I paid $60,000 without instructions to GHL – Embattled Estate developer tells court

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The Chief Executive Officer of AD Construction Limited, Mr Alex Dautey, who was sued at the Lands Division of the Accra High Court for unlawfully causing the demolition of a three-bedroom estate house purchased from his company, has accepted full responsibility of the demolition of the property sold to the plaintiff 11 years ago at the cost of $200,000.00.

Mr Dautey, the 2nd Defendant in the case, also told the court that, “I do not have at this moment the specific covenants that were breached” by the plaintiff that warranted the demolition of the estate building.

The CEO of AD Construction made this known to the Court presided over by Justice Samuel Asare Nyarko on day two of his cross-examination by plaintiff’s lawyer, Alhaji Farouk Seidu.

Under further scrutiny from counsel, the Defendant also told the court that he paid the $60,000 to the Ghana Home Loans without any instruction from the plaintiff.

Below are few of the questions and answers

Q: Now, in these exhibits, you changed figures regarding the sale of the property at will.

Ans: I disagree. My Lord, I didn’t make the change at will. As I was saying yesterday (Tuesday), once more, I want to remind this court that nobody will part with $101, 000 without signing a contract and getting a receipt, so My Lord, Exhibit 1 and 2, if you look at them, were both prepared by me as the seller and both were signed by the plaintiff and the seller. When you go further to look at Exhibit B and C they were solely prepared by myself for the means of convenience to assist the plaintiff in this matter to qualify for the $60, 000 mortgage granted by Ghana Home Loans, the bank.

Q. Now Before the loan, was applied for at Ghana Home Loans, the building had been completed.

A. Correct

Q. And same was handed over to plaintiff, is that correct?

A. Yes, it is correct

Q. From that time up to the time the building was pulled down, neither you nor your company had any interest in the property.

A. I disagree. Because the estate is laid out in a way that all the properties within the estate which is the gated community are intertwined and we crafted our sub-lease agreement allowing us to enter any of the properties. I mean the land, by sending a written consent to our buyers because of our interest in the land. The land on which the properties of our buyers still belong to us. The land still belongs to the company. We did it so because the sewage system for the entire area goes to a central point within the estate.

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Q. Look at Exhibit E, what is exhibit E?

A. Exhibit E is a sub-lease agreement that we issue to our buyers.

Q. Exhibit E is the sub-lease agreement issued to the plaintiff, not to all, and this agreement is for how many years?

A. 60 years

Q. I suggest to you that within the said 60 years you have neither ownership right nor interest in both the land and the building thereon?

A. I disagree. We make the plaintiff aware that during the question of the lease all maintenance of the land, the sewage system and the common areas of the gated community will be managed and solely managed by our company. Due to that, we make the plaintiff aware by giving out rules and regulations governing the gated community or estate and that is why My Lord, I said that we have interest in the land and we made the plaintiff aware of that. So even until the house was demolished, the plaintiff was aware that all repair works on the land and the house itself can only be carried out by our company.

Q. You ordered the demolition of property, is that correct?

A. Absolutely. After I carried out the demolition, I wrote to the plaintiff accepting full responsibility for demolishing the property so I immediately approached Ghana Home Loans to pay in full the $60, 000 cheque that he paid to me. I called the plaintiff to direct him where I should pay his refund and I’m prepared to come and meet him in London to discuss any compensation that he wants above the $101, 000 he gave me. And he told the lawyers and the lawyers of the banks will meet me in court. When the matter came to court, I personally and humbly approached his lawyers and requested a settlement. We couldn’t agree on the numbers, we couldn’t agree on the settlement amount so I advised my lawyer to inform the court that in order not to waste the court’s time, I, 1st and 2nd Defendants, accept full responsibility for the demolition and we should wait for the decision by the judge for the settlement of this issue.

Q. You remember that you were at a point in time instructed by the plaintiff to collect rents from the tenants who were occupying the property?

