Michot Real Estate, one of the companies founded and run by Ermias T. Amelga, has lost 30,000 shares worth 30 million birr to Aman Berki, the general manager of Tulu Dimtu Real Estate.
The shares were transferred to Aman Berki through a court order after they were floated for auction over the past three months.
There were no interested buyers, despite two rounds of public announcements in the state-owned daily newspaper, Addis Zemen.
The execution bench of Finifne Special Zones Oromia High Court has transferred the property following a court case that decided in favour of the claimant.
The claim arose from an outstanding payment of 27 million Br, out of the total 30 million Br Michot agreed to pay for the whole transfer.
It was five years ago that the deal was inked. Then, Ermias, CEO of Michot and Access Real Estate, approached Aman Berki and agreed to buy major shares of Tulu Dimtu – owned by Aman, his wife and two sons.
Then, Michot bought 30,000 shares worth 30 million Br, while Access acquired 15,000 shares for 15 million Br.
The ownership proportion of Tulu Dimtu Real Estate stood at 60-30-10, for Michot, Access and Aman Berki, respectively.
Michot, however, never finalised payment. Upon signing the transfer contract, Ermias paid three million birr in cash.
Another round of payment, for nine million birr, was later done with four different Zemen Bank cheques – all later bounced.
It was in 2013, while Ermias was in self-exile, that the case was initiated.
After a year, the court came to decide that Michot and Ermias were liable to pay the 27 million Br and interest until it was fully paid.
The Federal High Court bench decided that Aman, the applicant, could claim the full amount from both or either one of the defendants.
“This is unfair,” said Alemenew Dessie, a representative of Ermias and Access Capital. “We only heard about the case accidentally and are taking action to stop this unfair action immediately.”
Serkalem Ahmed, a practicing lawyer at a High Court for almost a decade, disputes this, however.
“There is no way he can raise this as a ground to challenge a court decision,” she said. “The court has taken all the procedural steps required to call upon a defendant.”
Michot and Ermias, the first and second defendants on the 30 million Br case, were called through a public newspaper, after Aman Bekri, under oath, informed the court that he couldn’t find the legal representative of the company at its previous addresses, and related individuals, including Leykun Fetahi, refused to take the court order to appear.
Leykun was assigned as deputy manager of Tulu Dimtu Real Estate, representing Michot and Access Real Estate.
“Leykun was formally fired from his position,” said Alemaw, in downplaying the efforts made to find the defendants.
Ermias T. Amelga is the founder and former CEO of Access Real Estate, a company established with a capital of 35 million Br in 2008. Following the vanished commitment of the company to over 2,000 homebuyers, and a number of bounced cheques, Ermias left the country to a self–exile.
It was upon his return, and after a one-year window, that he was arrested, and remained under police custody for almost three months. He is now free on bail.
Last week, he apologised to homebuyers. This is not the first Real Estate case to be filed and ruled against him. Ermias, 59, was first arrested in January 2016 in connection with his failure to resolve issues with his 1.2 billion Br real estate project.
Reports of the technical committee established to resolve the case indicate that there were nine sites registered under ARE and 10 sites under other companies, such as Pacific Link Real Estate, Meri Real Estate and Tulu Demtu Real Estate, of which Ermias was the major shareholder. For Michot, the share acquisition from Tulu Dimtu Real Estate is the only registered business interaction it has taken part in.
The property handed over to Aman Berki is short of seven million birr, which leaves a room for the latter to go after any property registered under Michot Real Astate and or Ermias’ personal property.