The Tema Development Corporation (TDC) is to build terrace houses for rental purposes on the land at Adjei Kojo on which it recently carried out a demolition exercise.
It also intends to build schools and playing fields, among many other facilities
The Managing Director of the TDC, Mr Joe Abbey, stated this when he appeared before a special committee established by the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, to investigate the Adjei Kojo demolition.
It was the second time TDC officials had appeared before a committee of Parliament on the issue.
The first was about two weeks ago when officials of the corporation appeared before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Works and Housing and produced documents which they said were proof of TDC’s ownership of the land for the perusal of the members.
The special committee before which the TDC officials appeared yesterday is made up of the entire membership of the Works and Housing Committee and three former Ministers of Works and Housing, namely Mr E.T. Mensah, Mr Alban Bagbin and Mr Albert Abongo.
Messrs Abongo and Bagbin could, however, not attend the meeting.
The Member of Parliament for Tema West, Ms Irene Naa Torshie Addo, who made a statement on the floor of the House after the demolition, failed to respond to an invitation by the committee to be present at the meeting to quiz the TDC team.
Mr Abbey denied media reports that the corporation had sold the land to Chinese investors to build a shopping mall and said rather the TDC had a pact with a Chinese company to construct elsewhere prototypes of the terrace houses it intended to build on the land.
He condemned the attacks the TDC had received in the media lately as a result of the demolition and said the corporation had secured GH¢25 million from a bank to put up infrastructure at the place but as a result of the encroachment the land had become a “no-go area” for officials of the TDC.
Number of houses demolished
On the number of houses demolished on the land in question, Mr Abbey said it was 65 and not the more than 500 as stated by Ms Addo.
He said before the exercise, the TDC had marked all houses it intended to demolish and, therefore, it knew exactly how many houses were pulled down.
The figure presented by Ms Addo, in his opinion, was an exaggeration.
With regard to the number of security officials involved, he said that could be ascertained from the National Security Office.
How did the Adjei Kojo residents acquire the land?
Mr Abbey said the land on which the demolition was carried out had not been procured from the TDC.
“We do not know who sold the land to them,” he said, and added that prior to the demolition exercise, the TDC had challenged the residents to provide documentary proof of ownership but they failed.
He noted that the TDC had established a complaints desk within its premises and challenged the residents to provide evidence of any collusion on the part of any staff member of the corporation in the illegal development of the land, but no resident had been able to do so.
According to him, if any resident was able to provide proof of procurement of the land from the TDC, it would consider compensating the individual involved.
He said the TDC gave the residents all the necessary notices prior to the demolition and acted within the law in all cases.
According to Mr Abbey, the TDC noticed that the illegal residents had started constructing structures on the land and intervened but the residents took the matter to court and secured an injunction against the corporation.
After the residents lost the case in 2003, they proceeded to the Court of Appeal and secured a “stay of execution” order against the TDC until 2008 when they lost the appeal.
He stated that it was during the period that the case was pending in court that the residents quickly finished putting up the houses.
Where was TDC from 1952 to 1999
Mr Abbey stated that the land was acquired in 1952 by the government from the chiefs and people of the area and compensation paid.
The land was, however, “soft-leased” to farmers who used it for farming purposes for many years and they were made aware of the fact that anytime the TDC?was ready to develop the land, it would remove them.
According to him, the TDC permitted farm houses to be built on the land.
“If any one built a structure apart from a farm house, we have the right to pull down the structure,” he said.
He said from 1999 the TDC noticed that permanent structures were springing up on the land and initiated moves to remove them, and it was when the company was in the process of doing so that the illegal residents went to court.
Machete and gun-wielding land guards
According to Mr Abbey, members of the TDC task force had suffered brutalities at the hands of machete and gun-wielding land guards who had butchered and shot at them on several occasions.
The last time such an incident occurred was on Farmers Day in 2013 when members of the TDC task force were brutalised on the land.
What MPs said
The MP for Ningo-Prampram, Mr E.T. Mensah, said there were many laws in the country which Ghanaians had refused to act within, saying anytime the law enforcement agencies sought to enforce them, the usual cry was “do it with a human face”.
He was of the opinion that the TDC had carried out a legitimate exercise and done it with a human face.
The MP for Tema East, Mr Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover, said when the TDC posted notices on the buildings, the residents should have complied and vacated the area.
He said none of the residents had provided any documentary proof of ownership or acquisition of the land from the TDC.
The media, in his opinion, had not been fair to the TDC in the matter and had sought to attack the management without ascertaining the facts.