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Housing society dodges legal procedure

Updated August 04, 2013

ISLAMABAD, Aug 3: Freezing of accounts may be a setback for someone but for Eden Housing Limited it is not a problem as it has opened a new account.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on July 19 froze the accounts of DHA and other housing societies including Eden Housing Limited as they had sold the properties to the EOBI allegedly on exorbitant rates and the court had ordered them to return the amount.

Till the compliance with the orders the court froze their accounts.

The apex court, however, on the assurance of the Eden Housing Limited to pay back the entire amount of Rs1.98 billion to the EOBI, deferred its decision to freeze its accounts.

On June 29, 2012, the Eden Housing Limited sold 222 plots of various sizes (residential and commercial) to the EOBI for Rs1.08 billion.

Again on February 7, 2013 it sold 420 plots in Eden Villas Faisalabad to the EOBI for Rs900 million.

After the July 19 when the Supreme Court had allowed Eden Housing Limited to refund the entire amount to EOBI, the following day the housing society submitted a post-dated cheque of August 18 to the registrar office of the Supreme Court which was not accepted.

The society was directed to deposit current date cheque to avoid freezing of account titled “Eden Housing Limited”.

Interestingly, as the matter was pending before the court, Eden Housing opened another account with the title “Eden Housing Developers”.

On July 24, the society issued letters to its clients and asked them to deposit their installments and other dues in new account titled “Eden Housing Developers.”

The letter issued by Marketing Office of Eden Housing Limited of Canal Bank, Thokar Niaz Baig, Lahore.

The letter said: “This is to enlighten you that from now onwards company has decided temporarily to change its title of account for the payment i.e. “Eden Housing Developers” instead of “Eden Housing Limited”, therefore you are requested to mark your cheque, pay order or demand draft in favor of “Eden Housing Developers.”

In order to ensure the compliance of its new directives, the housing society also warned the customers that “the company will not receive any cheque which is not according to the aforementioned title of account”.

On July 26, the Supreme Court ordered to the freezing of bank accounts of Eden Housing society after its counsel could not convince the court for the delay in paying back the amount to the EOBI accounts.

It may be mentioned that the letter regarding opening of new accounts was delivered to the Eden Housing’s costumers after the Supreme Court had already frozen the accounts of the society.

The court on the said date had also remarked that by handing over a post-dated cheque the Eden Housing has failed to prove its commitment.

It subsequently directed that “Eden Housing Scheme has not honoured its commitment with regard to payment of amounts”.

The apex court on July 31 temporarily unfroze the account of Eden Housing Limited after they had deposited an amount of Rs976 million to the registrar of the apex court and its counsel Justice (retired) Tariq Mehmood told the court that the society would deposit remaining amount before August 21 the next date of hearing of the EOBI case.

Same day Supreme Court has also unfrozen the bank account of DHA on compassionate grounds after DHA counsel requested that the authority had to disburse salaries to its employees before Eid.

Legal expert, barrister Masroor Shah when contacted said that after freezing of account the company could open new account only with the approval of the Supreme Court.

“The courts always pass orders for freezing of any account for particular reasons and opening of new accounts will make the order of the apex court infructuous” he said adding that “it is also a defiance of the court orders and tantamount to dodging the legal procedure”.

Justice (retired) Tariq Mehmood, counsel for the Eden Housing Limited, when approached, refrained from commenting in this matter.

Mohammad Ali, executive client services of Eden Housing also did not comment but suggested to contact Kashif Bhatti, head of corporate affairs. Bhatti despite repeated calls on his cell phone and land line number did not respond neither did he reply to the text messages sent to him on the cell phone.