Management of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has been caught in another scandal, this time working tooth and nail to collapse indigenous Ghanaian businesses to the benefit of foreigners.

singer house
singer house has gathered from extensive investigations that SSNIT had sold the ?Singer House? located opposite the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and few meters away from the Accra Post Office to Russians without duly informing the tenants occupying the facility.

The attempt by SSNIT comes at a time when the Government is making strenuous efforts to grow local businesses and to ensure local enterprises are protected so as to create employment in the country.

SSNIT?s decision is to dispose off all the 12 businesses that are housed in ?Singer House? under rent to be able to sell off its trust to Yoo Mart Limited.

A letter from SSNIT said, ?We wish to inform you that, SSNIT intends to dispose off the Singer House property which you currently occupy and you are being given the first option to purchase. If you are desirous of buying the property, please indicate your interest and furnish us your offer price on or before 29th October, 2012.?

But our information indicates that YOO MART had already been given the right to purchase the said building by SNNIT before the offer was made to the occupants.

Interestingly, SSNIT which has over the period been selling state properties has divested its interest in the said property to M/S YOO MART LIMITED-Accra, a Russian company which is also bent on ejecting tenants from the building without giving them any prior information or grace period to look for another accommodation, as it has already sold the property before giving the occupants notice of purchase.

Information gathered by during its investigations reveal that even though SSNIT recognizes the fact that the said building is being used for business purposes, it failed to offer the opportunity to the occupants to have the first choice of purchasing the structure before going ahead with the sale.

The said offer made to tenants was just a way to blindfold them as far as SSNIT?s unwillingness to give the property to them and to ensure they are ejected from the building.

The information also reveal that the SSNIT Board has given its approval for the management to eject the tenants in the building by the close of December this year to give way to Yoo Mart Limited.

A notice sighted by this paper headlined, ?NOTICE TO QUIT PREMISES-REMINDER?, signed by Baffour Akoto confirming the decision that the building had been sold out, has already been sent to all occupants of the unit.

Although the notice states: ?you were therefore given seven (7) months from 1st June to 31st December 2013 to give vacant possession of the premises you occupy to the new owners on or before the end of December 2013,?

Meanwhile, tenants were pressured to pay for the 7months. In a letter written to the tenants, SSNIT stated that, ?Our records indicate that you are in areas of rent to the tune of GH?742.00 as at June, 2013 representing 7 months of default. We further wish to remind you that by the terms of letting, your rent for the 3rd quarter (i.e July 2013 to September 2013) in the sum of GH?318.00 became due for payment on 1st July, 2013.?

SSNIT also indicated that it was offering tenants final notice to settle their total indebtedness in the sum of GH?1,060.00 by 30th August, 2013, which tenants duly settled.

The letter indicated that SSNIT will not be ready to countenance any excuses from tenants.

Consequently, information gathered is that SSNIT had earlier informed tenants about the decision to sell the property with some tenants entering their bids for $900,000.

Sadly, SSNIT failed to contact the tenants over their bids but went ahead and sold the property to YOO MART Limited at the cost of $850,000.

Although there are claims that SSNIT had given tenants ample time to relocate, documents available indicate otherwise.

From available documents, the advertisement of the building was placed ahead of the quit notice given to tenants.

Another interesting revelation is that, the contact numbers pasted on the advertisement through which one has to contact the sale agents were incorrect, making it impossible for tenants who are even interested in purchasing the property to get through.

Also, a letter written by YOO MART Limited to tenants asking them to quit the premises stated that, ?those who will not release the occupied property by the 31st December 2013, the fine of GH?1.5/m2 a day will be charged from 01st January 2014.?

This paper can say that, this draconian terms being introduced by YOO MART Limited with the support of SSNIT is brewing some tension among tenants of ?Singer House? who believe the decision and actions by both SSNIT and YOO MART are against the Rent Act?of Ghana.

It is alleged that SSNIT and YOO MART will be resorting to bullying tactics and divisive methods intended to cow the tenants who will not leave the building by 31st December 2013, into submission, amidst threats of court action.

It is unfortunate that government sits and allows foreign nationals to take over the local market at the expense of local people. Recently, management of Accra Mall has come up with some draconian rules of agreement which is creating tension within the tenants.

It intends to audit their books compulsorily every month in order to know how much each tenant earns for them to be charged under a new ‘turnover’ rule.

Under the new agreement, the tenants are required to pay their rents as well as?electricity bills?in dollars, when the?Bank of Ghana?rules do not allow them to sell their?goods and services?in foreign currencies.
Although the?average rent?increase should be between two and five percent, the management of Accra Mall is said to be demanding a seven-percent increase.

Furthermore, all tenants are expected to pay more than 100?percent?in increments, from an average of $26/m2 five years ago, to an average of $55, clearly in contravention of the Rent Act.

In addition to this, the man?agement is also asking the tenants to pay an average of seven to eight percent of their gross turnover as part of theirmonthly rental?pay?ment.

However, speaking to some tenants at ?Singer House,? they expressed their frustration and called on government to intervene and ensure that local businesses are protected.

They also called on SSNIT to review their latest decision and start the process all over to allow tenants have the first option of purchasing the building, and in the event that they fail, SSNIT can go ahead with the sale to other entities or individuals.

They also described the price quoted by YOO MART as fee to be paid after the 31st deadline as exorbitant and a killer fee.


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