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06.09.2005 Regional News

Court grants injunction to traders on allocation of stores

GNA

Kumasi, Sept 6, GNA - A Kumasi High Court has granted an interim injunction restraining the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and the former Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah from allocating stores constructed on the second floor of the World Bank financed shopping complex on the land of the Ghana Railway Company for displaced traders at the place.

The court presided over by Mr Justice J K Abrahams asked the defendants and their agents from allocating the stores to any person or group of persons until the final determination of the case. The writ filed by Mr Kofi Sarpong and Mr Owusu Kwarteng on behalf of the traders, was seeking a declaration that since the construction of the shops on the second storey of the building was entirely financed by members of the Railway Traders Association, the former Metropolitan Chief Executive and the KMA were excluded from having any interest and could not allocate them to any one or group of persons.

According to the association, sometime in 1990, the World Bank provided funds to the Government of Ghana to undertake a project in Kumasi called the Urban Environmental Sanitation Project. Under the project some drains had to be constructed at Kejetia, which was being implemented by the KMA as the local government agency. The traders said in order to implement a component of the project known as the Kumasi Drainage Improvement Works, a number of structures being used as shops by traders around the railway terminal had to be demolished and the traders relocated.

They said a list of all the persons whose property was to be demolished was compiled.

The traders stated that they were 102 and they came together to form an association, which they called the "Railway Traders Association".

The Association said the World Bank had property to be demolished valued and provided money as compensation.

After a series of negotiations, it was agreed that the World Bank should give the money for compensation to the KMA to put up a store complex for the displaced traders.

They said in order to facilitate this arrangement, the 102 displaced persons negotiated with the Ghana Railway Company for permission to use a portion of their land opposite the Kumasi Central Market for the project.

The Association said the Railway Company obliged and released the land to them who in turn handed it over to the KMA for the construction of the shopping complex for them.

The traders stated with regret that the KMA had up to date failed to deliver upon its obligations.

They said the initial design of the shopping complex was a one-storey building consisting of 156 shops and that the KMA had substantially completed the building as was designed at the time that Mr Kofi Jumah was appointed the Metropolitan Chief Executive. The traders said inexplicitly, Mr Jumah sought to demolish the shopping complex and the Association had to fight tooth and nail to save their project.

Later, they said Mr Jumah insisted that the design of the shopping complex had to be changed and another floor added to the structure to which members of the association agreed and paid 16 million cedis being the cost of the additional floor.

The Association said the additional floor project was given to Messrs Attachy Construction on June 16, 2003 to be completed within 24 weeks but said to date it had not yet been completed and handed over to them.

They said frustrated by the delay and based on credible information that the KMA and the contractor on site were allocating the stores to their parties, the Association went to court to assert its right to the property.

The traders said judgement was entered in their favour in respect of the original 102 stores and the keys handed over to them and that an injunction has further been placed on the KMA not to allocate any of the remaining shops to any person or group of persons as the Association was laying claim to all the shops in the complex.

The court expressed the belief that the documents so far filed in court showed that the Railway Traders Association had a good arguable case in claiming the whole shopping complex.

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