Government through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, has on Friday, March 18, appointed a Sole Inquirer to investigate the circumstances surrounding the ownership of some parcel of land in dispute between the Bulgarian Embassy and a private developer.
Lands Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, at the inauguration said the Ministry’s attention was drawn to media reports about the demolishing of the Bulgarian Embassy by some private individuals.
The report, he said, received immediate action as a team led by his Deputy Minister in charge of Lands and Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio, was sent to the scene.
He said, acting on instructions, all activities on the land were halted until further notice.
The Minister reiterated that government has no hand in the said demolition exercise.
He stressed that President Akufo-Addo, who has previously served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs would be the last person to authorise any act that affects diplomatic relations or the country’s obligations under international law.
In view of this, the Minister said there is the need to commission a full investigation into the circumstances leading to the alleged demolition and the development of the property.
He said the terms of reference for the Sole Inquirer are to;
- Undertake a full and impartial inquiry into the alleged encroachment and/or demolishing of property on the land being used as the Bulgarian Embassy,
- Make appropriate recommendations relating to the land being used as the Bulgarian Embassy
- Inquire into the nature of interest in any land held or occupied by Diplomatic Missions in Ghana
- Inquire into any matter relating to land in which Diplomatic Missions in Ghana have an interest whatsoever
- Make recommendations to Government.
Due to the urgency of the issue relating to the Bulgarian Embassy, the Minister gave the Sole Inquirer an ultimatum of seven days to present a report on his Terms of Reference (1) and (2) above, and a period of one month to present a full report on Terms of Reference (3) to (5).
Mr Jinapor declared that government is committed to maintaining the cordial relations it keeps with all diplomatic missions and will by no means allow the current issue to mar the long standing relationship that exists between Ghana and Bulgaria.
Mr Jinapor further noted that with the expertise and experience of the Sole Inquirer, he is absolutely confident that the Ministry would be provided with the full facts and directions to act on them decisively and comprehensively.
The Sole Inquirer, Kwasi Anto Ofori-Atta, a retired Justice of the High Court and a one time Chairman of the Ashanti Regional Lands Commission in his response said he is grateful to government and the Ministry for the confidence reposed in him.
Mr Ofori-Atta assured the Minister that he will do all in his capacity as the Inquirer to fully investigate the matter as per his Terms of Reference.
“I wish to assure you and the whole of Ghana to do my very best to put this matter to rest. Thank you for the opportunity,” he said.
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