General News of Wednesday, 9 August 2017
Residents of Adjiriganor, a suburb of Accra, were gripped with fear and panic when a group of suspected land guards, led by one Sariki Awala, a self-styled real estate developer forcibly ejected them from their properties with impunity.
According to them, Sariki Awala has no regard for land owners as he allegedly terrorizes them and when they (owners) confront him, he goes wild.
For some time now, residents of Sowutuom, Adjiringanor, Otanor and Ashaley Botwe have been complaining about the activities of Sariki Awala, whom they want the Inspector General of Police (IGP), David Asante-Apeatu and the National Security to stop.
Many advocates believe that it is high time that land guards preventing rightful owners from developing their lands be apprehended and dealt with according to the laws of the country.
But strangely, the police appear to be helpless and allowing the criminals to cause a lot harm to real property owners.
The residents revealed that the trouble makers use land guards on motorbikes who use cutlasses, guns and clubs to chase out people whenever they go to their plots to develop them.
“Immediately those plots have been identified, they then send well-built men whom they employ to go and eject any caretakers on the land. They subject the caretakers to brutality if any resistance is met. Threats of kidnapping and killing are used to remove legitimate owners from their lands,” a resident alleged.
Another resident asserted, “If you have a plot that is walled or fenced, they send their workers with bulldozers to pull everything down. They act with such impunity and with no regard for the law.”
The latest victim of Sariki Awala is one Martin K. Tuwm, who is being forcibly ejected from his land at Adjiriganor – land he said he bought since 1997 with documents covering it.
Sariki Awala was reported to have led a team of well-built men to the area to seize the plot.
Mr Twum said he had taken possession of the land and had been paying ground rent to the Land Commission annually, constructed a fence wall around it and built a wooden structure on it for a caretaker to live in.
According to him, sometime in May 2017, he was informed that a group of persons had come to the plot and were claiming ownership.
Mr. Twum revealed that he contacted the family head of Ashong Mlitse of the Odaitei Tse We, who told him of a new court judgement and he was introduced to the persons whose favour the ruling went.
“A tripartite meeting among the family heads of the defendants and the co-defendant and his lawyer and me was arranged and took place on June 15, 2017. It was agreed that I pay a regularization fee of GH¢50,000 and I have paid GH¢30,000 so far and I have been given the new documents covering the land by the new persons the court ruling went their favour,” he stated.
On July 13, 2017, according to him, one Asafoiatse Nii Affum, an alleged accomplice of Sariki Awala, brought a group of people to look at the plot and on the following day a group of workmen started raising the fence wall, using sand belonging to him.
“On arrival at the site, the workmen were at work, so the police demanded to know the person who assigned the work to them, and the foreman mentioned one Mr. Owusu of Menzgold Limited. The foreman was made to call Mr. Owusu and the police invited him to come to the police station but Mr. Owusu never showed up,” he said.
Mr. Twum noted that Sariki Awala was unable to provide any documents to show that the land belongs to him when he was invited by Property Fraud Unit of the Ghana Police Service.
He has, however, encroached on the land and begun developing it because the case is being delayed.