Great-grandfather fights for decades to get his West Hampstead house back
A 79-year-old grandfather of eight is praying for the intervention of a human rights lawyer after fighting the same case for 20 years – so it can be finally solved before he dies.
Jackson Ntiamo-Kumah, who also has four children and two great grandchildren, lost his family home on Sumatra Road in West Hampstead to a loan company, AFL, in 1992, despite paying off the �7,750 owed on the morning the possession order was implemented.
He has been fighting the decision ever since.
Because the payment was never put in writing – and despite receipts for the payment being presented – the possession order was still granted and the loans company kept both the �7,750 payment and the house.
After an appeal to the high court, where the decision was upheld, Mr Kumah and his wife, Comfort, were forced out of the family home and into bed and breakfast.
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Furious with the decision, homeless, and with all his possessions in a storage facility, Mr Kumah took his solicitors to court demanding why they had not put the agreed settlement of funds into writing. Another high court judged ruled that a written agreement had not been necessary and he lost the case.
“We had these two High Court judges ruling the complete opposite way on a point of law,” he said. “One said it should have been put in writing which is why I lost my house even though I paid the funds.
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“The other said it did not need to be put in writing which is why I lost the case against the lawyers.”
However to appeal the ruling �10,000 had to be paid to the court, money that Mr Kumah, who was by now retired from his job as an accountant and living in a council house in Camden, could not afford.
“So I took it to the European Court because I couldn’t let the case go,” he said. “It is the first time I had ever heard of a situation where two high court judges sitting in the High Court were arguing on a legal point.”
It is this disagreement that he has spent the last two decades fighting with no legal help, roping in the help of MP Frank Dobson and MEP Claude Moraes to get his case heard.
After exhausting every avenue in Britain he took his fight all the way to the European Court of Human Rights – without legal aid.
“I used to go to the library, sit there and read all the law books and learn how to fill out the applications to the courts and I went to the court and filled out the applications,” he said.
The 1989 law which said the settlement of money had to be in writing has since been repealed and so recourse to the House of Lords, where unfair laws can be challenged, is closed to him.
He added: “This is what I have worked for in my life, I have done all this by myself. After going through so, so many stages I got a ruling from the European court that doesn’t mean anything.
“Without my kids’ support I would have died already, after what I have gone through. I cannot think of myself living without fighting for this case coming to an end. How can I live my life knowing that this case is not at an end?
“If they want to kill me, let them kill me, because that is what they are doing. These are my human rights.”
Mr Kumah is now appealing for a human rights lawyer or organisation to take on his case so that he can live out his remaining years in peace.