NEWS DESK REPORT
A LAND OWNER at NTHC Estate in Tema Community 14 in the Greater Accra Region is appealing to the Military High Command to immediately call Brigadier General Bismarck Kwasi Onwona to order by asking him to stop using soldiers to terrorise artisans working on a piece of land in the area.
These alleged military brutalities took place on Monday, June 29, Tuesday, June 30, and Thursday, July 02, 2020 on a parcel of land belonging to an estate developer, Mr Lawrence Awushitey.
This was after soldiers in a black Land Cruiser with licence plate VR 1234-19 drove to the site and assaulted workers on Mr Awushitey’s parcel of land (measuring 7.02 acres) at the NTHC Estate, the same land the army commander was also laying claim to and asserted it was allocated to him by the Tema Development Corporation (TDC).
The soldiers at NTHC Estate site
However, investigations have uncovered that TDC allocated the said two plots of land belonging to Mr Awusitey to Brigadier-General Onwona.
This came to light after Mr Awushitey discovered that Brigadier-General Onwona was also claiming to have been allocated two plots of land from his legally acquired and fenced parcel of land.
According to an eyewitness account, on June 29, the workers on Mr Awushitey’s land were manhandled by the soldiers.
The soldiers, who were wielding guns, also threatened to deal ruthlessly with the workers if they dared come to the site again, the eyewitness added.
Speaking to the DAILY HERITAGE via telephone, Brigadier Onwona confirmed that he sent the soldiers to the said land, saying “because it belongs to me.”
“I had a call that somebody had started in earnest to develop something on it. But it’s in my name. The area is the property of TDC and I bought it actually in 1989 but because of the nature of my job, I have not been able to develop it. And people encroached on it. The owners promised to replace it for me, which they did.
“…And then because the area belongs to TDC, they wrote to me that I had to come and regularise it. In fact, they wrote to me in 1990 but then I was in Lebanon and because I wasn’t around, they left the letter with my unit bur it was not given to me until after more than a year. So later on, when I got the letter, I tried to make a follow-up and saw that somebody had encroached on it.
“So the Nungua people who sold it to me promised to replace it, which they did. And as usual, because of the nature of my job, I have been trying to follow it up and finally TDC regularise it for me,” Brigadier General Onwona explained.
He went on to add that “occasionally, I have been sending people to the land to monitor it ‘until recently they came to tell me that somebody had started making footings on it.
“…so I went back to TDC to find out what was going on and they said no, they haven’t sold it to anybody, and that it was not possible for them to do double sale, so whoever is doing it, it is an illegal thing, so I should go ahead and demolish it.”
Further checks by this paper revealed that the about 7.02-acre land which had become the bone of contention belongs to to Mr Awushitey.
He is said have acquired the said land from the Nungua Stool and fenced it as a means of protecting his property.
But in 2019, the Tema Municipal Assembly (TMA) showed up at the site while his workers were there working.
The workers were informed that the land in question was a government property and that the Nungua Stool had no locus on it.
And following discussions with TMA, Mr Awushitey was given documents covering his land, which was paid for.
After that, while the workers were still developing the land, TDC also came, indicating that the said land had been acquired for them by the central government.
Our findings indicated that Mr Awushitey explained to TDC that the land was given to him by the Nungua Stool but the explanation did not sit well with TDC, whose officials insisted that the regularisation process must be done by them.
TDC sent a team of surveyors to assess the level of encroachment and later asked one Mr Atta to be in charge of the site.
The surveyor made a composite plan of the whole area, showing the area map and how the land had been partitioned
TDC called the various landowners into a meeting with the MD of TDC, Head of Estate and Head of Development, including those who owned lands at NTHC Estate.
At this meeting, the TDC produced the composite plan of the site, which indicated that, indeed, Mr Awushitey owned 7.02 acres of land.
Subsequently, TDC gave Mr Awushitey a regularisation form to fill, which he filled and attached to it a copy of his site plan, covering 7.02 acres of land and that all these happened in 2019.
However, to the surprise of Mr Awushitey, he later received a regularisation bill for 5.9 acres instead of 7.02 acres.
That development compelled his real estate company to write to TDC asking them to make the correction and since that time Mr Awushitey has been looking forward to a response from TDC but to no avail.
However, the unexpected happened on the June 30, 2020 when some gun-wielding soldiers stormed the site and started assaulting the workers.