Four hundred people are demanding compensation from the State Housing Company (SHC) for breach of faith and contract after the company had failed to deliver the houses they had deposited various sums of money for.
They are also asking SHC to build and deliver the houses they had paid for many years ago.
The Managing Director of SHC, Dr Mark Nii Akwei Ankrah, who testified before the Judgement Debt Commission at its sitting in Accra yesterday, could, however, not give details of how much compensation the people were demanding or the quantum of money they had paid.
He pointed out, though, that the payment of either the compensation or the deposits could cripple the operations of the SHC.
Dr Ankrah said assuming each person was to be given GH˘50,000, one could imagine the amount of compensation to be paid by the company.
“The claims of 10 depositors alone could cripple the company,” he stressed.
Dr Ankrah, therefore, called for a stakeholders’ dialogue on how to salvage the company for it to play its expected role in housing delivery.
Some of the depositors, he said, were demanding the current market value of the amounts they had paid years ago when the company was then a corporation whose mandate was to put up houses as a social service and not for profit.
Moreover, he said, they were also asking SHC to provide the exact housing facility they paid for in the past, although the value today was far in excess of what they had paid to the then corporation.
Another problem confronting the company, he said, was the non-payment of compensation on lands given to it by the government.
As Dr Ankrah narrated the present state of the company, the Sole Commissioner, Justice Yaw Appau, retorted, “I now see your problem; it is a serious problem.”
According to Dr Ankrah, the SHC could deliver once it had the needed support, adding that so far the company had used its internally generated funds to complete five houses.
“We have to be put to the test,” he stated.
Earlier, he had told the commission that he was not aware of the payment of judgement debt of GH˘27 million to Nana Owusu Achiaw Prempeh, the Chief of Worakese in the Ashanti Region.
Dr Ankrah said he had been in office for three years but was not aware of any such payment until he received a letter of subpoena to appear before the commission.
The state had acquired the land for the construction of a hospital at Worakese in 1944 but the project could not come off.
The Chief Valuer in charge of Compensation at the Lands Valuation Division of the Land Valuation Board, Mr Kwesi Bentsi-Enchil, who also appeared yesterday, told the commission that he was also not aware of the payment of the amount to the chief.
He said he got to know of that payment from some of those who had appeared before the commission.
Mr Justice Appau was not happy with the situation, indicating that the office needed to have copies of such payments.
Meanwhile, the commission said it would continue with its public sitting on Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29, 2013.
Representatives of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Public Procurement Authority and International Tobacco (Ghana) Limited are scheduled to appear before the commission for the first time to assist it in its work.
Others expected to appear before the commission are representatives of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), the Registrar-General’s Department and the Attorney-General’s Department.
Source: Daily Graphic
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