Today in History: Trade Fair takes 'orders from above' to illegally destroy factories against court orders
The Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited (GTFC) in February 2020, embarked on a demolition exercise which was described as illegal by its tenants who were affected in the process.
One of the companies which suffered huge losses in the process was Universal Labels & Packaging Co. Ltd, owned by Raymond Archer.
Read the full article as published by www.ghanaweb.com below:
The Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited (GTFC) took tenants and owners of factories situated at the Trade Fair by surprise when it illegally embarked on a demolition exercise backed by “orders from above” to destroy dozens of factories which are worth millions of dollars.
In the dead of the night last Sunday when the owners of these multi-purpose factories were probably sleeping, the authorities of Trade Fair decided to go all-out on a demolition spree.
The exercise which began around 10pm and ended after 12:00am on Monday saw two bulldozers and a team of armed police officers overseeing the destruction of structures and heavy industrial equipment.
CEO of Universal Labels & Packaging Co. Ltd, as well as Colour Planet Limited, Raymond Archer who owns two of the knocked down factories told GhanaWeb: “I got a call from our security that there was a team of armed policemen and set of bulldozers demolishing my factory, so we got here and lo and behold the whole factory with these equipment were under destruction.
“We built this factory ten years ago, we’ve installed new equipment, actually there are even new ones that are currently under installation and these cost us $10 million but we got here and the whole factory with everything inside has been demolished by the government.
“Four years ago, I was here when officials came that they want to redevelop the Trade Fair so I said okay. I’m a legal tenant and my construction was actually supervised by the Trade Fair. I’ve put in $10 million here…so they started doing a whole lot of things here which made me head to court.
“Last Wednesday they went to court to lift an injunction that the court had placed on the Trade Fair, so my lawyer immediately filed an appeal and a stay of execution which was served on them on Wednesday and Thursday. Then this midnight [Sunday] they come here with bulldozers, lock the gates so that no one can see, come here armed to the teeth just to break down the factory that we’ve built with our toil over ten years.
“I brought light to this Trade Fair yet they came to disconnect my light which compelled me to use a generator to run this factory. We’ve employed over 120 workers and we are the only company in Africa that can manufacture these kinds of products. So, to see our government target this kind of business and break it down at midnight is highly unacceptable,” he fumed.
According to sources, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Trade Fair Centre, Dr. Agnes Adu initiated the demolition exercise.
Last year, Dr. Agnes Adu also defied court orders to demolish structures of tenants even though the tenants secured an injunction from an Accra High Court Commercial Division which were served her and copies posted on all the offices she had marked for demolition but they proved futile.
At the time, one affected person identified as Mr. Awoonor-Williams said, “We got wind of her intentions earlier and as time went by she proceeded to mark almost every office with red ink inscription which read “Remove by Order”, yet we didn’t know by whose order she was operating with.”
“When we realized what her intentions were, we also went to secure an injunction from an Accra High Court Commercial Division, served her and posted copies on all the offices she had marked for demolition but she would not budge”, he noted.
“We were informed from the La Traditional Council that they had actually asked her not to embark on any such actions because the GTFC hadn’t even made good their indebtedness to the council,“ he added.
GhanaWeb was on the site during the demolition exercise and after series of enquires, an unidentified supervisor of the demolition exercise said it was "an order from above".
Owners of the factories have expressed their intentions of taking legal action.