Mahama is occupying official residence unlawfully – Prof Asare

Former President John Mahama’s decision to keep his official residence as his retirement home is unlawful, Accounting Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare has said.

He said the former President’s action is in clear violation of provisions of the Presidential Transition Act.

Section 10 of the law requires that the President and Vice-president shall vacate their official residence a day before the inauguration of a new president.

But Mr. Mahama before the inauguration sent a letter to the transition of team of the new government, requesting to be allowed to keep the residence which he occupied as Vice-President and later as President as his retirement home.  

“A President’s official residence is the residence at which he officially resides. In the case of Ex-President Mahama, that will be Bungalow No. 3, Prestige Link, Cantonments, Accra and its adjoining facilities.

“It is my opinion that the ex-President is currently occupying that official residence unlawfully,” Prof. Asare wrote.

In his view, Mr. Mahama “…is using force or has adversely possessed the residence. Under the Presidential Transition (Amendment) Act 2016, the outgoing President is required to vacate his official bungalow one month before swearing-in of the new President.

“If he fails to do so, the Administrator General is empowered to forcefully evict him. Of course, if the Administrator General fails to evict him, then over time, the ex-President can acquire title to the property under a doctrine called adverse possession.

“By the same token, any active citizen can go to Court and seek a writ of mandamus compelling the Administrator General to evict him. I must also highlight that both the Transition Team and the incoming President are bound by the Act and have no power to violate it.

“Likewise, the outgoing Parliament has no power to transfer property to the ex-President. Nor can it substitute its housing recommendations for that proposed by Professor Edu-Buandoh’s secret committee.

“To sum up, the ex-President occupies the official residence at Bungalow 3 unlawfully and he is advised to vacate it voluntarily or face the more embarrassing forceful eviction,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, social media is awash with people expressing disappointment and anger at suggestions that newly inaugurated President, Nana Akufo-Addo has acquiesced.