Acting registrar at the Regent University College of Science and Technology, Benjamin Zogbator has assured of a smooth run of school affairs despite its multi-purpose building being auction over Gh¢9m debt.
His reaction follows concerns that the intended auctioning will have an adverse effect on the quality of teaching and learning at the university.
Speaking to the press on May 14, 2020, the acting registrar of the institutions says although the decision to auction the school’s six-storey building is in bad faith, it will not hamper academic affairs.
“Our teaching and learning activities are going on seamlessly. As you know we are a science and technology institution and we do a lot of things online. There will be no problem for our students when the country asks students to go back to school.”
He also blamed his outfit’s inability to fulfil its financial obligations to the construction company on poor enrolment.
“Generally all private universities are struggling because of the reduction in numbers. But we have an arrangement in place. Some universities have closed down but we have not shut down. We know that we will succeed someday. Our numbers are increasing.”
The acting registrar indicated the school’s commitment to pay the construction firm.
“We are in touch with the company over the payment of the money and we have a definite payment plan with the contractor; we have an arrangement with him to pay him.”
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.
Obokom Civil Engineering LTD 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.
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.
In 2015, Chancellor of the school Rev. Prof. Kingsley Larbi 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, says CEO of Obokom Civil Engineering.
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, the construction firm said.