Justice C. A. Balogun of the Lagos High Court has declared Lagos-based nonagenarian lawyer, Pa Tunji Gomez, as a full beneficiary of the Estate of Chief T.A. Doherty. In a separate, but related matter, Justice Wasiu Animahun of the same court also entered judgment in Gomez’s favour in a N5.3million lawsuit.
Justice Animahun, in a March 19 judgment, ordered the defendants in the suit marked LD/1923/2011, to pay Gomez N5.3million at 15 per cent interest from October 26, 2011 until the final liquidation of the sum. The defendants in the suit are Mrs. Lanre Emmanuel and the estate of Chief T.A. Doherty.
Gomez, 90, had prayed the court to hold that he is a beneficiary of the estate of the late Chief T.A. Doherty pursuant to the “Will and codicil of the deceased, dated 25/05/1964 and 17/06/1974”.
He claimed that for over 30 years, the four executors of the deceased’s estate, including Emmanuel, had been paying him and his sister along with other beneficiaries until 2004 “when the defendants disbursed N300,000 to each of the beneficiaries but refused to give the claimant his entitlement.”
Gomez claimed that he was also excluded in 2016 when the estate executors disbursed N5million to each of the beneficiaries. In her statement of defence, Emmanuel admitted the existence of the Will and codicil “but denied the claimant as a child or residuary beneficiary or legatee under the Will”.
But Justice Animahun held that the deceased did not discriminate or make any distinction between his children and Gomez. The judge held: “Consequent on the above, I hold that the claims succeed.”Justice Animahun ordered the defendants to pay Gomez N5.3million with interest, “within three days”.
In an earlier suit before Justice Balogun, marked LD/197LMW/2015, Gomez sued the same defendants following a dispute over the execution of the will. Justice Balogun resolved the clause, “… the children of my sister Deshiyan, that is Tunji Gomez and his sister Bopo should be considered as my children in the context of this will…,” in Gomez’s favour.
He held: “It “qualifies the claimant and his sister Bopo as children/beneficiaries of the said will of Chief T. A. Doherty with the same rights and privileges and benefits to which all the children/beneficiaries are entitled.”