CPP Heads To Court To Reclaim Seized Assets From The State

The Convention Peoples Party (CPP) has said it is preparing to file a court action, seeking an order to repossess many of its assets confiscated by the State after the party’s overthrow from power in 1966.

The law suit will target a number of properties in Accra, including the building which currently houses the Ministry of Information and Media Relations, the party’s Chairperson announced today.

The move, according to Ms. Samia Nkrumah, forms part of the CPP’s restructuring exercise intended to reposition the party to win political power in 2016.

Ms. Nkrumah’s father, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, formed the CPP on 12 June, 1949 to push for the independence of the Gold Coast [now Ghana]. The party ruled the Gold Coast, then as a self-governing British colony, from 1951 to 1957, and independent Ghana from 1957 to 1966.

In 1964, Dr. Nkrumah, Ghana’s founding President, changed the nation’s constitution, declaring a one-party state and making the CPP the only lawful political party in the country.

After the February 1966 coup by the National Liberation Council (NLC), the military junta banned the CPP and reportedly confiscated to the State several of the party’s assets, including the building that now houses the Ministry of Information and Media Relations.

Some loyalists of Dr. Nkrumah reformed the party in 1996 after winning a lawsuit they had filed, seeking a judicial declaration that the ban on the CPP was unlawful.

Nearly two decades after the CPP regained its status as a lawful political group in Ghana, Ms. Nkrumah told this reporter that the party must fight to take back all the assets it lost after her father’s overthrow.

“We need to stress that point that justice must be done and the CPP is going to pursue that project,” Ms. Nkrumah told this reporter in an interview. “We need our assets de-confiscated as many individuals have managed to do in the courts over the years.”

The CPP is on record to have made various appeals to governments over the years to release its seized assets, but Friday’s hint about a looming court action is the party’s first.

For instance, in February 2010, the CPP made a direct appeal to the Mills government to hand over its assets that were confiscated after the overthrow of Ghana’s First Republic.

Lardi Nylander, the party’s Chairman at the time, described continued retention of the assets by the State as discriminatory because, according to him, most companies and individuals whose properties were previously confiscated had been returned to them.

He made the comments at the commemoration of the 44th anniversary of the coup that toppled Dr. Nkrumah’s rule.

According to him, a number of reports from various commissions of inquiry such as the Justice Annie Jiaggie Commission indicated that those assets, including the current Ministry of Information building in Accra, were not acquired with state funds but through deductions from salaries of CPP members.

Till date, the State has still not released the assets to the CPP.