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02.12.2003 General News

SHC confiscates my housing unit - Midwife

By gna
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Accra, Dec. 2, GNA - Madam Rose Obiri-Kumi Owusu, a midwife at Asesewa Akate-Nsuano in the Eastern Region, on Tuesday said one of two semi-detached unit houses she acquired in 1973 was confiscated in 1982 by a retrospective decree of then Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government.

She said the State Housing Corporation (SHC) allocated the two semi- detached houses in place of a two-bedroom house she had applied for because of unavailability of the requested unit type.

Testifying before a National Reconciliation Commission public hearing in Accra, Madam Owusu said the document notifying her of the confiscation was neither signed, nor written on the SHC's letterhead. However, she said the letter bore the name of Mr Boakye Yiadom, then Estate Officer of the company.

Mr Yiadom is currently a District Chief Executive (Kwaebibirem) in the Eastern Region.

Madam Owusu said after she had completed paying the required deposit for the two units, Mr Yiadom refused to give her the rent card to cover the second unit.

Madam Owusu said a neighbour in whose care she left the second unit when she was transferred to Pramkese had brought in one Akavor as caretaker.

She said the SHC later allocated the unit to Akavor who has since moved out and rented the house to another tenant, while she (Mad Owusu) continued to pay the property rate of the unit, despite its consfication.

The Witness said she petitioned the State House in Accra in 1983, but Boakye Yiadom, when invited, told the State House that her file was missing. She said even when she was on transfer in the Afram Plains, she continued making numerous visits to Mr. Boakye Yiadom in Koforidua for her rent, card without results. Madam Owusu said she then petitioned the then Head of State, Flt. Lt Jerry John Rawlings, when he was on a visit to the Afram Plains in 1990, who, later through national radio and the press, ordered a de-confiscation within 24 hours. She said the SHC did not carry out the order because it said it did not receive any authorisation to that effect. The Witness said soldiers at the Castle also prevented her from seeing the Head of State to discuss her rent card with him.

The Witness said the loss of the unit weighed so much on he that she was so mentally disturbed that at one time, she dressed shabbily to the Castle in her efforts to have audience with the Head of State. "I nearly went mad", she said.

Madam Owusu said she later petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), which recommended a valuation of the house and the difference in cost paid to her.

She said she objected to the recommendation, stating that she wanted to have the house instead of any monetary compensation.

Madam Owusu said she had become hypertensive as a result worries of the seizure of her house.

She said a number of unauthorised structures, including a cornmill had been put in front of the remaining one unit house, and noise from the corn mill was had become a worry.

Moreover, the operation of the corn mill had affected power supply to her house.

Madam Owusu prayed the Commission to help her have the one unit house back as well as the removal of the unauthorised structures.

Commission expressed its sympathy to the Witness who said she has served in the rural areas since the last 34 years.

Commissioner General Alexander Erskine described the decree confiscating Madam Owusu's house as obnoxious but however, appealed to her to continue her service to the rural areas to help the vulnerable.

Commissioner Charles Palmer Buckle, who is also Catholic Bishop of Koforidua, assured Madam Owusu of a visit to her estate in Adweso in Koforidua to have a first hand knowledge, saying she needed at least a hearing.

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