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The attention of West Hills Mall has been drawn to media reports about an incident that occurred on Saturday, 30 October 2021, concerning an action taken by the Mall’s management and which resulted in the arrest of an official of the Mall. These reports, and especially the conversation it has subsequently generated, are rather lopsided and misleading and must be corrected immediately to set the record straight.
In order to fully appreciate the context within which the incident took place, it is important to note that this is simply a case of encroachment by China Mall on West Hills Mall land and an attempt by West Hills Mall’s management to secure and protect its land that has been intruded by China Mall during the past couple of months.
Shareholders have invested in excess of $100 million and inclusive of $10 million on an interchange that gives sole access to the Mall. So when we became aware that part of this property had been encroached upon, all we did was to take the necessary steps to protect our investments which, by the way, is partly owned by workers and pensioners of Ghana through the 40% stake which SSNIT owns in this investment.
It must be noted that the area which has been reported as being ‘the entrance’ and part of the ‘parking’ to the retailer known as China Mall, is actually the bona fide property of West Hills Mall. West Hills Mall has a Land Title Certificate issued by the Lands Commission covering the land in question. This encroachment by China Mall was confirmed by an independent land surveyor, of which China Mall is very much aware. It must be particularly noted that the Management of West Hills Mall had in good faith engaged both China Mall and its Landlord, Alstonia Investments on the matter, prior to taking this action
The ownership of that parcel of land by West Hills Mall has never been in dispute, and it may surprise you to know that barely two weeks ago, officials from West Hills Mall, Alstonia Investments, China Mall and some surveyors met on site, for a meeting which culminated in a decision by all parties that China Mall would create its own access and desist from using West Hills Mall land as access forthwith; China Mall was to inform West Hills Mall by a certain date as to how it would implement the change. Unfortunately, China Mall reneged on its promise and continued using the land without informing West Hills Mall by the agreed date of how and by when it would desist from the encroachment, or asking for permission to use the West Hills Mall land.
This is, therefore, not a case of competitor rivalry, as is being portrayed in the media. This is a case of West Hills Mall protecting the land that it legally owns and has paid for, and which is illegally being occupied by China Mall. Clearly, the offender succeeded in misleading not only the press but also the public, especially the communities that we serve, the authorities as well as the Police. The arrest and prosecution of our Facilities Portfolio Executive is unfortunate. We will in the coming days take all the necessary lawful actions to defend our official and protect the name of our company.
The least reference made to competitor rivalry the better because the presence of China Mall provides diversity in the offering that retailers like ourselves provide, and honestly, it is clear that we serve two very different markets in these communities.
We hereby reiterate the fact that this is not about competition but about the protection of one’s property. West Hills Mall believes that laws protecting land ownership in Ghana should be respected and that China Mall should not be able to appropriate West Hills Mall’s land without proper authorization. You should also be aware that, together with Broll Properties, we are championing the formation of the Ghana Property Owners Association for the Retail Sector, so having critical mass can only help us in addressing the challenges facing this sector so we welcome competition gladly.