National Security Rescues Art Village


From Marauding Land Encroachers

By Cecil Mensah

Personnel of the Police Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT), under the National Security Council, last Friday, descended on some land guards, who were wantonly destroying private properties on a one-acre land at North Dzorwulu, Accra belonging to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Water Resources.

But, before the SWAT team arrived, the land guards had rendered seventy craftsmen and artisans under the Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC) distraught as their workshops were razed down with bulldozers by a man who claims to be the new owner of the land, under the management of Department of Rural Housing.

When The Herald visited the scene, the bulldozers executing the demolition, had been moved from the yard by the National Security operatives.
Over hundred people, who also use the place as residence, were also rendered homeless. Most of them were seen sitting near their belongings, not knowing where to go.

According to some of the artisans, there has been a legal tussle over the ownership of the land, between the Department of Rural Housing and one Victor Owusu of Super Build Construction Limited.

The Government–owned land is not far from the Military Dog Training School, about fifty metres behind the imposing office of Tullow Oil, along the George Walker Bush N1 Highway.

Briefing The Herald after the demolition, Mrs. Deborah A. Kuwornu, the Acting Director of Department of Rural Housing under the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing said, the tussle over the land started over a year ago, when Victor Owusu claimed, he had bought the state property, which has been turned into an Art Village.

Victor Owusu, she said, claimed he had bought the land from the Greater Regional Lands Commission for Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢250,000).

According to her, peace eluded the craftsmen and artisans since Victor Owusu, emerged as the owner of the land. This is because on several occasions, Mr. Owusu, had stormed the place with land guards to harass the craftsmen and artisans living on the land, under the auspices of her department.

Mrs. Kuwornu, revealed that on certain occasion some of the artisans were badly wounded and the matter reported to the Legon Police.

She said, during this turbulent times of the battle with the land guards and Victor Owusu, the issue was reported to the Ministry and it wrote to the Attorney-General Department (A-G)to help fight the issue in the law court.

According to her, when the A-G’s department wrote to the Regional Lands Commission to clarify the ownership of the land, it was informed that the said land was acquired by the University of Gold Coast in 1946, and had been leased to Super Build Construction Limited for 50 years; a situation she claimed her department was not aware of.

She said, when the department filed it defense; the plaintiff withdrew the case from court only to clandestinely storm the place with land guards and bulldozers to start demolishing properties, belonging to the poor artisans.

Meanwhile, The Herald has learnt that the leadership of the artisans, has secured an injunction on the owners of Super Build Construction and all their assigns from further developing the land.

The injunction secured from the High Court was dated April 11, 2014, with the suit number AP 118/2014, had Happy Ideall and Ghana Export Promotion
Authority as the plaintiffs versus Superbuild Construction limited, West African Hardward and Décor limited, Lands Commission and the Department of Rural Housing as defendants.

The High Court was presided over by Justice K.A. Ofori Atta with Ahumah Ocansey as counsel for the plaintiffs.

Victor Owusu, was not readily available to speak with The Herald.

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