Henry Quartey, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso Central on Wednesday stopped an Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) taskforce from demolishing some structures belonging to traders at Kokomlemle, in Accra.
Though some structures and items worth millions of Ghana cedis located behind the Accra Technical Training Centre (ATTC)were destroyed initially, Mr Quartey succeeded in stopping the AMA taskforce from carrying out the rest of the exercise stating that they had no legal backing to carry out the exercise.
According to the AMA, they had verbally asked the traders to relocate about a one-month ago before carrying out the exercise.
But Mr Quartey said the AMA should have provided the traders a minimum of 3 months notice as stated in the Rent Control regulations with a court order from any court of competent jurisdiction before it carried out the exercise.
‘I don’t have the power to stop the exercise, what I am doing is trying to get the right things to be done. As at now, I have spoken to the taskforce and the security service. The AMA has also assured me that they have put the demolition exercise in this area on hold till we meet with the mayor and straighten out things.
‘I don’t condone any illegality in this country. Indeed my position is to ensure that the security services are able to conduct their jobs freely but then fairly and objectively. There are laws in this country. There is a court of competent jurisdiction that they need to get an order from before there begin this exercise. Where is the court order?’ he quizzed.
He disclosed that the AMA had been collecting taxes from these traders every month making their stay in the area ‘legal’.
The Ayawaso Central MP said destroying properties in the name of decongestion without giving prior notice was a ‘kneejerk reaction, which would not help anyone.’
‘In the first place if I’m not mistaken, for the past 10years, these structures have been here which means that one way or the other the AMA has legalized their stay. All these people here pay taxes to the AMA and they have receipts for that. Per the rent control rules and regulations, you cannot wake up all of a sudden without any court order, bring a bulldozer to come and demolish people’s shops over here. Even if they are illegal structures, the fact that you collect taxes from them means you have legalized their stay,’ he told DAILY GUIDE.
The affected traders who wept uncontrollably, told the paper that they did not know how they would survive in view of the drastic increment in utility bills recently.
‘I have got a wife and kids and as it stands now, I don’t even know how I am going to take care of them. In the heat of this economic hardship, how does the government expect us to survive and where are we going to work?’ an affected trader said.
By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh
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