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La citizens to sue government

Kofi Dzamesi2 Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr. Samuel Kofi Dzamesi

Mon, 7 Aug 2017 Source:

Impeccable information reaching Today indicates that elders and kingmakers of Abese Divisional Area of La in Accra are planning to sue government.

The intended court move by the above citizens of La (La elders and kingmakers), Today understands, is in respect of government defaulting in the payment of grant rent to La Traditional Council (LTC) for lands the latter compulsorily acquired from the former at the Cantonments area in Accra. The said lands which were acquired by government, Today established, were used for residential purposes.

The government, according to information available to Today, will also be asked in the suit by the La elders to account for all transactions between the government and LTC in regard of the acquisition of the said lands. However, there was near confusion at the premises of the two land regulatory state institutions—ministry of lands and natural resources and lands commission. This was because the two state institutions got wind of the information that the elders and kingmakers of Abese in La intend to include them in their suit in court.

Meanwhile, a press conference organised in Accra at the weekend by the kingmakers and elders of Abese Divisional Area sent a strong message to companies, organisations, schools, individuals and churches which have acquired lands from government at Cantonments to be prepared for a possible legal showdown. The elders of Abese cannot fathom why government had woefully refused to pay the grant rent of the land agreement it has with LTC, saying that the government owes the LTC billions of Ghana cedis with accrued interests.

Kingmaker of Abese Divisional Area of La, Nii Anyetei Anokware Nsro I, who read the press statement, disclosed that government entered into a lease agreement with the council in 1946 for the acquisition of lands at Cantonments and agreed to pay €175 pounds per annum. According to him, government only paid for five years in advance which elapsed in 1951.

He fumed that since 1951 till date, government of Ghana has not paid any money to the council as specified and agreed upon in the lease contractual agreement. He revealed that the failure on the part of government to pay the grant rent to the people of La was a clear indication that it had breached the lease agreement, hence their decision to seek redress at the law court.

What is even more irritating, according to the Abese kingmaker, was that in 2012 government through the lands commission wrote what he described as a “bogus and ill-fated letter” to LTC and indicated that it had developed a new strategic policy to re-release the plots of land it acquired compulsorily to the council. The ill-fated letter, which was dated February 15, 2015 and signed by the Executive Director of Lands Commission at the time, Mr. Dr. W. Odame Larbi, with the headline, “Allocation of Land to the La Traditional Council in Trust for the Pre-acquisition Owners,” was copied to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Greater Accra Regional Chairman of Lands Commission, National Chairman of Lands Commission and Greater Accra Regional Lands Officer at Lands Commission. The said letter which Today has chanced upon reads in part that the Lands Commission has decided to grant allocation of twelve (12) plots at Cantonments to La Traditional Council “in trust for the pre-acquisition owners for redevelopment.”

It goes on state that “the allocation of plots of land is in fulfillment of government’s policy to return some of the lands compulsorily acquired to the pre-acquisition owners. The letter explained that “the La Traditional Council will pay a GH¢1.00 per annum per plot subject to revision every 5 years of the term.” It continued that “the term will be 99 years renewable from the date of entry and will be granted to the La Traditional Council.”

“Right of entry will be granted to the La Traditional Council after the occupants of the bungalows on the plots have been relocated by the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, who by a copy of this letter are being informed of the allocation,” the letter further explained.

The plots of land, according to the letter, shall be used for residential purposes, adding that the council shall appoint a scheme manager to manage the development of the plots. The letter spells out that “the lease will be subject to other terms and conditions that are usually embodied in leases of government lands under the redevelopment scheme.”

But fuming with anger, the Abese kingmaker described the new agreement policy of government stated in the letter “as unconstitutional and illegal,” saying that the policy was completely a grand agenda by the state to take “our natural heritage from us and “we are not going to accept it.”

To this end, Nii Anyetei Anokware Nsro I called on those who are residing on the said lands to brace themselves up for a legal battle. He also re-affirmed that “we the citizens of La State are going to institute legal action against the government and La Traditional Council to ensure that this “bogus” agreement between La and government is nullified.”

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