The Tema Metropolitan Assembly is considering suing some big companies operating in the Metropolis for failing to honour their rates and bills which amount to ¢4,500,596.24.
The companies include Ghana Cocoa Board, Wilmar Ghana, Dangote Cement and Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO).
In a letter sent to the affected companies, it indicated that the defaulters had been given a 21-day ultimatum to pay or a court process would be initiated against them.
The letter signed by Mr Emmanuel Avenorgbo, Tema Metropolitan Solicitor, dated August 28, 2019, stated that “Unless payment is effected within 21 days, I hereby serve you Notice of the Assembly’s demand for full payment, failing which it shall initiate the process for Court. Please note that the option as to the mode of prosecution is reserved to the Assembly”.
It reminded them that per section 164 of the Local Government Act (Act 936), every public agency was liable to pay rates in respect of immovable property it owns within a District.
It added that “164. (1) Every public agency is liable to pay rates in respect of immovable property owned by it unless exempted from assessment by law.”
The statement further noted that in default of this, the Assembly had the right to proceed to court to demand due payment as provided for under the relevant bye-laws for Business Operating Permit.
The letter stated that “151. (2) A District Assembly concerned may, recover any rate payable together with appropriate penalties as a civil debt with costs or may prosecute a defaulting ratepayer for wilful default to pay rates together with appropriate penalties where a person fails to the rate due on or before the date on which it is payable”.
Frank Asante, Tema Metropolitan Public Relations Officer, who confirmed the intention of the Assembly to sue the said companies, said the failure of the defaulters to honour their bills was affecting the development projects and programmes of the Assembly.
He added that due to such defaulters, TMA could not meet its revenue targets adding that the move was to serve notice to other companies that his outfit would come after them.
Mr Asante said the Assembly apart from resorting to the law courts would also consider locking up of such business premises in addition to other measures.