal to accept the LBIC Managing Director’s demand for two apartments worth N300 million as a bribe.

Bricktop Development & Advisory Director, Olumide Olufade, told journalists on Friday that LBIC Managing Director Tobi Lawal and his crony, Lanre Obisesan, demanded additional two apartments after the developer had surrendered five apartments belonging to the Lagos Building Investment Company and the state government.

He said, “After I have given the five apartments as we agreed, the MD and his crony were asking for additional two apartments worth N150 million each. The problem started when I refused this offer.

“They damaged the doors of some of the apartments and stormed the complex to forcefully demand the two apartments under the guise that they were for Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu,” he added.

A screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation between Mr Olumide and Mr Lanre which was obtained by SaharaReporters shows that Olumide had allocated five apartments in Block B; which are “(1) Flat 1B, (2) Flat 2B, (3) Flat 3B, (4) Flat 4B, (5) Flat 5B.”

Mr Lanre’s response to this was: “Olumide this is a bit confusing. Which one was meant for me? Which one is Tobi’s?” An indication that he was specifically making a request for the two apartments that supposedly belong to him and the LBIC Managing Director Tobi Lawal.

This made Mr Olumide write a letter to LBIC Managing Director, Tobi Lawal to specifically inform him of his refusal to accept his alleged bribery request.

The letter reads: “I note your incessant request for a bribe of an apartment in Abike Court, which my company constructed under a JV with LBIC.

“Please note that aside from my aversion to bribing public officers for the discharge of their duties, the rise in the costs of building materials occasioned astronomical change in the budget for the construction of Abike Court.

“Consequently, it is practically and ethically impossible for me to pay you the requested bribe of one apartment in Abike Court (No,1 Rev Ogunbiyi Gra Ikeja Lagos).”

“I hope you understand my position and will not resort to malicious campaigns against the project and my person in government circles. I do reserve all my rights in this regard,” the letter adds.

However, when contacted on Friday, Mr Lanre Obisesan explained that he was making a request for an apartment, which Mr Olumide had agreed to offer him when he was seeking the contract because the contract was awarded to Olumide’s company through his network.

He said, “I am not LBIC. I happened to be the broker between both of them. When we broker the deal, there was an agreement that Olumide would give them five units, he would take 11 units.

“This transaction actually came to my table, Tobi Lawal also being my friend, that I should do the project but at that time, I had a lot of deals.

“I said I can consult for you while I get another person to do it. Olumide was among the people that actually came to my office. We had an agreement. This is a business transaction that if I am giving you this, this is what is coming to me.

“The second issue that he is talking about; when he finished that project, the LBIC went there and measured the project Olumide allocated. He was supposed to share it not equally in terms of units, but in terms of square meters, it was supposed to be equal.

“But Olumide allocated 326 square meter apartments – the big ones to himself, and gave them 186 which is almost double the lesser of what he allocated to himself.”

Mr Lanre said one of the apartments demanded was based on the agreement he had with Mr Olumide when he facilitated the contract and was meant for me. For the other one, however, Mr Lanre said he made the request on behalf of LBIC as a consultant because the agency had complained that the units he allocated to them were too small and therefore wanted an additional unit as a form of compensation.

He added: “I was referring to LBIC when I said Tobi in the message.”

Meanwhile, a careful perusal of the copy of the Joint Venture Agreement between Lagos Building Investment Company (LBIC) and Bricktop Development & Advisory, prepared by the Legal Department of LBIC, shows that the state government and its agency, at the completion of the development of the 16 apartments, shall be entitled to 5 apartments constituting 31.25% of the project to be shared between the Land User and the Lagos State government (Land Owner represented by the Ministry of Information).

The agreement reads further: “The Land user shall be entitled to 2 units of the apartment while the Lagos State government shall be entitled to 3 units of the Apartment being compensation for the approval of the use of the land by the Land user.”

“The Developer having funded 100% of the project development shall be entitled to 11 Apartments from the 16 units developed constituting 68.75% of the project,” the statement added.

Pictures obtained by SaharaReporters show that some of the 16 apartments’ doors have been broken, allegedly by LBIC officials on the orders of Tobi Lawal, the managing director of the agency.

It was further learned that the building was marked as ‘sealed’ by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) on May 17, 2023, an act, which according to the developer, Mr Olumide, was influenced by Mr Tobi Lawal to deter potential investors and buyers from the buildings.

When contacted to react to the allegations against him, Tobi Lawal, the LBIC Managing Director, described them as untrue.

According to him, Mr Olumide was only trying to cover up his anomalies.

“This was why he (Olumide) left the country five months ago on the guise that his wife was doing PGD,” Mr Tobi said.

Concerning the allegation that he demanded additional two flats for himself and a crony, he also denied the allegation, describing it as false.

He explained that his agency made the request after hiring a special consultant who disclosed to them how they had been tricked by the developer, who did not build rooms of the same size, as required.

“It was when we realised that the five apartments in Block B he allocated for us are the smallest, that was the reason why we requested for additional two,” he said.

He further stated that Mr Lanre Obisesan never requested for an apartment expressly for him; but rather, he was engaged by the agency to liaise with the developer on its behalf.

Regarding the damage done at the site, the managing director said he was only aware that the door of one flat was damaged, identifying the flat as C1.

According to him, it was done for security reasons and because the developer failed to submit the keys.

“The LASBCA sealed up the building because of lack of appropriate documents,” the managing director said.

He added that the inauguration of the complex, which was previously slated for between May 24 and 26, 2023, had been cancelled because the building was not fit for the state governor to enter for inspection and proper opening.

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