Ruling reserved in Shah, Equity case

Source: Ruling reserved in Shah, Equity case | Herald (Business)

Business Reporter

The High Court has reserved judgment on an urgent chamber application in which businessman, Jayesh Shah’s British Virgin Islands incorporated — Al Shams Global — sought the cancellation of a replacement title deed to a piece of land owned by local firm, Equity Properties.

Al Shams is also seeking an order for Equity Properties to be barred from further developing or selling pieces of land subdivided from the block of land represented by the title deed.

The matter was set-down for hearing on October 29, 2019 and was heard by High Court Judge Justice Owen Tagu. Justice Tagu had previously heard another case between the parties relating to issues on the same dispute he has to resolve between them now.

Justice Tagu reserved the judgment after hearing the arguments from both of the feuding parties.

Essentially, the dispute pertains to a title deed to a piece of land that is owned by Equity Properties. The title deed is in Al Shams’ possession, but Equity argues that Al Shams is holding the land title illegally after taking hold of the document without its consent.

The property firm has argued in numerous court cases, about 10 and seven of them by Al Shams, relating to various aspects of the same dispute, that Al Shams’ holding of the title deed is illegal because as per Assignment Agreement and Security Trust Deed between Al Shams and Interfin, the transfer of the land title required Equity’s signature.

Interfin, which transferred the title deed to Al Shams, took possession of the document lawfully as security for the loan facility that Equity got from the bank before its collapse.

Equity argues also that Al Shams Global is holding the title deed to its property illegally given that basis for such possession is a disputed matter in terms of pending matters under HC8113/16, being a claim for debt purportedly secured by the title deed.

Previously, Justice Tagu ruled that the parties must adhere to terms of the Security Assignment Agreement and Security Trust Deed between them in terms of clause 5.1 (a) of the agreement.

Clause 2.1 of the same agreement also required that Interfin be custodians of the title deeds.

Recently High Court Judge Justice Edith Mushore ordered the consolidation of various cases about the same dispute between Al Shams Global and Equity Properties saying the duplicitous nature of the cases warranted that they be dealt with at once.

Through the urgent chamber application, Al Shams is seeking to have a replacement land title it holds; deed 9068/200, being Lot 3 of Bannockbun, to be cancelled and for Equity Property to be barred from further developing, subdividing or selling it.

Equity had obtained a replacement title deed from the Registrar of Deeds after obtaining a default judgment against Al Shams regarding the latter’s alleged illegal holing of the deed.

Al Shams claims Equity hypothecated the said deed and tendered it for a loan facility it obtained from Interfin Bank, which transferred the original land title now in dispute, to Al Shams.

“Interfin Banking Corporation had pledged and surrendered the original title deed as security against certain amounts the bank borrowed from applicant,” Al Shams says.

“In addition, the parties embroiled in dispute where several matters have been consolidated under HC 8113/19 in which applicant is primarily claiming the sum of US$ 2 267 227, which is securitised by the title deed 9068.”

But Equity argues that it has fully repaid the loan from Interfin, for which it had surrendered the title deed to its land property with the total amount coming to US$3 million including interest, hence must have had its title deed handed back a long time ago.

But it has averred that when it demanded the title deed, Interfin was not able to give back the security and revealed that the title deed had been taken by Al Shams. Interfin is in the process of being liquidated after it stopped operations in 2012 due to liquidity issues.

Al Shams claims Equity obtained a replacement title deed to the original one that it holds through a default judgment in 2018, which it has successfully contested, but again the property firm has
since appealed rescission order to the itSupreme Court.