“Helen-Prest was never married to my husband” — Widow of late business tycoon tells Lagos high court
The fight over the late Lagos businessman Dr. Tosin Ajayi’s inheritance is heating up in the Federal High Court in Lagos, with his wife Oluwayemisi Ajayi accusing a former Miss Nigeria, Helen Prest, of adultery.
In a 27-paragraph counter-affidavit submitted in response to Prest’s lawsuit, the widow stated that she and her husband were legally married under the Marriage Act and had never divorced until his death.
Prest, she claimed, had an unlawful connection with Dr. Ajayi as his concubine while knowing about his ongoing marriage.
First Foundation Medical Engineering Company Ltd (FFMECL); Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); Oluwayemisi Ajayi; and Patrick Abak, a lawyer are the first to fourth respondents in the complaint, which was filed on July 23, 2021.
Tomisin Ajayi, Helen Prest’s daughter, was identified as the first plaintiff, while Helen Prest was listed as the second plaintiff.
Who should control FFMECL and other properties controlled by the company is at the heart of the legal struggle.
Helen Prest’s daughter (first plaintiff) stated in her 71-paragraph statement in support of the claim against the respondents that her late father married Oluwayemisi and they had children, but that they were separated for 35 years before her father’s death.
Tomisin stated that during their divorce, the late Ajayi and her mother, Helen Prest, married and had a child.
However, Oluwayemisi Ajayi stated in a counter-affidavit filed on September 13, 2021, that she was aware that Tomisin presented herself as the “love child of an adulterous relationship” between her deceased husband, Dr. Ajayi, and “his adulteress,” Helen Prest.
Although the deponent was unable to confirm whether Tomisin Ajayi is a child of her late husband because the late Ajayi did not introduce her to the family during his lifetime, she stated that she was willing to accept the first plaintiff as one of the beneficiaries of her late husband’s estate in good faith.
On the subject of FFMECL ownership, the widow claimed that she and the late Ajayi co-founded the company and that her late husband was never the sole beneficial shareholder or director. She maintained that she has always been a shareholder and director of FFMEC since the company’s inception.
The widow stated that she was legally married to the late Ajayi and that there was no divorce. Helen Prest was asked to provide any document that contradicted her marriage certificate.
“My late husband never cohabited (and never decided to cohabit) as a common-law partner in the United Kingdom with the second plaintiff,” she said.
“From the beginning, the second plaintiff desired a marriage and a legally recognised relationship with my late husband, Dr. Ajayi (including urging him to divorce me), a proposition that he consistently rejected throughout his life despite the second plaintiff’s incessant requests.”
“Although Helen Prest was my deceased husband’s concubine, she was never a shareholder, director, officer, employee, or business partner of, or otherwise associated with, FFMECL or any other companies in which my husband was a major shareholder (including those in which I am also a shareholder),” the widow continued.