… And Okays running of Game City alongside a School
Residents of Kotobabi Down in the Ayawaso Central Constituency of the Greater Accra Region, are fuming with rage over the decision by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to sell portions of the Kotobabi Cluster of schools land to a private developer for the construction a modern gambling center.
A visit to the school over the weekend, revealed brisk construction work ongoing on the state acquired school land. A huge tract of land in the middle of two schools – Kotobabi 7 Junior Secondary School (JHS) and Kotobabi 5 Primary, has been dug by the private developer and concrete is being cast.
Dr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, the AMA mayor, when spoken to confirmed to The Herald that he was aware of a proposal to develop the state land, but it is currently on his table for consideration.
But The Herald discovered during the visit that already, a toilet facility meant for the students and their teachers to ease themselves has been pulled down, with the students and their teachers having no place to defecate in this era of Cholera outbreak, which has claimed over a hundred lives.
According to the residents, the land has over the years served as playing field for the students of the school, as well as some members of the
It is not yet clear how much the developer paid for the land, which measures about the size of a normal football park, and served as playing field for the students of the Kotobabi JHS and Kotobabi Primary School.
The Herald’s observation at the site can suggest that they would not be any future development in the school, if the project is allowed to be completed.
The project, according to the residents, if completed will deny them a gathering center for their social activities including, outdoor games, funerals, church activities, name ceremonies among other things.
A banner, ironically hanging on the two-storey dilapidated JHS building claims the land is being used for the construction of a ‘Wembley Sports Complex’ consisting of an Astroturf football field, a Basketball and Table Tennis courts, gymnasium, video game centre, spectators stand and flood lights.
However, the size of the iron rods and the foundation pillars sighted on the land showed clearly, that the gambling center is going to be a huge store building which is going to dwarf the public schools. The pupils are going to be exposed to gambling, when it is completed.
The banner mentioned Kademla Company Limited, as the contractors working on the school land. It had the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Ghana Education Service (GES), Ministry of Youth and Sports and Foreign Contractors Reform Sports from Turkey as partners.
The AMA Mayor could not readily give the names of the developers, saying the documents on the project were in his office.
However, one Robert Coleman said to be the Public’s Relations Officer (PRO) of Zoomlion Waste Management Company limited, a company owned by Joseph Siaw Agyapong, is being mentioned as the developer of the state land, which has over the years served as a football park for the teeming
youth of the area.
Robert Coleman is said to have spoken about the ongoing construction to many people, including one CK Amoah, a sympathizer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) admitting ownership of the building.
Mr. Coleman, who is said to be a cousin to the AMA boss, Dr. Vanderpuije owns a chain of joints that show the various foreign league matches for a fee in the Accra Metropolis, including Mamprobi.
Workmen were seen busily working at the site last Saturday, when The Herald visited. Huge quantities of cement were also spotted on the site. Work was hurriedly being carried out as though the contractors want to beat a deadline.
A Cesspit tank puller with registration number GR 12-14, was seen pulling the toilet from the collapsed six-seater lavatory that hitherto served as place of convenience for both students and their teachers.
Attempts to speak to Mr. Coleman, last Saturday, proved futile as he did not answer his calls when The Herald reached him. A text message to him also went unanswered.
When The Herald contacted the AMA boss, he pleaded with the reporter to call him on Monday, for more clarity on the proposal and appeared unaware of the demolished toilet facility and the commencement of work on the gambling center on the school land.
He told The Herald that he was only aware of a proposal for the redevelopment of the park into an ultra modern park for the use of the children and the general public, and that the Works Department of AMA, is considering having a public park turned into a modern structure.
He further told The Herald that he can fully address issues on the proposal for the redevelopment of the park on a working day.
He maintained that the proposal is on his table, but failed to tell this reporter the personalities behind the proposal, stressing that he can only do that on Monday when he gets to the office.
Attempts to reach the Ministry of Education for some insight into the project also proved futile.
When The Herald called the telephone number that was sighted on the banner, it went unanswered. This paper later discovered that the number belongs to Mr Robert Coleman of Zoomlion Waste Management Company Limited.
More to Come!