The wife of paramount ruler of Ayede Ogbese Kingdom Olori (Queen) Olufunmiayo Oluyede has renewed her legal battle against Grimaldi Shipping company for allegedly auctioning her imported vehicle without any authorisation.
Joined as co-defendants in the ensuing legal battle are two Nigerian citizens Augustine Odey Ushie and Chris Olekah who have given thier addresses as 1, Glover Road Ikoyi, Lagos.
In an amended statement of claim accompanied with sworn affidavit of his royal Majesty Oba Ajibola Oluyede and filed before a Federal high court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria, by Barrister (Mrs) Ifeoma Esom
Oba Oluyede alleged that his wife Olori Olufunmilayo Oluyede is the owner of a GMC YUKON DENALI Vehicle – VIN No. 1GKS2HKJIGR434168, which he purchased from a Volkswagen dealership in Maryland USA at a purchase price of 50,999.56 US Dollars in September 2021.
HRM Oba Ajibola Oluyede who bought the vehicle in the name of his wife then arranged to ship the vehicle to Nigeria through a shipping agent, Ghanem Forwarding LLC, on the 7th of December 2021.
Olori Olufunmilayo Oluyede is the Consignee named on the Bill of Lading Number S320982860 issued at Virginia Beach on 7th December 2021.
The paramount ruler avers further that in addition to this vehicle he also shipped a Rolls Royce Phantom and a container of personal goods through the same Ghanem at the same period. Various payments amounting to well over 5,000 US Dollars were paid to Ghanem for freight and other services in respect of these goods.
Having made above payments of over 5000 U S Dollars at the time of shipping the GMC YUKON DENALI and other goods as stated above,Oba Oluyede and his wife believed that the freight of the vehicle had been paid as they were informed by Ghanem Forwarding LLC that the vehicle was shipped to Lagos Port through the Grimaldi’s ocean vessel, GRANDE SENEGAL, in November, 2021.
Consequently, the Plaintiff engaged the services of one Mr. Eze Innocent Onyekachi, a clearing agent to undertake the clearing of the shipped goods in Nigeria.
The Rolls Royce and the Container were cleared as soon as they arrived although various claims on missing items in the container and removal of the Rolls Royce emblem by Ghanem are still pending. The Rolls Royce emblem alone cost $4,000 to replace.
Mr. Eze Innocent Onyekachi eventually informed Oba Oluyede in December 2021 that his contacts had confirmed the arrival of the GMC YUKON DENALI although no notification had been given by Ghanem to this effect and none has been received till date.
Mr. Eze Innocent Onyekachi duly approached the customs for the custom duty assessment of the car and upon receipt of same was prepared to make payments of duty and other port fees required for the clearing of the vehicle when the Ports became locked down by reason of protests by agents.
It was when the ports opened in March 2022 that Mr. Eze could continue with the clearing process and approached the Grimaldi Agency for a debit note or estimate of charges as part of the requirement for the clearing of the vehicle.
Mr. Eze Onyekachi also informed the Plaintiff that he required a telex release from the shipping agent (Ghanem) to take possession of the vehicle from the Grimald whereupon Oba Oluyede contacted Ghanem (the aforesaid shipping agent) for the release of the necessary documents.
It was at this point that Ghanem informed the OLori Oluyede that it had an unpaid invoice in respect of the vehicle which included $1000 for freight and 500 for transporting the vehicle to the port in Baltimore from the plaintiff house in Maryland USA. The total sum on the invoice was put at $1,570,Oba Oluyede who arranged the entire transaction insisted that the invoice has been paid but in order to avoid waste of time decided to pay the said invoice as it was not comparable with the value of the vehicle which at that stage was worth almost $70,000 in the US market.
Oba Oluyede thereupon contacted Ghanem requesting for it’s account details to make the payment but was told that the vehicle had been auctioned and the account closed.
Oba Oluyede thinking this statement was a mistake by the Ghanem employee spoke to then send E-mail requesting for payment instructions to enable payment of the alleged outstanding sum of $1,570. One Daniel Parks from Ghanem forwarding company then wrote insisting that the matter was closed.