A. Yes. But when I collect the rent from tenants, I render statements of accounts to the plaintiff

Q. I suggest to you that the whole period that you collected rents from the tenants you never accounted to plaintiff regarding monies received from his rents for the whole period?

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A. I disagree. Because, if the plaintiff has the property that is being managed for income and for seven years and no account has been rendered and the plaintiff could not react, then something is wrong. My Lord, I did render an account to the plaintiff.

Q. You see, it is because you were refusing to render accounts that was why plaintiff asked you to stop collecting rent of the property

A. I disagree. The plaintiff built his house purposely for the mother. The mother was with them in the UK by then and the mother relocated to stay in this property in Ghana from London. During this period, the property was not yielding any income because the occupants were family of the plaintiff. However, it was incurring the cost of maintenance fees of $1,200 each year and that accumulated during the period the mother was living in the property. He (the plaintiff) didn’t any payment to that effect, so the mother left the property and went back to London that she doesn’t want to stay in Ghana again. So when I went to London, I met the plaintiff and he suggested to me that I should rent out the property for him so that I will use the proceeds of the rental income to pay out the outstanding maintenance fee debt. So during the first rental payment, he told me to take part of the money to offset the maintenance fee debt.

Q. The last tenant left the place in November 2016

A. Yes

Q. And thereafter, the plaintiff asked you to hand over the keys to his brother and lawful attorney, Jerry Amesimeku?

A. Correct

Q. And for months, you refused to hand over keys to Jerry Amesimeku?

A. That is correct, because as at the time he wanted the house and keys handed over things were not adding up… all these feud started because of maintenance fee payment, so I travelled and before I came back, the plaintiff instructed his brother to break into the property, which he did. So on my return, I ordered the plaintiff brother to move out. And this misunderstanding led to the demolition of the property which I still accept full responsibility.

Q. You claimed that you paid a certain $60, 000 to Ghana Home Loans?

A. Yes

Q. And you did that not on behalf of plaintiff, correct?

A. My Lord, I paid the $60, 000, on behalf of the plaintiff. I wrote to notify the plaintiff and I wrote to the bank and they are aware of what led to the payment of the $60, 000 for which there was a receipt to that effect.

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Q. Now you will agree with me that the plaintiff instructed you to pay any money on his behalf

A. Yes. The plaintiff never instructed me, but I receive payment from the bank and I found that it was prudent that if I demolish the property which the bank has given me money for, I should give the sub-lease documents because as at the time the property was demolished, the sub-lease agreement was with the bank and has not been given to the plaintiff. I gave it to the bank and in exchange, they gave me$60, 000 mortgage payment and that is why I went to pay the money back without even considering the balance left. I just refunded what I collected from the bank, which was 60,000 dollars.

Clarity on refunded $60,000 to the bank

The plaintiff, clarifying issues, said the property cost $200,000 and $140,000 was paid directly to the CEO of AD Construction. The plaintiff explained that the $60,000 mortgage from Ghana Home Loans was then paid directly to Mr Dautey on receipt of all documents to the bank

According to him, the mortgage was being paid on the $60,000 at $810 per month for 15years and on completion of payment all documents regarding to the property would be handed back to plaintiff by the bank and not defendant as “I have nothing to do with him until 60years when the lease is due to be renewed.”

The plaintiff contended that after defendant pulled down the house, he decided to pay the bank $60,000 without my instruction and “I informed the bank not to accept the money, but they said their security is on the house which is no more, so they will accept the payment and will register all the documents in my name, as the complete owner of the house prior to its demolition, which they did and posted all the original documents to me.”

Plaintiff said at the time 2nd defendant went and settled the loan with the bank, the outstanding loan left at the time was around $60,000 as mortgage life attracts interest for the first few years before decreasing capital and at that time “I have also paid $810 x 12months x 10years amounting to $97,000 to the bank.He added that “If you do the calculation,2nd defendant still owes me $97,000-$60,000= $37,000.”

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