Regent University’s properties up for auction over GH¢9m debt

Leading Accra-based private tertiary institution, Regent University College has seen one of its buildings been put up for auction.

A generator, two cars and a bus belonging to the University have been auctioned as well.

One of the cars is said to be owned by its Chancellor.

The auctioning is believed to be in line with a court ruling and is intended to defray it’s indebtedness to Obokom Civil Engineering Ltd.

The building and other properties were put up for auction on Wednesday, May 13.

A visit to the school on Thursday, May 14, revealed that court bailiffs on Wednesday 13th May, 2020, from the Commercial Court, Accra served a Fieri Facias (Fifa) against the movable and immovable properties of REGENT UNIVERSITY to pave the way for the auction to defray a total debt of $1,284,080.53 and GH¢2,139,798.96 owed to Obokom Construction Civil Engineering Ltd.

This service is to execute the judgment made by the court in March 2019 against the University in favour of OBOKOM CIVIL ENGINEERING LTD.

It is trite, that through a competitive process the Plaintiff/Claimant (OBOKOM CIVIL ENGINEERING LTD) accordingly won a bidding and entered into contract in 10th April 2014 with REGENT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY to construct a six-story Multi-Purpose building for the University (the facility was completed and handed over in May 2016).

The contract among others stated that the University would commence paying the Construction Company a year’s grace period after completion of the facility, DGN Online gathered.

After the construction company’s 100 per cent self-financing of the project, the University was due to pay the entire debt on 18th April 2017.

Sordidly, the University never honoured any payment to the construction company, according to officials of the construction firm.

Chairman of the Company, Nana Obokomata IX, says his construction company used its own resources (GH¢1,000,000.00) in 2015 to guarantee for a loan from Unicredit Ghana Ltd, for the University to enable her to pay the claimant.

The University then issued six postdated cheques to the financial institution to cover the principal amount and the interest therein, however, three out of the six cheques were dishonoured which resulted in the financial institution unlawfully using the construction company’s deposit of GH¢1,000,000.00 to offset part of the debt owed the University to the Financial Institution. This led to a court action between the Construction Company and Unicredit leading to judgement for the construction company in October 2019.

Highly unmeritorious, was the act of the University led by the Chancellor Rev. Prof. Kingsley Larbi who doubles as a Pastor with the Church of Pentecost, Madina.

The Chancellor in 2015 contracted a loan of GH¢12 million from Royal Bank with the intention of expanding facilities at the University, for which some could have been used to defray the debt owed Obokom Civil Engineering, however, not a penny was offered to the construction company, rather the University offered another contract to a Chinese Company and used the money to pay for their shoddy uncompleted work, he says.

To this end, after several demands notice to the University failed, the construction company represented by its lawyers Ayine and Felli Law Offices proceeded to court spanning from May 2018 for which judgement was entered for the Plaintiff in March 2019 with an agreed payment schedule signed by Rev Prof. Emmanuel Kingsley Larbi, the Chancellor and Albert Kobina Amonoo the Vice President of the University, he added.

After judgement, the University has made only GH¢500,000 payment thereby defaulting in the payment schedules, which makes the entire amount due per the orders of the court, he said.

Moreover, at the instance of the University, three separate meetings were held with lawyers of both parties and some eminent Ghanaian personalities to impress upon the Executive Chairman of Obokom Civil Ltd, Nana Obokom Atta IX, known in private life as Archibald Ato Paitioo to give the University some time to offset the debt.

The construction company had no option than to apply for a FIERI FACIA on the immovable and movable property of the University, he said.

The service by the bailiff paves the way for an auctioneer to value the properties and allow the sale of the properties to offset the total debt of $1,284,080.53 and GH¢2,139,798.96 owed to Obokom Civil Company Ltd.

But Benjamin Zogbator, Acting Registrar, of Regent University College, says the decision of the construction company was in “bad faith.”

He admitted that the University has a financial agreement with the company.

However, he stated that due to dwindling students enrolment, the University could not pay as planned.

“We have a definite payment plan with the contractor; we have an arrangement with him to pay him,” he told the press on Thursday, May 14