Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

24 February 2013

Ethiopia: Battle Over Hospital in Bonga

The dispute between Ashebir Weldegiyorgis (DD), member of parliament and the Bonga town administration will go back to the Federal High Court for a proper decision, regarding how much compensation the former will be paid for an unfinished building, confiscated by the latter.

Ashebir, owner of Don Dental Clinic, with branches in Addis Abeba, Mekelle and Hawassa, was building a general hospital in his hometown of Bonga in the Southern Regional State, on 1,900sqm of land. When construction started in 2000, he had an agreement with the town administration to complete construction within one year.

To date, only 55pc of the construction has been completed. The administration sent a letter to him demanding a hasty completion. In 2009, the administration took the case to court, requesting permission to confiscate the unfinished building.

When the case reached the Cassation Bench through appeals, it decided that the defendant had six months to finish construction, after which the administration could confiscate the building. The administration did so and Ashebir went to court in 2010, demanding four million Birr in compensation. He claimed that the figure had been calculated by experts.

The administration claimed that it should not be made to pay any compensation, but also contradicted Ashebir's claim of four million Birr, saying that, rather, it was only 3.4 million Birr.

The Circuit Federal High Court in Bonga said that the administration, by giving the figure of 3.4 million Br, was admitting that compensation needed to be paid. It ruled that the administration would have to pay 3.4 million Br, as well as half of the difference, or 300,000 Br, culminating in a total of 3.7 million Br.

The administration then appealed, on February 2, 2013, to the Federal Supreme Court, which, nevertheless, sustained the lower court's ruling that compensation should be paid. Adding, however, that the compensation should be based on an expert estimation and not implied evidence.

The case will now go back to the Federal High Court for a verdict on the amount of compensation to be paid.

The Federal Supreme Court sustained the lower court's ruling that compensation should be paid, adding, however, that the compensation should be based on an expert estimation and not implied evidence.

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