Private citizen sues A-G, Pres over demolition of govt bungalows at Ridge

A private Ghanaian citizen has sued the Attorney-General (A-G) and President at the Supreme Court (SC), over the demolition of government bungalows at Ridge, Accra.

Mr Jonathan Holm, the plaintiff, asked the SC to commit President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for contempt of court.

The plaintiff argued that the demolition of government bungalows to make way for the construction of a national cathedral, while a suit relating to the construction of the cathedral was pending, amounted to interference of the court process.

The plaintiff joined the A-G, government’s legal advisor and the Lands Commission, the institution responsible for state land to the suit.

It is recalled that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey announced in August, this year, the relocation of the passport office for the construction of the cathedral to begin.

Following that, other properties including residential apartments for judges were demolished, and the applicant held that the action of the government, was disrespectful to the SC as the controversy surrounding the project was still pending.

Mr Holm contended that the building of a national cathedral as conceived by the President would not inure to the benefit of Muslims, atheists and other non-Christian religions in Ghana and, therefore, the project is not in the public interest.  

The applicant in his writ invoked   the original jurisdiction of the SC, filed by his counsel, Mr Bright Akwetey that asked the court to declare that the land designated by the President for the construction of the cathedral was compulsorily acquired from the Osu Stool for residential purposes for public officers and cannot be changed to accommodate a national cathedral. 

The plaintiff urged the court to declare that it would constitute a violation of the fundamental rights of the people of Osu to be denied the first option to re-acquire the land under article 20 (6) of the 1992 Constitution if a national cathedral is compulsorily constructed on the land.

He wanted the court to state that the conduct of the President in having the bungalows demolished during the pendency of the suit constitutes a brazen disrespect for the constitution and the laws of Ghana, and, thus, undermines the authority of the SC.

The applicant wanted the SC to declare that all public lands allocated by the Lands Commission to private persons, bodies and institutions were done in violation of Section 1 of Act 125 of 1962, Regulations Number 9 of L.I 230 of 1962 and article 20(5) and (6) of the 1992 Constitution and such allocations are therefore null and void.

Mr Holm urged the SC to impose a perpetual injunction on the Lands Commission from allocating any portion of the land compulsorily acquired by virtue of the Certificate of Title dated November 29, 1910 to the A-G or any other branch of the Executive, body of persons or institutions for any purposes other than the public purpose for which the land was acquired.  

BY MALIK SULLEMANA 

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