Accused Of Phony Demolition Exercise
The Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Dr Alfred Oko Vanderpujie, is back in the news over a planned demolition exercise at Akokorfoto a suburb of Dansoman in the Greater Accra Region, he had shockingly labeled as a slum.
The chiefs, kingmakers and people of Sempe are outraged over the planned exercise and are questioning the basis upon which the Accra Mayor is serving notice to demolish houses, because according to them there is ligation over the area before Justice Ofori-Atta of Fast Track High Court, Accra.
They believe that Dr Vanderpujie is siding with the Gbawe Kwartei family, and using state machinery as a ruse to attain his personal ends and benefits.
In a statement served on The Herald, the Chiefs denied that the Akokorfoto area was a slum, but a well demarcated residential and commercial area, and threatened to file contempt charges at the AMA and Dr Vanderpujie for doing the bidding of the Gbawe Kwartei family should he go ahead with the demolition exercise.
“The Chiefs, Kingmakers and people of Sempe are compelled once again to communicate publicly on demolition proposed to be carried out at Akokorfoto Dansoman in relation to property belonging to the Sempe Stool, but persistently and deliberately misdescribed by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Gbawe Kwartei family as constituting slum”, it said.
They called on the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, to intervene in the matter to prevent the AMA and the Gbawe Kwatei Family from carrying out the demolishing exercise.
It will be recall that in January 2013, some four military officers went to the said land to demolish buildings, but were met by some land guards who nearly engaged them in a brutal fight. It took the intervention of the Dansoman Police to bring sanity to the area after two of the four officers were arrested by the Police.
The land was originally part of the State Farms Project, but government gave it back to the original owners after the Project folded up.
According to the Sempe Stool, the AMA with it collaborator, the Gbawe Kwartei Family are parties to three different litigations in various courts over the ownership of the Akokorfoto lands.
It is, therefore, a surprises to them that the two will disregard the pending issues and want to go ahead to demolish the buildings under the pretence and falsehood that the area is a slum warranting the exercise adding, it a clear case of “give a dog a bad name and hang it”.
“It is worth emphasizing that there are at least three sets of litigation between the Gbawe Kwartei family and other entities as to the ownership of the Akokorfoto lands”, they said.
In a strongly worded press statement dated July 11, 2014 by the Chief and People of Sempe, said what was more painful was the fact that the properties involved were first class residential homes.
Pictures of the buildings sighted by “The Herald” showed plush buildings including a modern church located at a place far from the description of a “slum”.
It said “…we invite all living in the city of Accra to verify this for themselves as demonstrated by the photographic evidence which we are today presenting”.
They insisted that “the lands belonged to the Sempe Stool from time immemorial; in fact they were released by Nii Tetteh Kpeshie in the early 1940s until the 1990s when the lease terminated.
The statement explained that the Gbawe Kwartei family upon fraudulent misrepresentation to the court succeeded in obtaining a judgment in their own favour, notwithstanding the fact that the reversion in the lease was vested in the Sempe Stool. “This gave rise to the series of litigation before the courts of Akokorfoto lands”.
The Sempe Stool, stated that while the three cases were ongoing in court, the Gbawe Kwartei Family, despite being party to these suits went to another division of the High Court and obtained an order of Mandamus compelling the AMA to demolish the properties as comprising a series of slums.
The statement continued that the said order of Mandamus was obtained without the involvement of any of the parties to the litigation on the land, and even grantees and occupant of Akokorfoto area were not informed as stated by law.
The family revealed that a legal officer of the AMA, Yaw Twumasi Ankrah, by a letter dated May 30, 2014, wrote to the Operations Unit of the Ghana Police requesting that the demolishing be carried out.
“In fact, by a further letter dated May 23, 2014, Francis Brakwah, a registrar of the High Court, wrote without any prompting whatsoever quote “am compelled once again to write to remind you of the legal function imposed on you by the High Court presently, there is no legal impediment on the way of the execution of the court”.
In a telephone interview to the Accra Mayor yesterday, he confirmed the impending demolishing, insisting that since the AMA has been served a Mandamus by the High Court, he has to carry out his responsibility.
“If we are served a court order that is what we call the Mandamus, we have an obligation to carry it number. Number two, as a district assembly we also have a responsibility to monitor development on the ground and if it is illegal, we have a responsibility to make sure that we squash it and bring things to order. Am here to say that as the chief executive, I will execute my job without fear or favour”.
He said, he would not be perturbed by any individual or groups who will want to use the media to issue threats on his person.
“…if any individual or group of persons think that they can use the press or the media to issue threat on me that will not deter me from doing my work”, he said.
He brushed aside claims by the Sempe Stool that the same land issue is in Court saying “If the matter is in court, it is a different matter, but if I am served a court order to go and execute a responsibility I have nothing else to do. If the matter is in court, then it is a different matter”.
The Mayor, also denied claims that AMA had given building permit to a company called Alpha Beta Company, which is putting pressure on the AMA to carry out the demolish to enable them have access to the land. The company was said to have purchased parts of the disputed land from the Gbawe Kwartei family.
“Who is Alpha Beta, my brother please that is hitting below the belt. I have worked with you and I have worked with high sense of credibility, you understand? I will not fall that low, I don’t do my work in any individual’s interest”.
He went on “I do my work in the public interest that is the mandate that I have. I have not taken sides my brother, I have not taken sides and I will never do that. I am a Ga boy and I respect the seven divisions of Accra and I will not do anything that is in the interest of the AMA, but against the interest of the Ga people”.
He insisted that “AMA is there to serve the Ga people. I know who the Sempe elders are. I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to go there, but I know who the real Sempe elders are” raising doubts about the claimants.
He also refuted claims that he has been summoned by the National Security over the land issue saying, “who has invited me to what? Who said that? Please, National Security has not invited me ok. He refused to say when the demolishing exercise will be carried out, saying “when I am working to go and demolish, I don’t announce it”.