Hotel Owner Sues AMA Over Unlawful Closure

PREMIER LODGE Limited, a hotel based at Tip Toe Lane, Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, has sued the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) for what it says is an unlawful closure of the facility.

According to the plaintiff, a medical officer called Dr. Boateng attached to the AMA, allegedly led a group of the assembly’s workers to lock up the 15- room hotel with the claim that the building being used as hotel was dilapidated.

As a result, the hotel is suing the AMA and the medical officer for unlawful closure, loss of income, damages, an order to get the assembly to open the hotel to enable the plaintiff to operate as well as perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from entering the premises, except for the performance of statutory duties.

The locked hotel
In the plaintiff’s statement of claim authored by its lawyer, Wilfred Baba Avio, Premier Lodge Limited averred that on Saturday, January 31, 2015, at about 9:00 and 10pm, Dr Boateng led about 12 AMA workers to the hotel and asked why the facility had only two fire extinguishers and also operating in a dilapidated building.

The plaintiff claimed the defendants went on their own accord to knock at the door of one female guest room with the reason that they wanted to inspect the room; and the managing director was called late in the night and informed about the activities of the AMA staff, including alleged extortion of GH¢60 from the hotel’s receptionist before they left without any action.

According to the plaintiff, on Tuesday, February 3, 2015, the MD was once again told that the defendants had come to the premises to lock up the place and were asking the guests to move out even without taking along their personal belongings.

‘The entire operation carried out by the 1st defendant (medical officer) with the AMA workers was unlawful because 2nd defendant (AMA) has no authority to whatsoever close down hotels when such hotels have not breached any of their byelaws,’ plaintiff protested.

The plaintiff insisted that only statutory agency mandated to close down hotels is the Ghana Tourist Authority (GTA) and added that the body to check fire extinguishers was the Ghana National Fire Service.

In the case of dilapidated building, the plaintiff averred that it was only the building inspectorate department of the assembly that determines what the state of a building is.

It said the claim by the defendants that the premises were smelly and that there were only two fire extinguishers was untenable.

‘If it were true that the building was in a state of disrepair or its environs and lodgers were not suitable for human habitation, the GTA would not have continued to issue it operational licence over a period of 25 years that the hotel has been in existence,’ the plaintiff added.

It claimed that over the years, it had been using two fire extinguishers which had always been maintained by the GNFS and added that a total of 15 rooms which it said, ‘are always fully booked,’ ranging from GH¢400 to GH¢500 per room, all continued to be closed down.

BY William Yaw Owusu

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