AMA seizes six cars; demands GHC1,000 each from owners in a questionable act

Two of the six cars seized by the AMA taskforce
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly has confiscated six vehicles from an auto mechanic shop in Accra and allegedly demanding GHC1,000 from each of the owners in a case that is outside the jurisdiction of the assembly.
Per a High Court order, the Assembly was ordered to provide assistance to one Aubrey Tsatsu Tamakloe to remove broken down vehicles from a litigated parcel of land around the Old American Embassy in Osu, Accra.
Two families, one of which leased the said land to the mechanics, have for years been fighting over the ownership of the land in court. One faction in March this year filed an ex-parte application to take possession of the land, which an Accra High Court granted.
“It is further ordered that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly provides assistance by removing the broken down vehicles the defendants have put on the land which they use as auto workshop,” the order given by Justice Daniel Mensah read.
However, the AMA together with some armed police officers and security men on August 4 stormed the workshop and confiscated six moving cars to its taskforce office near the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum.
According to the mechanics, none of the cars confiscated were broken down, noting that four were driven by the AMA taskforce while two were towed because one did not have battery on it while the other had a break fault.
They claim that the head of the AMA taskforce, one Chief Okai, on August 5 told them he could not release the six vehicles to the owners until the AMA report back to the court on August 8 that it had carried the court order.
On August 9, the mechanics went to the AMA again but claim they were told by Chief Okai to pay GHC1,000 on each of the six cars before they are released to the owners. They claim Chief Okai failed to justify the said amount being charged except to say it was from the court.
He, however, failed to provide any court order to that effect.
One of the car owners who desperately needed his car, subsequently paid GHC300 to the taskforce on Tuesday; something that the mechanics say raises doubt over the AMA’s claim it was the court that ordered the car owners to pay that amount.
Their  argument stemmed from the fact that AMA has no authority whatsoever to receive payments of court fines and also do not even have the mandate to reduce a court fine.
So far, owners of three of the cars who desperately need their cars have each gone to pay GHC300 to the AMA taskforce.
Efforts to get the said Chief Okai to respond to the issues have failed but when contacted, the Public Relations office of the AMA placed a call to him but could not explain the basis of the payment of the questionable amount except to say it is the procedure.
The mechanics are thus urging the AMA chief executive and the legal team of the Assembly as well as the Ministry of Local Government to intervene in the matter.
By 3News||Ghana

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