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General News
Gov''t Freezes Ex-Ministers Booty 4/25/2009

Intelligence gatherings by The Enquirer suggest that government has begun putting stoppers on the development of State Lands sold to former Ministers and other top government appointees and cronies of the previous regime with indecent haste. Yesterday, a team of police personnel were dispatched to begin the exercise in some selected areas within the Accra Metropolis including the Airport Residential Area, where they were said to have erected signs asking for work to be stopped on such lands.
The move comes on the heels of recommendations from the Sub-Committee on Transfer of Executive Assets of the Government Transition Team urging government to freeze the wholesale rape of state lands by the previous government and its cronies under the guise of redevelopment.
The report asked government to retrieve particularly the former International Students’ Hostel, which is a priced real estate that overlooks the Kotoka International Airport because of the bizarre circumstances surrounding the sale.
The lands, some of which at the time of allocation had state bungalows on them, were given out on protocol bases to NPP functionaries some of whom paid next to nothing.
Some of the plots at time of their allocation had been earmarked for institutions like Ministry of Foreign Affairs, VAT Service, the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and others but they were arbitrarily taken away and given to influential governments functionaries particularly serving ministers and deputy ministers in the Kufuor administration.
Many of those who paid for the lands, paid below the prices set by the Lands Valuation Board, and in some cases, even far less than the price they themselves quoted in their bid during a phony tender process initiated on the directive of the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing (MWRWH).
Apart from those who held ministerial appointments, some of the powerful personalities who benefited from the bonanza are still in office and are said to be feverishly starting building projects on the lands mostly located at Cantonment, Ridge and Airport Residential Area.
Prime lands going for $1 Million an acre were sold to private interests and some public officers for a mere $200,000.
Whiles some of the individuals involved have paid fully some only made part payment and others have not paid anything to the state at all, yet they have started building on the plots.
The above revelation is contained in a report of the Sub-Committee on Transfer of State and Executive Assets on the Government side of the Transition Team which The Enquirer has chanced upon. The Enquirer also made some site visits.
Beneficiaries of the government land booty, mentioned in the report include the sitting Chief Justice Mrs. Georgina Wood, the Director of Immigration Service, Ms. Elizabeth Adjei the Chief Executive of The Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Mr. K. K. Sarpong, Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS); Ras Boateng and Prof. Frimpong Boateng of the National Cardio Centre of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital who is also a failed NNP presidential aspirant.
The rest are Nana Yaa Asante-Faibille, wife of Mr. Egbert Faibille Jnr. the Editor-in-chief of the Ghanaian Observer Newspaper. Others are Oboshie Sai Coffie, Hajia Alima Mahama, Mr. Frank Mpare, Esther Obeng Dapaah, Irene Addo, Dr. Abu Sakara Foster of CPP fame, Ambassador Kobina Wood and Mr. Osei Kufuor.
The Chief Executive of the Lands Commission, Alhaji H. I. Baryeh and Chief Advisor of Ministry of Housing and the Re-development Scheme, Alhaji A. Dawuni were named as those who assisted the Sub-Committee in arriving at its findings.
The ex-ministers who also got the allocations include Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Richard Anane, Theresa Tagoe, Alhasan Samari, George Hikah Benson, Dr. Addo Kufuor, J. H. Mensah, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, S. K. Boafo, Hon. Kwame Osei Prempeh, Sheik I. C. Quaye, Yaw Osafo Marfo, E. A. Owusu Ansah, Albert Kan Dapaah, Kwamina Bartels, and Ms. Elizabeth Ohene and Asonaba Dapaah of the recently dissolved Council of State.
Mr. Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Kofi Poku Adusei, Mr. Abraham Dwuma Odoom and Dr. Osei Akoto alongside notable personalities such as Ebenezer B. Sekyi-Hughes, former speaker of Parliament, P. K. Acheampong, (former ICP), Prof. Agyemang Badu Akosa, Dr. Wereko Brobbey, Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson the ex-AMA boss, Fosuaba A.M. Banahene ex-head of the GET Fund and Mr. Sekyere Abankwa ex-Board Chairman of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
