The Minister of Communication, Dr Edward Omane Boamah has questioned the relevance of the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) in the wake of its recent demolition exercise at Adjei Kojo, a suburb of Tema.
The TDC was established in 1952 by an Act of Parliament to plan and develop Tema, but Dr. Omane Boamah believes the corporation has outlived its usefulness.
Speaking on Joy FM, Multi TV news analysis programme Newsfile, the Minister noted that Tema is now a developed community with a Metropolitan Chief Executive.
“We have TMA (Tema Metropolitan Assembly) and TDC, we should be asking ourselves whether even TDC has outlived its usefulness as we speak now. That is not to say that TDC has not done a fantastic job over the years because Tema is obviously one of the well planned areas that we have. But looking at Act 462 (Local Government Act 1993) the assemblies, whether municipal, metropolitan or district, have certain rights over their jurisdiction.”
He therefore asked, “Should [the TMA] be coexisting with TDC? What are the limitations of the Settlement Planners Act TMA and the Settlement Planners Act TDC.”
The TDC about two weeks ago reduced about 150 houses at Adjei Kojo into rubble. The corporation is claiming ownership of the land.
Dr Omane Boamah supported many who felt the demolition which has left hundreds of people homeless was carried out without a human face.
Babies as young as five months and their parents are precariously living in groups under tents in a mosquito infested area which many fear could trigger an outbreak of communicable diseases.
The demolition, the corporation said, was part of a regularisation exercise on its 905-acre land encroached upon. It said in the course of a proper layout, buildings on waterways and stretch of lands reserved as access roads would be demolished.
Meanwhile, the home owners are producing certified documents to show that they rightfully acquired their lands from chiefs of the area who are also claiming ownership of the land.
According to Dr Omane Boamah, irrespective of the reasons for carrying out the exercise, “demolition should always be a last resort”. He doubted if that was the case when the TDC pulled down those houses.
He supported the argument of a panel member John Ndebugre, a former Member of Parliament, that even if the TDC owns the land, it would need a court order to demolish those houses.
If indeed the TDC secured a court order, did it make the residents aware of the order, he questioned.
In his view, the TDC should have sought a court order to demolish the buildings when they were at the foundation stage.
Going forward, he said the government is digitizing all documents bordering on lands to avoid multiple sale of land as well as dispute over land ownership.
“This would avoid unscrupulous people taking advantage of the system,” he added.
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