SSNIT entangled in $5.4 million land deal gone wrong

The Social Security and National Insurance Fund (SSNIT) is caught in a legal battle to recover an amount of $5,450,000.00 that it invested in a land deal that went wrong.

SSNIT is the government body in charge of workers’ pensions.

SSNIT had purchased the land from Premier Portfolio Limited (PPL).

According to judicial sources, SSNIT paid for the 1.52-acre land, but could not possess it, because the land was later plotted and transferred to its original owner after court action. The land is now in the hands of Mr. Ernest Nunoo, a real estate developer, since December 2016.

The SSNIT’s main source of income is social security contributions from Ghanaian workers.

Although SSNIT management claims that they did due diligence in purchasing the parcel of land before making payment to PPL directors, the Trust is in court trying to recover money from the failed transaction.

SSNIT’s legal action is against PPL and its directors, as well as its shareholders, House of Duffour Assets (HODA), Lands Commission (LC) and others.

Meanwhile, SSNIT appears to be facing double agony as Mr Nunoo had earlier taken the organization to court, along with the LC and the PPL over the same ground.

Although SSNIT management claims that they did due diligence in purchasing the parcel of land before making payment to PPL directors, the Trust is in court trying to recover money from the failed transaction.

At the beginning of the legal dispute, SSNIT was unable to notify the defendants. After several failed attempts to notify the directors and shareholders of PPL of the court summons, SSNIT decided to make a substitute notification, which was published in the Daily Graphic on Thursday, February 9, 2023. However, apart from the LC and its assignees who have been present in court since then, the others of PPL are yet to appear in court.

In January 2016, SSNIT and PPL signed the Deed of Transfer of the disputed land which turned out to belong to another person.

Interestingly, the Deed of Assignment of the transaction has March 3, 2016 as the effective date, but the seal of GM Investment & Dev. Division of the SSNIT is dated January 25, 2016. It was signed and sealed by Ernest Thompson , Director General of SSNIT and witnessed by Peter Hayibor, its General Counsel.

The Deed signed by the SSNIT.
The Deed signed by the SSNIT.

“Search conducted at the Land Commission dated January 2016 indicates that the last transaction in the said land was a transfer from the Government of Ghana to PPL by way of lease dated June 12, 2014.” This was the response given by the SSNIT when its attention was drawn to the fact that at the time the SSNIT was purchasing the land, its search in the LC showed that there was a prominent proposal in favor of Mr. Ernest and the Mrs. Mavis Nunoo, and yet SSNIT went ahead to acquire the land.

Furthermore, when this journalist tried to verify whether the SSNIT went through the Land Valuation Board to determine the actual price of the land, the response was: “SSNIT requested Architectural and Engineering Services Limited to carry out a valuation of the land, and that, the The result of the assessment study was communicated to the Management.”

According to them, the report stated that it was reasonable to adopt $4,000,000.00 per acre, an indication that SSNIT actually did a good job in purchasing the 1.52-acre land for $5,450,000.00.

It will be recalled that Ernest Nunoo, the owner of the land, had indicated that the LC allegedly sold/transferred it to PPL without his knowledge and consent, and proceeded to sue the LC in court for failing to grant the lease and therefore . In this matter, he planted the land adjacent to the SSNIT Guest House in front of the Police Headquarters and obtained judgment in his favor.

This reporter reported on December 5, 2016 that the disputed land, which was wrongly transferred by LC officials to PPL, also exchanged ownership of the latter to SSNIT and the move created tension between SSNIT and Mr. Nunoo, who acquired legally the land. of the Osu Stool.

Following the publication that the LC had wrongly sold/transferred the land belonging to the developer to PPL without his knowledge and consent, the LC plotted the said disputed land for Mr. Nunoo in December 2016.

After the land was laid out for Mr Nunoo, SSNIT decided to fight PPL and its associate directors in court to claim the money it had paid eight years ago.

A page of the Deed signed by the SSNIT showing the amount of money paid for the land.
The document indicating the on-the-spot deal between the Osu Stool and Mr. Ernest Nunoo.

Mr. Nunoo who acquired the lease of Osu Taburete on October 12, 2004, submitted the land documents for registration with the LC, and the Commission accepted the document and initiated the registration process indicating in the data that Mr. Nunoo was registering the land, but without warning, the LC went ahead and leased the land to PPL.

Although, after investigations it has been proven that PPL acquired the land from the State on June 12, 2014, the agreement documents were stamped with the number LVD 12649A in 2011 and a certificate of title dated January 6, 2015.

Efforts to trace PPL’s ​​location or contact its listed directors were unsuccessful. The only contact number on PPL’s ​​register belongs to the managing partner of an audit firm, Eddie Nikoi Accounting Consultancy, who denied any knowledge of PPL.

Meanwhile, a search of the LC showed that even though Mr. Nunoo’s lease was dated October 6, 2008, the Commission proceeded to lease him back to PPL for 50 years, beginning January 1, 2008. 2014, and based on In that action, PPL also transferred the said lands to the SSNIT with the consent of the then Chairman of the Greater Accra Regional Land Commission, after the SSNIT had paid $5.45 million.

Furthermore, it emerged that PPL did not pay capital gains tax on the transaction, and further checks at the Legon branch of the Ghana Revenue Authority at the time, where PPL was registered, showed that PPL was registered in 2011, and that For all this At that time, there were no tax records on PPL.

By the innocent Samuel Appiah

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