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Trustees chase Yaw Boakye for property: As controversy over Osei Boakye’s assets deepens

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
The building which is the subject matter of the dispute
The building which is the subject matter of the dispute

The trustees of a trust fund set up under the Will of the late Edward Osei Boakye of Boakye Mattress fame have initiated a legal action to recover a commercial building from Yaw Boakye, son of the late business magnate.

Trustees of the Edward Osei Boakye Trust Fund are seeking permission from the Supreme Court to issue a writ of possession in order to take over the building which has been a subject of litigation since 2008.

It is the case of the trustees that Yaw Boakye has failed to pay rent of $2.5 million on the building, as well as fulfill other obligations under a consent judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in 2014.

“That, on account of the judgment-debtor’s (Yaw Boakye) persistent refusal to perform any of his obligations since the adoption of the terms of settlement as consent judgment, the judgment –creditors (Trustees) are entitled to recovery of possession of the entire property,” the motion averred.

The new legal action is part of moves to by the trustees to enforce the decision of the Supreme Court after many attempts by Yaw Boakye to set it aside failed.

It also follows a ruling by the Supreme Court on March 16, this year, barring Yaw Boakye from filing any legal action which seeks to frustrate the execution of the consent judgment without obtaining permission from the court.

Garnishee proceedings

Meanwhile, lawyers of the trustees are battling out FBN Bank, a tenant of the building, at the apex court, in garnishee proceedings to recover $3.3 million paid to Yaw Boakye by the bank as rent.

The Chief Financial Officer of FBN, Semiu Lamidi, has filed an affidavit contending that the bank is not liable to pay the said amount.

According to him, FBN had paid all the $3.3 million outstanding rent to Yaw Boakye (its landlord) to enable him to fulfil his obligations to the trust fund per the ruling of the Supreme Court.

It is, therefore, the case of the bank that it owes no obligations to the trustees and, therefore, if they have any issue, they should resolve it with Yaw Boakye and not drag the bank into the dispute.

However, the trustees have accused FBN Bank of allegedly working with Yaw Boakye to “overreach the consent judgment” by paying the rent to Yaw Boakye despite a High Court order for the rent to be paid into the custody of the court.

Background

Edward Osei Boakye died in 2006 and at the time of his death the building, located between Opeibea and the Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra, was uncompleted.

The first court case in relation to the building was filed on October 17, 2008, by the trustees challenging the validity of a letter purportedly written by the executors of the estate of the late businessman, allegedly allowing Yaw Boakye to complete and take over the building.

The trustees lost at the High Court, but won at the Court of Appeal in 2011 after the second-highest court of the land held that per the will and testament of the deceased, the building was supposed to be given to the Edward Osei Boakye Trust Fund.

The Court of Appeal, therefore, ordered Yaw Boakye to cease all construction works on the property, and also vacate it.

Aggrieved by the decision of the Court of Appeal, Yaw Boakye filed an appeal at the Supreme Court but while the appeal was pending, the parties decided to settle the matter based on terms of settlement, which was adopted by the Supreme Court as consent judgment.

Terms of settlement

Under the terms of settlement, the trustees agreed to sublet the property to Yaw Boakye for a period of 15 years, from May 1, 2015 to April 30, 2030 for a monthly rent of $35,000, payable in cedis annually.

The terms of settlement also included a commitment by Yaw Boakye to allocate one office space on the ground floor of the building upon completion of works.

Court documents showed that Yaw Boakye paid the first year rent of $420,000 after which he reneged on his obligations.

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