Sale Of Speaker’s Bungalow Untrue
-Says Lands Commission
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has debunked allegation that the Cantonments residence of the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, was nearly sold or given out to an unnamed private developer.
According to him, his checks at the Lands Commission show that there is absolutely no truth in the claim, which was first made public by Mr. Bagbin, at the Speaker’s Breakfast Forum, held at the Alisa Hotel in Accra yesterday.
Mr. Jinapor, who was reacting to the issue on Joy FM’s Top Story programme, said, even though he is out of town, he has summoned the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Benjamin Arthur, for a meeting tomorrow to look into the issue.
The minister, who said his attention was first drawn to the matter by a tweet from the Member of Parliament (MP) for the South Dayi constituency, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamakpor, promised to get the right information during his meeting with Mr. Arthur.
Mr. Dafeamekpor, had, in a tweet, said “At today’s Speaker’s Breakfast Forum, Speaker Bagbin revealed that, the Speaker’s Residence at Cantonments in Accra, was sold to a private Developer whilst he was in that residence.
“The Lands Commission discovered this only when the Developer went to register it. Unbelievable!!”
But the minister promised to update the general public and probably the Speaker further and better particulars of the issue after a breasting himself with the needed information.
He was convinced that, the claim is untrue because the land in question is and remains a state land.
The South Dayi MP, who was on the radio programme with the minister, also said he was in the meeting with the Speaker when the issue was first raised.
According to him, the disclosure by the Speaker got every alarmed and the reason he rushed to make it public.
He further said they were all concerned and needed answers from those tasked with the responsibility to hold in trust the assets of the state.
He said it was even offensive for anyone to have contemplated the idea of wanting to purchase the said land to develop it.
The MP, who is also a legal practitioner, said the land was acquired by the state in 1920, which means the period for the acquisition may have elapsed.
Speaking at the Speaker’s Breakfast Forum, Mr. Bagin stated that the property had been given away to a private developer without his prior notice.
Refraining from naming the private developer or who had made the transfer, he said the property would have been re-registered to the private developers had the Lands Commission not identified the building.
“Many of you don’t know that even the residence of the speaker was almost sold to private sector. Actually, it was given out, it is when they went to register that land’s commission identified that that is the residence of the speaker. Luckily, I was inside so it was safe,” he said.
He further stressed the difficulties encountered by parliament in reclaiming properties and the ongoing struggle to secure land for the construction of parliamentary structures.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Ghana’s start of democratic journey is known to all and needs no further mention. This largely affected the development of parliamentary democracy. Unlike the executive and the judicial arms of government, we have had to be a number of times and we lost almost all our properties. So, we are now struggling to get even our lands for us to be able to put up some structures to accommodate parliament,” he added.
The Speaker’s Breakfast Forum was on the theme; “Thirty Years of Parliamentary Democracy under the Fourth Republic: Reflect on Citizen’s Engagement and the way forward.”