18 February 2018

Ethiopia: Sangam Gets Final Order to Vacate Four-Decade Old Property

The property originally belonged to Princess Tenagnework, daughter of Emperor Haileselasse

Sangam Restaurant has been given a final warning by the Federal Housing Corporation (FHC) to move off a property they have been operating on for the past four decades. The Corporation wrote a letter early this month to the Kirkos District police and wereda administration for their presence at the time of the property's hand over on February 23, 2018.

This comes after Sangam failed to handover the property on February 2, 2018, citing the need to settle legal and financial issues with the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority (ERCA) and the Ministry of Trade (MoT) and sell some assets.

"The Corporation gives a month to vacate a property, which includes a 10-day extension," and after that, the Corporation calls the police to ensure the handover, said Getu Zewde, director for Housing, Tenure Securing & Renting Directorate of the Corporation.

The first warning letter was sent to the restaurant on January 03, 2018. The letter read that the land where the restaurant rests is needed for public housing and that the restaurant has to leave the place in one month's time.

But Sangam, which was established in 1973 by four shareholders, replied in a letter to the Corporation requesting an eight-month extension. Also saying that they were interested in building a 20-storey building. But the Corporation responded that it does not have the mandate to allow such a project.

It was five days after the initial handover date, that the Corporation wrote the final warning for the restaurant to vacate the premise that was initially owned by Princess Tenagnework, daughter of Emperor Haileselasse, according to Genet Getachew, who represents Sangam.

The restaurant rented the space for two years before the Dergue regime nationalised it in 1975. Sangam which serves Indian cuisines, such as Tanduri chicken and Nan for lunch and dinner accommodating 100 to 150 customers, has been there ever since.

Re-established last year, the Corporation is currently in the process of developing properties in 11 areas in Addis Abeba, some which are under design, according to Getu. In the property Sangam is presently situated in, it plans to build a nine-storey apartment. It administers and rents out public houses, including developing them when the need arises.

"We are looking for another space," Genet told Fortune on the fate of Sangam, "but we are not sure if it is at all possible to get a place in such a short time."

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