Ghana’s State Housing Company faces 400 legal suits

law-and-justiceDr Mark Nii Akwei Ankrah, Managing Director, State Housing Company (SHC), on Wednesday said the company was embroiled in about 400 legal suits, which could eventually cripple its fortunes.

He described the situation as terrible and explained that the predicament was due to funds received from clients for the construction of buildings as far back as the 1970s, but failed to deliver at the time.

Dr Ankrah, who appeared before the Judgment Debt Commission, noted that the company, which was hitherto known as the State Housing Corporation and fully owned by Government acquired lands for the projects.

“But since we have now become a limited liability company, and pay for lands acquired by us without government involvement, people now think we are making money and are always taking us to court,” he told the sole Commissioner.

He appeared before the Commissioner, Justice Yaw Apau to answer questions pertaining to the payment of GH¢27 million to Nana Owusu Akyaw Prempeh II, Chief of Worakese in the Ashanti Region by the Attorney-General’s Department in 2008.

Dr Ankrah noted people whose moneys the SHC received in the 1970’s for the projects, which we were not executed, have now taken the company to court to claim for such projects when the market value had changed.

“Example, people who paid for two bedroom houses in the 1970s, have now taken us to court to claim for their two bedroom houses in this era when the moneys paid cannot be used to complete such projects,” he said.

He intimated that even if the courts should order them to pay for 10 out of their numerous cases in a year, it might collapse the company.

Dr Ankrah told the Commissioner that due to the poor state of affairs of the company, it failed to attract buyers when it was put on divestiture.

He noted that the company played a very strategic role in providing the housing needs of Ghanaians and should not be allowed to go down.

Sympathizing with the predicaments of the SHC, the sole Commissioner, referred Dr Ankrah to a consultant, who could advice on how the company, could turn its fortunes around.

On the payment of GH¢27 million to Nana Prempeh II, Dr Ankrah could not confirm whether SHC was aware of the payment since files available to him did not state so.

He noted that there was scanty evidence of representation of SHC in court even though they were heavily involved in the suit.

On Monday, Nana Owusu Akyaw Prempeh II, Chief of Worakese admitted to the Sole Commissioner that the traditional authority was paid GH¢27 million by the Attorney-General’s Department in 2008 for lands taken by then colonial Government in 1945 for the construction of a hospital which it failed to do.

He said the colonial government then handed over the 107 acres land to the then State Housing Corporation (SHC), instead of giving it back to the traditional authority.

He said STC also gave portions of the land to the Police Service for the construction of barracks and used the rest to put up buildings for sale without paying compensation to the Worakese stool.

This, he said, resulted in the court action by the traditional authority because it felt cheated by the actions of the SHC.

He told the Commissioner that although the court settled on GH¢49 million, they eventually paid GH¢27 million after negotiations with the Attorney-General’s Department.

Source: GNA

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