House of 70-year-old woman auctioned

The IFS Financial Services on Friday, January 3, 2014, auctioned a house belonging to a 70-year-old woman to defray a loan for which the house was used as collateral.

Ms Margaret Mensah, a retiree, had used her house, located at Mataheko in Accra, as collateral for the loan which a friend of her son had secured from the financial institution some eight years ago.

However, due to the inability of the borrower, the Managing Director of Farmers Alliance Company Limited, Mr David Siale, to pay for the loan, the house was sold to settle his indebtedness.

Mr Siale was introduced to the 70-year-old woman by her son, Ibrahim Laryea Conney, now deceased.

I am appealing to government officials, pastors, the Chief Imam, philanthropists, women advocates and all other concerned bodies to come to my aid,” Mrs Mensah said, amidst tears.

The auction 
The auctioning was done by an auctioneer, a court official and a representative of the IFS Financial Services after the case had been heard by the Accra Fast Track High Court about eight times.

In an interview, Mrs Mensah explained that she agreed to give out her house to the managing director because she trusted him.

The retiree said her late son informed her that his friend was the managing director of a company which was into cocoa business in the country. 

She said in the morning on Friday, January 3, 2014, she was in the room when she saw a group of people standing at the entrance of her house apparently to sell the house.

She immediately decided to stop them, but on the prowl, she felt dizzy, almost falling to the ground, but a family member held her up and took her indoors.

“It was really disturbing to have seen a house I had shed blood, sweat and tears to build sold out to a complete stranger, I felt I had wasted 70 years of my lifetime on earth. I wished I were that strong to stop them and I don’t even know the amount for which it was auctioned. 

The court had told us that the house would be sold out, but it never informed us it would be done today and this soon,” Ms Mensah bemoaned.

According to her, that was not the first time she was using her house as collateral for the manager to secure a loan.

She said she had benefited from the earlier assistance but she said she signed some documents for the failed transaction without reading the fine print.

“I was told that if the loan was paid up in time, I will get some money. As a helpless woman at my age, I obliged and gave out my house. But for the past eight years, I did not get anything. All I got was a notice that the debt had not been paid and that my house would be sold,” she said.

In the meantime, the old woman said she was counting her luck, as she waited for the final ejection notice. 

“I have nowhere to go with my children and grandchildren. My dead son was taken ill when this issue came up and in the course of the court processes he died. I had to plan my son’s funeral while I thought of losing my house.”

Borrower Declined Comment
When the Daily Graphic contacted the Managing Director, Mr Siale, he declined to speak, with the explanation that the issue was in court and any comment he made would be in contempt.

New developments
In a phone interview with the Daily Graphic on Thursday January, 16, 2014, Mrs Mensah explained that she, together with her nephew and Mr Siale went to the IFS Financial Services on Monday, January 13, 2014 to meet officials of the service.

She said the purpose of the meeting was to plead with the service to give them some time to enable them to raise funds to settle the debt owed them but the service “turned a deaf ear” to their pleadings.

“The officials told us that they had already given us a 21 day ultimatum to pay the money so that they could transfer the ownership back to us. Failure to do so, they said, would prompt them to eject us from the house and give way to the new owner,” she stressed.

After all the efforts to come to a compromise with the bank failed, Mrs Mensah said she had since “combed” all sources she thought could help her  raise funds but all her efforts had proved futile.

With five days left of the 21days eviction notice, the 70-year-old is still counting her luck to find help from somewhere to relieve her plight.

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