Personalities including Atta Akyeah, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Irene Addo (all serving NPP MPs) Emmanuel Ohene, Cynthia Agyepong, Mrs. Akua Kuenyehia, Victoria Adwoa Abankwa, Mercy Bampo Addo, Kwame Boateng, Nana Yaa Asantewaa, Peter Osei Duah, Ruth Abene Osei, Nii Amaa Ofosu-Amaah, Maureen Amematchpor, wife of Mr. Tommy Amematekpor was also given part of the state lands.
Also in the report are names that are largely unknown like Hennric D. Yeboah, Dr. Henry Prempeh, Dan B. Agyeman, Kwasi Ankama, Charity Osei, Kwabena Sarpong, Christopher Addae Twumasi Boakye and Philip Randolph.
According to the report, the sale of government lands under the project was known as In-Filling Scheme which started years ago under previous National Democratic Congress (NDC). The original idea of the scheme was aimed at building a total of 105 houses on large tracks of lands which were occupied by only 20 bungalows.
It was, therefore, meant for urban renewal, to increase residential density and private-public partnership. Under NPP regime, the In-Filling Scheme started in 2002-2003, and resumed massively in October 2008, leading to the sale of a huge number of state bungalows and lands.
The report said Mr. K. D. Osei, Mr. Frank Takie, Peter Osei Owusu, Yaw Agyei-Siaw, Alhaji Baryeh and Alhaji Dawuni were tasked to oversee the disposal of the lands, however, documents submitted by the Lands Commission boss, revealed that some of the sales did not go under due process; as they were mostly sold on protocol bases.
For instance, the former International Students’ Hostel, situated at the Airport Residential Area near Kotoka International Airport, was earmarked for the construction of a new office facility for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which had even secured a grant from the Chinese government for construction and relocation, and had even completed drawing on the new office building.
However, after the demolishing of the hostel by the Lands Commission, it was re-zoned as residential plots and given out to some powerful personalities in the previous regime in spite of stiff protestation from some officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Among the beneficiaries are the immediate past Minister of Foreign Affairs, Akwasi Osei Adjei, the ex-First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Freedie Blay, ex-Deputy Minister of Interior, K. T. Hammond, ex-Director General of the Ghana Port and Habours Authourity (GHAPOHA) Ben Owusu Mensah.
They only paid paltry sums of the pricy lands, a situation which the Sub-Committee recommended a Commission of Inquiry to investigate. The Enquirer is informed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has started taking action on this matter.
According to the Sub-Committee the In-Filling Scheme under the NPP government was done haphazardly.
“The layout were done without the consideration to climatic and geotechnical characteristic of Accra. All open spaces have been taken over and built. The mediocrity and monstrosity of the choked development of some of the massives is really disturbing from health and safety point of view. It is therefore, recommended that the in-filling scheme be suspended immediately,” the report noted.
The report said the allocations were made under two categories, allocations through protocol and allocations through bidding, and in various cases, prime lands were granted to both private and public persons on gratis basis.
According to the Sub-Committee, the prices of the plots under allocation through protocol were cheaper than allocation through bidding, but interestingly, even in the same location whether opposite, adjacent or corresponding the prices of 1.1 acre land with a bungalow on it cost GH¢250,000.00 for protocol allotted whereas 0.55 acre of plot for a bidder cost GH¢330,000.00.
Under protocol allocations some of the prices are not done on pro-rata basis. For example whereas a plot size 1.1 acre cost GH¢250.000.00, a plot size of 1.06 acre at the same location cost GH¢390,000.00 even though both plot with government bungalow on them were allocated through protocol means.
The report stated that sale of public lands as in-filling, or as protocol allocation to private interests unacceptable, therefore, an immediate freeze must be imposed on the grant, transfer, processing and development of state lands involved in the redevelopment and in-filling schemes of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing.

Source: The Enquirer

 
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