For the first time in 16 years, an elated victim of political vendetta, Mr. B.A. Mensah, yesterday set foot on the premises of his giant tobacco company, International Tobacco Ghana Ltd, which was seized from him by the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) for alleged non-payment of taxes to the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and nearly shed tears of joy.
The 81-year-old business tycoon breezed into the compound of his baby company, which was then employing 14,000 Ghanaians before it was taken away from him in 1989, following a court's order in January, this year, that the government returns his property to Mr. B.A. Mensah.
Before he entered the premises, he was made to sign the visitor's book by security men at the gate, but he maintained his composure, and signed it, before entering. The PNDC administration seized the company on July 25, 1989 and sold it to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for ¢1.2billion, which also in turn, sold part of it to a private company, Duraplast, currently, producing plastic pipes. Duraplast company has taken over the main factory buildings, the warehouses, as well as the main administration block while SSNIT is occupying the special administration block, meant for Mr. B.A. Mensah. Mr. Mensah sued SSNIT, CEPS and the government in court for illegal possession of the property in 1990. SSNIT was the first defendant, CEPS second, and the government was third, in the case. In its ruling, an Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Kofi Akwaah, ordered the government to return all property belonging to Mr. Mensah, seized in 1989 by the PNDC administration to him.
I celebrate this great victory not only for myself, but more importantly for the up and coming entrepreneurs and local investors, who can now operate in freedom and under the rule of law, but not under the arbitrary rule," Mr. Mensah pointed out. Mr. Mensah told Daily Guide that he was happy to see his company returned to him, because the political vendetta he suffered could have sent him to his grave, prematurely. Daily Guide learnt that the case has not been completed, because the court is yet to give its final judgment in relation to who is to suffer cost, and who is to compensate who, in the case. However, the substantiveness of the case is that the court has ruled that the property be given back to