THE CURIOUS SALE OF A VEHICLE WORTH $70,000 FOR $1,502 BY GHANEM AND GRIMALDI AGENCY Nigeria LIMITED
Upon further enquiry the Plaintiff discovered that Ghanem waited until after the vehicle had been discharged in Nigeria before issuing
invoice for freight and some additional service amounting to about 1,570 U S Dollars
This additional invoice dated 8th
December 2021 was not brought to the attention of Oba Oluyede or his wife
until sometime in February 2022 and by means of an email sent in February 2022 that indicated that the invoice should be ignore if it had already been paid.
At this time the Plaintiff believed the invoice had been paid and, in any event the Nigerian Port was shut down at that time due to protest by clearing Agents.
It was not until the port was opened in March 2022 and Mr Eze Onyekachi continue the clearing process and the issue of the telex came up that Ghanem insisted that the invoice has not been paid
The plaintiff and her husband continue to indicate the preparedness to pay the outstanding invoice.but Grimaldi Agency refused to release the plaintiff ‘s vehicle on the basis of false story that the vehicle had been sold by auction to Augustine Odey Ushie or Chris Olekan
Grimaldi Agency and Ghanem claimed that they were empowered to sell the vehicle pursuant to the provision of the invoice dated 8th December 2021.
However, a cursory look at the Ghanem invoice of 8th December 2021 does not show any such right vested in Ghanem or the Grimaldi to sell the Plaintiff’s vehicle for failure to pay the amount stated on the invoice.
It was only on a recent further look that the Plaintiff saw the statement in the email forwarding Ghanem’s invoice of 8th December 2021 to the effect that “Invoices are dated when created and should be paid in full within one month of manifest or subject to 100 US dollars late fees per month past due. Please pay invoice within 2 months of manifest to avoid vehicle auction and legal collections.”
However, no notice was ever given to the Plaintiff by the Grimaldi or Ghanem Forwarding to the effect that the vehicle had arrived in Nigeria on the 23rd of December 2021. It was through enquiry that Mr. Eze Onyekachi discovered that the vehicle had been discharged in Nigeria by the Grimald’s vessel on 23rd December 2021.
Nevertheless, the Plaintiff contend that neither Chanem nor Grimaldi has the right or power to sell the Plaintiff’s aforesaid vehicle as the Plaintiff has not
authorized them to sell her vehicle nor is there any contract by which the Plaintiff donated such right to Grimaldi or Chanem Forwarding company.
The Plaintiff contend that the Invoice issued by Ghanem on the 8th of December 2011 and its email forwarding that invoice in February 2022 did not and cannot coffer authority on Chanem and or on Grimald Agency to sell the Plaintiff’s vehicle without the express approval of the Plaintiff. At best the only right that can be conferred on Ghanem and or Grimald Agency for delay in the payment of the amount crates on the Invoice is a right to charge 100 US dollars per month for late payment.
The Plaintiff has now discovered that the Grimald had altered the Bill of Lading to change the name of the Consignee on the Bill of Lading from that of Olufunmilayo Oluyede (the Plaintiff herein) who is the owner of the vehicle to the name of one Mr. Augustine Odey Ushie, the 2nd Defendant in this case. The plaintiff shall rely on copies of documents newly issued by Grimaldi in the name of Augustine Odey Ushie to enable him to abscond with the vehicle.
THE PURPORTED SALE OF PLAINTIFF’S VEHICLE IS A WELL PRACTICED CROSS BORDER SCAM BETWEEN GHANEM,AND GRIMALD
The alteration of the bill of lading to replace the Augustine Odey Ushie and/or Chris Olekah as Consignee is clearly an attempt to deprive the Plaintiff of her vehicle, now with a value in excess of $70,000,over a paltry debt of 1,570 US Dollars.
It was when the Plaintiff reported the attempt by the Ghanem to deprive her of her vehicle to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon, Lagos that the Augustine Odey Ushie produced the altered Bill of Lading and other documents(at the Roro Tin Can Police station) purportedly showing that Grimaldi had sold the vehicle to him.
The Plaintiff has not authorized Grimaldi or any other person to sell her vehicle nor has she permitted any amendment of the Bill of Lading for the shipping of the vehicle.
The Plaintiff alleged Grimaldi acted in collusion with Ghanem, Augustine Odey Ushie and Chris Olekah in this attempt to deprive the Plaintiff of her vehicle by claiming that the vehicle had been sold via auction to the Augustine Odey Ushie and/or Chris Olekah.
