Confirmed: Mahama also gave Kufuor a land
Spokesperson of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, Frank Agyekum has confirmed that his boss also received 2.3 acres of land from the state just like former President Jerry John Rawlings.
According to him the state is mandated to erect a building on the land for him.
“Yes it is correct,” he said on the Citi Breakfast Show on Wednesday when asked if claim by former Minister of Lands, Nii Osa Mills that the former president received the land from the Mahama-led administration was true.
Osa Mills made the claim on Eyewitness News on Tuesday on the back of media reports that the Mahama-led administration gave former President Jerry John Rawlings 4.368 acres of land at Ridge in Accra at a lease of GHc10 per annum for 99 years for his humanitarian project.
According to Frank Agyekum, giving Mr. Kufuor the land was part of recommendations by the committee set to review the resettlement of the former president.
“As it will be recalled as part of his retirement benefit that said that he should be given a residential accommodation, that has not been done yet and what the government decided to do was to allocate him a plot of land on which the house could be built. That is what has happened.His office has been given to him is located at Cantonments and that is where his office has been for the past three years. He is currently in his own house at East Cantonments,” he explained.
According to Kufuor's spokesperson, the state is expected to build a structure for Mr. Kufuor on the land.
“The land has been given so that the house can be built on. It's part of our requirements so I think that it is appropriate. I think it would be built by the state because the provision is that the state should accommodate him and giving him a land does not mean he has been accommodated so I believe that the state is going to build a house on the land,” Mr. Agyekum added.
Letters between Rawlings and Lands Commission
Some of the letters exchanged between the former president Rawlings and the lands commission, said the then President, John Dramani Mahama in May 2016, directed the commission to give Mr. Rawlings 4.368 acres of land situated along the Seko Toure Street, Ridge Residential Area in Accra at a lease of GHc10 per annum for 99 years.
One of the letters from the Lands Commission said the request was granted pursuant to “recommendations in the report of the commission on presidential emoluments, with regards to emolument of former presidents.”
Another letter from Rawlings while gratitude for the parcel of land further asked for more land to enable him expand a project for his foundation.
Meanwhile, in clarifying the matter, Mr. Rawlings said his subsequent request received a delayed approval from government, hence there was no agreement yet on the matter.
He also rejected claims that the land was leased to him.
“Unfortunately, the response dated May 9, 2016, received no reply till 12th December, 2016, when the Secretary to the President, Ambassador Kwesi Quartey, discovered the letter 'misplaced among' his papers and wrote to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to act upon. No lease agreement was reached with the government,” the statement added.
Osa Mills defends Rawlings
Nii Osah Mills on Eyewitness News defended the land allotted Rawlings saying there is nothing wrong for government to provide residential facilities on state lands for former heads of state.
According to him, the state owes it a responsibility to treat former leaders well.
“In my opinion, if you serve as a President of a country and you finish your work, it is only fair if the state looks after you well and looking after somebody well starts from ensuring that the person has an abode.”
Mahama’s retirement benefit
This revelation comes out at a time when immediate past President John Mahama, has come under fire for seeking to convert his official residence into his retirement home.
By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana