Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Homebuyers committee cries foul as Court allows eight to purchase Access land

Eight people purchased 4,133 sqm of fenced land belonging to Access Real Estate in Bole, at the back of Hayat Hospital for 91 million birr after one home buyer sued the real estate company in order to get his money back. Previously the land was being managed by a land bank for special protection.
Derje Mekonen who paid two million birr to Access expecting them to build him a house which never materialized, sued the company and eventually a court ruled in his favor and ordered one of the Access properties sold in order to compensate Dereje for his loss.
The land was originally bought by Access at a cost of 150 million birr from the city municipality. Access was expected to build 160 homes on that site.
Capital attempted to speak with the Addis Ababa Land Management Bureau about the issue however they were unavailable because of meetings on suspended land services and auctions.
Not all home buyers are happy with the action taken by the court and Dereje however.
Aklog Seyoum, who heads the committee of Access home buyers told Capital the the way the land was sold was completely unfair and illegal.
“The land belongs to the home buyers because 150 million birr was already paid for it and in addition it was returned to the land bank until the problems Access was having are resolved so I don’t understand why the court ordered the land to be sold in order to compensate a few home buyers.”
According to Aklog the committee sent a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office asking for assistance with their case.
“We have high hopes with the new PM’s Administration. For the last six years we have gotten nowhere. The 2,500 home buyers paid 1.3 billion birr for their houses that never appeared do the money was wasted for nothing. We demand justice and want our houses. We also want the people who gambled with our money punished. I believe Prime Minister Abiy (PhD) Ahmed will come up with a solution for us.”
No home has been transferred from Access to buyers so far.
According to its audit report, Access has transferred over a quarter billion birr to related parties or companies. Seven partners have gotten loans amounting to nearly 146 million birr from the real estate company. From this amount, Access Capital Service received the majority, followed by Pacific Link Ethiopia, Pioneer Agro Industry, Meri Real Estate and Mechot Real Estate. Access Capital was formed and lead by Ermias Amelega, who is a major shareholder and founder of the company. Access Real Estate, received a loan of close to 131 million birr and four other companies secured from 43 million to 22 million birr respectively.
The audit report carried out by the Audit Services Corporation and submitted to the Ministry of Trade on April 7, 2017 indicated that the company had collected 1.3 billion birr. The major share or 1.16 billion birr came from home buyers, according to the independent audit report which also said that the company made an initial payment of over 178 million birr to six contractors.
From the stated payments 135 million birr went to a single contractor called Living Steel Construction and 26 million birr went to Yibel Industrial, according to an audit report Capital obtained.
It added that the company has settled a payment with several individuals, but did not say why. According to the audit report, Access Real Estate has paid 59 million birr to Ermias, founder, board chairman and the first CEO of the company.
Other prominent business individuals and organization leaders were also paid. Generally the company has forked over about 125.4 million birr to these individuals.
The audit report indicated that the company has spent 272 million birr to procure assets. The other major expense in the audit report was constructing homes and shops at the Gabi Investment Site, amounting to 194 million birr. The report also listed 130.4 million birr in additional expenses.