Inquiries have however revealed that the Grimald had as far back as 4th of January 2022, (less than one month after the discharge of the vehicle in Nigeria and issuance of the Invoice of 8th December 2021) concluded the sale or transfer of the Plaintiff’s vehicle to the Augustine Odey Ushie or Chris Olekah.
In an attempt to cover its tracks, the Grimaldi Agency (obviously acting in collusion with Ghanem) subsequently took steps and produced documents including emails showing that they had sold the vehicle to one Chris Oleka (the 3rd Defendant in this case)
In this regard, one Daniel Parks(of Ghanem) by an email sent to Chris Olekah on the 15th of March 2022 listed the plaintiff ‘s vehicle as one of several vehicles purportedly abandoned at the Tin Can island port and offered them for sale to Chris Olekah at various ridiculous prices. The Plaintiff’s vehicle was listed and offered for the $1,502.
Daniel Parks in a subsequent email assured Chris Olekah that Grimaldi would ensure that the correction of the name of the consignee on the Bill of Lading is done.
Chris Olekah in his email response of the same date accepted the offer and urged the urgent release of the vehicle to him ahead of other vehicles in the list.
Thus the Plaintiff’s vehicle at 70,000 US Dollar was purportedly sold to Chris Olekah for a paltry sum of o 1, 502 US Dollars (less than the price of alloy wheels bought and put on the wheels before shipment and even less than the amount stated on Ghanem’s to be the outstanding unpaid freight charges.
A YUKON GMC such as the Plaintiff’s vehicle with a market value of about 70,000 US Dollars (approximately 52million naira)cannot under any circumstances be sold at a paltry sum of 1,502 US Dollars (approximately 800,000 naira) unless same is stolen property.
The claim of the Grimaldi that the Plaintiff’s aforementioned vehicle has been sold via auction is clearly false and an attempt to deprive the Plaintiff of her vehicle.
There was never any auction, it was a well-practiced partnership between Ghanem Forwarding LLC (a Ghanaian owned business based in Maryland USA), the Ghanem and Chris Olekah by which they had been illegally depriving customers of Ghanem shipping to Nigeria of their goods under the guise that they did not pay some invoice
Email exchanges between Ghanem, the Grimaldi and the Chris Olekah admitting this long relationship shall be founded upon at the hearing of this case.
The Plaintiffs shall contend that even if the vehicle had been auctioned as claimed by Grimaldi and Ghanem (which is denied) the purported sale of the vehicle by the Grimaldi and or Ghanem is invalid and void for the following reasons:
Neither the Grimald nor Ghanem has a license to conduct auction sale in Nigeria
The Plaintiff never gave her consent to the purported sale of her
aforementioned vehicle either by auction or thorough other means.
No notice of the purported auction sale was given to the plaintiff or members of the public as required by law
The purported sale of the vehicle valued over 70,000 US Dollars for a paltry sum of 1,502 US Dollar is evidence of criminal intent and an attempt to illegally deprive the plaintiff of her vehicle.
The Plaintiff claim against the defendants are as follows
An order of the court setting aside or nullifying the purported sale of the Plaintiff’s GMC YUKON DENALI Vehicle-VIN No.ICKS2HKJIGR434168
An order directing Grimald to return the Plaintiff’s GMC YUKON DENALI Vehicle-VIN No.1GKS2HKJIGR434168 (subject of Certificate of Title [title number $4982997] issued on October 18th 2021 by the Maryland State of USA Motor Vehicle Authority) to the Plaintiff or her nominee within 48 hours of the judgment of this honorable court without further ado or excuses whatsoever.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants by themselves or their privies, servants, agents or anyone else purporting to be
or for them from selling, transferring or dealing in any manner inconsistent with the Plaintiff’s right of ownership of the GMC YUKON DENALI Vehicle.
Damages, in the sum of N200 million (Two hundred million naira) against the Defendants for the loss of use of the Vehicle from December 2021 when the Vehicle arrive the Tin port until same is release to the Plaintiff as well as other inconvenience caused to the plaintiff by the defendants’ action which has deprived the plaintiff of the use of her Vehicle.
The presiding Judge,Lewis Allagoa has adjourned till October 10 for further hearing.