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26.03.2007 General News

President Kufuor directs probe into demolished hotel

By Daily Guide

The demolishing of the exquisite PIER Hotel in Accra by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly with a joint military and police team some eight years ago and for which the state is being asked to pay compensation, is said to have received presidential attention.

The Daily Guide newspaper reports that President Kufuor, acting on newspaper reports, has directed the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to look into the matter and unravel the mystery surrounding a suspected $7 million extra claims over the illegal demolition carried out in 1999.

With the excuse that the Pier Hotel was built on waterways, the National Democratic Congress government called in the military to pull down the hotel.

The Daily Guide said it was not until the New Patriotic Party took over the reins of government that Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim, owner of the hotel, dragged the AMA to court asking for compensation.

The Daily Guide reported on Monday that it was reliably informed that four cabinet ministers, including the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joe Ghartey, have already submitted statements to the BNI on the matter.

The latest twist in the eight-year-old tussle, according to the paper, is that the AMA has also washed its hands off a purported $12 million settlement with the owners, stressing that the claim emanated from unknown sources.

The AMA Chief Executive, Stanley Adjiri Blankson has in a letter to the Attorney General contended that the amount officially in dispute has been inflated by about $7 million and bluntly said the claim should be disregarded.

According the AMA boss, the only amount under discussion as indicated in the plaintiff's writ of summons since 2001 was $5,107,075.29.

The issue of Pier Hotel was revived recently when the Francis Kojo Smith, counsel for Alhaji Yusif, reportedly demanded $12 million from government.

The Daily Guide said however, that all documentation it has cited over the issue since September 12, 1999 when the hotel was demolished quotes consistently a little over $5 million.

All these aside, a Fast Track High Court ruling on the matter on November 19, 2001, in which Mrs Justice Agnes Dordzie found the AMA culpable for the actions of the 48 Engineer Regiment, quoted the same amount.

Source: Daily Guide