The Paynesville branch of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) may face eviction, after the new head of the intestate Estate of the late Igal Ammons threatened to nullify the bank's agreement with two sub-leasers of the property.
The affected branch, situated on two and half acres of land in Paynesville, outside of Monrovia, is believed to have been constructed by a Lebanese national identified only as Hiag.
The bank has confirmed leasing the property from Hiag and Bamba Toure (owner of Aminata Service Station), arguing it is accountable only to them.
“We are not leasing from Mr. Ammons; so he can’t evict us from said property,” an employee of the bank, who chose to remain anonymous, told the Daily Observer.
“We are not part of the legal issues among Ammons, Toure and Hiag; we are a banking institution that is leasing from one of the parties (Toure and Hiag),”he said.
“If the court can settle their ownership problems, then we will know what to do next. For now, we are functioning under the impression that we are leasing from Toure and Hiag,” the bank’s employee asserted.
He did not give details about the lease agreement the bank has with Toure and Hiag.
The Probate Court in 2010 ruled that, “Any persons or individuals that may have executed a lease agreement with Charles, Ernest and Philip Ammons are accordingly advised to give due cognizance to this ruling and they may negotiate with Telford Ammons, the rightful administrator of the Estate, if they desire.”
The ruling followed after Judge Vinton Holder revoked the courts’ letter of administration issued to the men (Charles, Ernest and Philip Ammons,) declaring, “they misled the court and obtained the letters of administration for the Intestate Estate of the late Igal Ammons without any authorization or consent of the biological children, and executed leases on some of the properties.”
Judge Holder further ordered, “all lease agreements executed by them (Charles, Ernest and Philip) are hereby declared null and void, and we are revoking the court’s letter of administration issued to them.”
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer last week, Telford Ammons claimed that his late father never entered into any lease agreement with Toure and Hiag.
Instead, he noted, their father entered into the agreement with one Pete Sheriff and the Noah Brothers, which, according to him, should have expired in 2004.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “while they were outside of the country, particularly in the United States of America, Sheriff and Noah sub-leased the property to Toure, who subsequently leased it to Hiag.”
He said his action is based on recorded court’s proceedings, declaring him the “legitimate owner” of the estate.
“We will not hesitate to evict them from the property since it belongs to us (Mr. Ammons’ children) and we will maintain our 60-day ultimatum,” Telford Ammons asserted.
Delving into the land crisis in the country, Telford explained, “There is a problem in this country. I look at almost every town, and every street and I see people really struggling to get back their properties.”
The LBDI management declined to comment, threatening to pull its advertising from the Daily Observer for publishing the story.