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01.10.2008 Business & Finance

Real Estate Developer assaults investor?

By Ivy Benson - Ghanaian Chronicle

Responding to pleadings made by government for increased investment in the country, a young British investor had the shock of her life, when she was allegedly subjected to severe beatings, upon a requesting for the refund of a purchase consideration of a transaction which failed.

Mrs. Genevieve Bekhti (nee Antwi-Nimoh), who sustained some cane marks on her body, as a result of the physical assault meted out to her by Mrs. Esi Gbedema, a Real Estate Developer, at the offices of Finali Limited, located in Suite 122, Airport, Aviation House, on September 16 this year, had made a formal complaint against her assailant at the Nima Divisional Headquarters of the Ghana Police Service.

An enquiry, made at the Nima Police Station indicates that a case of assault had been made against the real estate developer, and investigations into the issue had begun, and would likely receive the attention of the court, when completed.

The issue had also caught the attention of the British Embassy, which has also launched an investigation into the case.

Narrating the sequence of events, which led to her ordeal, to The Chronicle, the dejected investor noted that she and her husband, Mr. Tayeb Bekhti, who are based in London, entered into an agreement with Mr. & Mrs. Gbedema, directors of Finali Limited, for the purchase of some piece of land at Airport Hills.

According to Mrs. Bekhti, upon paying the total cost of the land, placed at $130,000 and expecting to be owners of the property, were ripped off the title deeds, as the directors of the real estate company decided to pull out of the transaction.

Mrs. Bekhti noted that they were refused legal documents, including indenture covering the land, after making the final payment of the land after several demands, but were demanded by the real estate company to clear the plot off weeds, or pay an extra $500 for the weeds to be cleared.

The victim indicated that she agreed to make her mother, who is living in Ghana, organise to have the land cleared, but Mrs. Esi Gbedema informed her in writing that she would clear the plot herself.

“I called to thank her and promised to reimburse her,” Mrs. Bekhti noted.

The complainant, however pointed out that after two weeks, Mr. Kofi Gbedema, wrote to inform them that they were withdrawing from the sale agreement, which they agreed to only if the full amount paid, will be refunded to them.

Mrs. Bekhti asserted that despite the agreement for a refund of the monies they paid for the property, they were told on several occasions by the secretaries of the directors of Finali Limited, that the Gbedema's were unwilling to speak on the issue, and that they should contact their lawyers, whose identities were not provided.

The victim held that she left for London to seek legal advice, and meet them in person to discuss the issue.

“On Monday, 15th September at around 11:30, I went to the offices of Finali Limited, with a female friend and a driver. We met Mr. Gbedema on the stairs, and followed him to the first floor of his office. He kept us waiting for more that 15 minutes at the reception, so we finally walked into his office, sat down and asked for our money. He then said that he did not want to discuss it, and that we should speak to his lawyers.

“I proceeded to ask him who his lawyers were, and why, because we paid the money to him. I informed him I will be back, as I was going to see my lawyers to commence legal action. I then went to see my lawyers that afternoon,” Mrs. Bekhti narrated.

The victim then indicated that she had been informed that the director of the real estate company had refunded only $50,000 into their bank, and further lodged a formal complaint in writing at the Lands Department, of the Police Headquarters on September 16, this year, and then proceeded to see her lawyer for a letter demanding the rest of the money.

Continuing about her ordeal, Mrs. Bekhti noted, “I went to Finali offices at Aviation House, Airport, to leave a copy of the letter. My driver and I signed in at the security desk at Aviation House and went upstairs. When we got to the office, there was no one at the reception, so I opened the door to Mr. Gbedema's office, left the door open, walked in and told Mr. Gbedema I was bringing a copy of a legal letter, and placed the letter on his desk.

“I proceed to walk back out, when Mrs. Gbedema said 'hold on a minute,' and said that today she was going to beat me. She then asked a member of her staff to bring the cane she had bought yesterday. At this, I tried to leave the office, but she stopped me. With two of her staff, and Mr. Gbedema also in the office, she proceeded to hit me with the cane. I fell to the floor, almost twisting my ankles, broke the heel of my shoe, and was crying and screaming from shock and pain.”

According to the victim, her driver, who was at the reception, had to run downstairs to call the security guards, who then came to escort her downstairs, without her bag, which was left on the floor of the office.

“I felt I had been gang assaulted by Mrs. Gbedema, Mr. Gbedema and her staff, as they had all stood by in the office whilst she assaulted me. It is an experience I will never ever forget,” the victim lamented.