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Naa Toshie unhappy with Adjei Kojo demolition report

Ms Irene Naa Torshie Addo, Member of Parliament (MP) for Tema West Constituency, has expressed displeasure at certain aspects of the report on the Adjei Kojo demolition exercise which was presented to Parliament last week.
 
She said she was at a loss as to why the report attempted to exonerate the Tema Development Authority (TDC), which carried out the exercise in conjunction with the National Security Council last February. 
 
The legislator said she would petition the Speaker of Parliament again, petition President John Mahama, or go to court. 
 
Ms Addo stated her unhappiness at the report in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra.
 
She had just participated in a workshop organised by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Gender and Children at Dodowa at the week-end for members to enhance their collaboration with civil society organisations in the pursuit of issues affecting vulnerable people in the Ghanaian society. 
 
Ms Addo said: “I need to discuss the matter with my people. The options available are to re-petition Parliament, the President or go to court.
 
“How can you pull down someone’s property without notice? I’m only cautioning against the consequences of not properly addressing the issue and give justice where it is due.”
 
She said the number of houses demolished was the most important issue which was not properly addressed. 
 
Ms Addo said over 400 houses were pulled down but the report was silent on the number of houses affected.
 
“The fact that the TDC collaborated with the National Security to conceal this information was dishonest and depicts their guilt,” she said, adding that the TDC cleared up the debris to create the impression that not many houses were pulled down.
 
Quoting Order 43 Rule 3 of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2004 (CI 47), titled “Enforcement of Judgment for Possession of Immovable Property,” Ms Addo said subject to these rules, a judgment or order for the recovery of possession of immovable property may be enforced by a writ of possession.
 
“So it is clear that without a writ of possession, a person cannot enforce any judgment or order for possession even if the judgment says that you are entitled to possession,” she said.
 
She added that Order 43 rule 3(2) then says that you need leave of the court to recover possession, and further provides that "a writ of possession to enforce a judgment or order for the recovery or possession of immovable property shall not be issued without leave of the court, except where the judgment or order was given or made in a mortgage action to which Order 56 applies."
 
Ms Addo said the key provision is Order 43 Rule 3(3), which says that the Court shall not grant leave unless every person in possession of the land has received notice of the application for leave to recover possession of the land and has appeared before the Court.
 
She said the rule provided that “the leave shall not be granted unless it is shown that every person in actual possession of the whole or any part of the immovable property has received such notice of the proceedings as appears to the Court sufficient to enable the person to apply to the Court for any relief to which the person may be entitled."
 
Ms Addo, therefore, asked the TDC which court granted an order for the demolition, and if there was any, to provide evidence.
 
Ms Addo, also the First Deputy Minority Chief Whip, said she found it difficult to understand why only two members of the Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs were appointed to the Special Committee to investigate the demolition exercise.
 
She first presented a statement to the House on February 11, this year, after which the Speaker constituted a special committee to investigate the issues raised in the statement.
 
The Speaker directed the committee to be composed of the entire membership of the Committee on Works and Housing, the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the Committee on Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the Committee on Lands and Forestry, and the MP for Prampram, and former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr E.T. Mensah.
 
According to the report, the Committee was mandated to investigate the legitimacy of TDC’s claim to the demolished site, whether the demolition was justified, whether due process was followed and any other matter thereto, and make recommendations.
 
However, Ms Addo said one of the members of the Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Committee appointed to investigate was not regular at the meetings of the Committee, adding that the absence of more legal brains on the committee affected the contents of the report.
 
What was more, some members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Works and Housing were familiar faces at the TDC, and that might have compromised the report.
 
She complained that the people affected by the exercise were not given legal representation during the interactions with the investigating team, and asked how laymen could defend themselves well when professional lawyers from TDC put them under cross-examination during their meetings, and this, she said, might have compromised the report.
 
She also did not understand why the Committee relied on the Public Lands Protection Act1974, (NRCD 240), rather than applying the current legislation on demolition that applies to Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi and other areas.
 
“This law, which the Committee relied on, is the wrong law in respect of demolitions in the Greater Accra Region,” Ms Addo said, adding “the report and recommendation is therefore wrong.”
 
She said the Committee admitted that the TDC had slept on their rights for over 10 years, thereby, allowing people to build on the land.
 
"That is enough guilt and they should bear the consequence of their actions and not be exonerated,” she said.
 
Ms Addo regretted that the TDC did not put up publications for the demolition which it said it did, and challenged the Corporation to produce evidence.
 
She appealed to more civil society groups to seek justice for the affected property owners.
 
GNA

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