CSIR officials Angry, Agric Minister Runs, Top Flagstaff House Man Denies Involvement
The Herald’s investigation, has uncovered a dirty deal by some stomach politicians who have conspired with a private developer and the Lands Commission to loot a staggering 19.06 acre of state land belonging to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), throwing around the name of the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah.
The land, which is located at Amasaman near Pokuase in the Ga-West Municipality of Greater-Accra region, is the only land being used by the CSIR Animal Research Institute for any research work involving livestock in the whole country.
Shocked senior officials at CSIR are angry and sad at the development, saying state officials have always been interested in the land.
Constituency executives of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC, were also said to have been given GH5,000 to share after a meeting with the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Ga-West, Sam Atukwei Quaye in connection with the dirty land deal to shut them up.
But regrettably, this land is said to have been sold to developers in a fraudulent manner without the knowledge and approval of the CSIR. Indeed, the research institution was bypassed and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture which has no direct stake to the land, was rather written to, to give out the land which was subsequently given to the private individual under questionable circumstances.
This paper is also informed that the MCE is moving round bragging and telling people that the new Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah is in solid support of his actions. The Chief of Staff, until his appointment was the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development.
But when The Herald reached Mr. Debrah, he spiritedly denied knowledge of the deal, saying the MCE must be vigorously probed to reveal his (Mr. Debrah’s) involvement.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Fiifi Kwetey, who the MCE claims released the huge land to him, also directed The Herald to CSIR for some answers, since they are the true owners of the land.
He disclosed to the paper that a document on the said land, passed through his ministry, but he cannot remember the details of the documents. He, however, had doubts over the 19.06 acres that has been appropriated by the MCE. He expressed shock at the 19.06. acres.
It is emerging that, huge sums of monies, have exchanged hands in the entire deal. Cow, money and drinks were also said to be given to some families, who are described by the MCE as “allodia and traditional owners” of the land to perform customary rite to commence the project.
This vital land, The Herald gathered, was given out by the MCE for Ga-West, Sam Atukwei Quaye for the construction of “filling station, trotro and taxi terminal, a depot, stores and other auxiliary facilities” under the pretence of Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) project by the government of Ghana.
Even though checks by The Herald, revealed that the BRT- terminal which was a World Bank funded project, has already been built and completed at the Amasaman lorry station.
The issue is currently generating tension between institutions such as; CSIR, Lands Commission, Ga-West Assembly, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, as well as Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Amazingly, whoever gave authorization to the Ga-West Assembly, led by their MCE to allocate the huge vital state land for such project without the consent of CSIR Animal Research Institute remains a mystery.
The Herald, is also reliably informed that no letter concerning the acquisition or application for the land has been copied to management of the CSIR, let alone the Council Chairman for CSIR. Management is yet to be informed of any agreement.
But obviously outraged, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CSIR, Dr. E.K Adu, described the acquisition of the land as “stupid” and “kangaroo” style.
According to him, the Pokuase site is the only livestock research based in the country and at the heart of the survival of the Institute, stressing that, should any portion of the land be taken away, the institute could collapse.
He said, “Why are our leaders doing this to ourselves? Why do people think that any little space available in this country, must be occupied by structure?”
Dr. Adu, warned that if care was not taken, nothing would be left for the future generation to build on.
The Herald, has learnt that, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), had attempted to acquire this very parcel of land sometime ago in 2010 for the relocation of “Sodom and Gomorrah” slum and Agbogbloshie market in Accra, but was stopped.
Sources told The Herald that the developer, has initially demanded for that portion of land to develop for the purpose of filling station, due to its strategic location along the Kumasi highway.
When the MCE was contacted, he said this very lorry terminal was a different project by the assembly, where the assembly was going into Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with a private company.
The company, Unique Development Limited, will build not only the terminal, but also a depot, shopping mall, filling station and other infrastructure projects, which will bring development to the area.
When asked whether the land is not too huge, he said, “as for acquiring land, it is good. As a whole authority, we should have land. Even government has advice us to acquire more lands, register them and own them.
“If you don’t have lands, how can you develop? adding “if you get chance to acquire land, you need to acquire it. Even this one is not big. If we get chance, we would even acquire more”
The MCE, also rubbished claims that the land belong to the CSIR. He said the original owners of the land is the Pokuase Chiefs, before it was acquired by the government.
“The land doesn’t belong to CSIR, it was given to them by the Ministry of Agriculture to do some animal research”, stressing that the CSIR, has no capacity or mandate over the land.
According to him, the Assembly initially wrote to CSIR asking permission for the acquisition of land but “the respond from them wasn’t favourable. But I realized that the CSIR legally did not own the land” so we decided to go straight to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Mr. Sam Atukwei, explained that the Assembly went to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and that he personally went and met the Minister, Fiifi Kwetey who gave “no objection letter” to go ahead and acquire the land.
He told The Herald that as chief executive, he cannot do anything on his own.
“I’m a descent person. I’m for the government, am not against it”, he told The Herald.
The MCE, also denied claims that the Chief of Staff was solidly behind him adding “I don’t know where this is coming from. As MCE, am working according to law”.
“I’ve not discuss anything with Chief of Staff. He is not aware of the BRT. If am doing something wrong, the Chief of Staff will punish me for it and same way if it is a good thing, he will obviously support it.”
He said, he has every document concerning the acquisition and promised to voluntarily make available all documents “My brother, just come to my office and I would give you any information that you need”. More to come!