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15.01.2012 General News

GAEC defends land against encroachment

By Betty Oforiwa Agu - Daily Graphic
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The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has stated that it will not relent in its efforts to protect its land from encroachment by individuals and estate developers.

The commission has, therefore, vowed to demolish unauthorised structures on its land at Kwabenya (towards Musuku).

A recent demolition exercise by the commission affected shops, kiosks and a real estate company, Anaina International Company Limited.

The Director General of GAEC, Professor Edward H. K. Akaho, said a committee of enquiry had been set up by the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines to examine the circumstances leading to the development of part of GAEC land by a private developer.

“The Commission of Enquiry is to identify all persons whose acts of commission or omission facilitated access to and subsequent development on parts of the state land,” he said.

He said the company in question was a foreign (Asian) real estate developing company and did not understand why state land could be given to foreigners for development at the expense of the Ghanaian’s health.

Prof Akaho stated categorically that, “GAEC is not against any investment which will employ Ghanaians but what we shall not tolerate is the location of shopping malls, hotels, apartments and warehouses on GAEC land,” adding that, “We shall demolish any structure not approved by GAEC on any part of the land and we advise that the project be relocated in a suitable part of the country”.

According to him, the Chief Executive of Ga-East District had denied involvement of his assembly in issuing permits to any company for development at the said site.

He held the position that the GAEC lacked adequate security to protect their plants and laboratories.

Owing to inadequate budget allocation over the years, he said, the GAEC could not fence 2,002.58 acres of land it acquired in 1973 through Executive Instrument No.75.

Despite the release of some 30 per cent (400.51 acres) of the GAEC total land area in October 2008 due to continuous public interest, some persons had encroached further into the 70 per cent (1602.07 acres) reserved for the GAEC.

On other hand, the Anaina International Company Limited, the affected company which had its structures partly pulled down during the demolition exercise, has described the GAEC authorities’ action as illegal and criminal.

At a separate press briefing, the Communications Director of the company, Mr Kwabena Asante, disputed Prof Akaho’s statement that the company was foreign, saying that, “the company is a wholly-owned Ghanaian company”.

He said that the company had a certificate to commence business, certificate of incorporation, a building permit from the Ga-East Municipal Assembly and an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Impact Assessment permit.

He said his company would take legal action against whoever was responsible for the criminal act of demolishing the structure on the company’s premises and manhandling some employees at post.

The Anaina International Company Limited was to develop the 163 acres of land they claimed had been acquired legally into what they termed a Pan-African International Business District to include residences and shopping centres.

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