Reference is made to a news item carried on your station on the 81b of July 2022. In the said video which was aired on your news program The Pulse’ a Technical Advisor to the Chief Executive of Forestry Commission, Mr. David Kpelle, made a damning allegation against Celebrity Golf Club and Holiday Resort Ltd (CELEBRITY), an allegation which has since damaged the hard-earned reputation of the Golf Club and the Company.
In the said footage, Mr. David Kpelle stated categorically that, the Celebrity Golf Club had applied to TDC (Tema Development Corporation) for additional 470 acres which was refused. He further alleged that CELEBRITY had constructed a wall in an attempt to seize additional land. This statement is not only false and malicious but also intended to tarnish the image of Celebrity.
Here are the facts of the matter:
- At the time of Ramsar acquisition in 1991, Celebrity’s total landholding was 585 acres which was reduced to 275 acres effectively in 1997 due to the Ramsar acquisition by TDC.
- That at the time of the acquisition, even though Celebrity had acquired 585 acres, only the initial acquisition of 172 acres had been registered with the Lands Commission of Ghana. The deed of Variation issued in April 2000, was to rectify the discrepancy in documentation post the compulsory acquisition and to recognize that Celebrity land holding had been reduced from 585 acres to 275 acres.
- TDC was still billing Celebrity on ground rents over the 585 acres. After petitions to the Ministry of Works and Housing, the issue was resolved for TDC to prepare a Deed of Variation in to cover the REMAINING LAND after the Ramsar Acquisition.
- As per a letter dated 22nd November 1995 by the Chief wildlife Officer, Mr G.A Punguse, Game and Wildlife never had any issues with Celebrity Landholding. Please note the same Chief wildlife Officer was part of the committee responsible for the Sakumo Ramsar acquisition. Historically, there has never been any dispute on boundaries between Celebrity and the Ramsar site and indeed Celebrity has always had a very cordial alliance with the Game and Wild Life Division of Forestry Commission.
- As per minutes of a meeting convened by the office of the President on 22 July, 1996, held at the office of the Minister for Works and Housing, it was established that Celebrity’s land acquisition was proper.
- At no point during or after the Compulsory Acquisition, was Celebrity granted additional land, rather ironically, the land holding of Celebrity was reduced by 310 acres in favour of the Ramsar.
- Celebrity current 275 acres of land was acquired legitimately from TDC with documentation. All land assignments from Celebrity are within this boundary and are executed with signed consent from TDC. Celebrity and its assignees are subsequently billed ground rent by TDC.
- Celebrity has at no time applied to TDC for additional land and has only ever operated for over 30 years within its legitimate boundary which is distinctly separate from the Ramsar site.
- Celebrity has never had any boundary dispute with forestry commission over the Ramsar site till recently when our assignees started being harassed by the current field officer Thomas Acquah. We made official complaints to the Forestry Commission and duly notified TDC about the harassment and boundary dispute. TDC in trying to resolve this impasse invited representatives of both Forestry Commission and Celebrity to a meeting. Unfortunately, a day before the meeting we were informed that the Chief Executive of Forestry Commission had instructed the representative from Forestry Commission not to attend.
- Allegedly, a committee had been set up by the Minister of Lands to investigate all disputes on the Ramsar site and so it was unnecessary to attend the scheduled meeting. Interestingly no representative of TDC or Celebrity was invited or made privy to the work of the alleged committee.
- Ironically, Forestry is silent on the massive encroachment of the 310 acres taken from celebrity for the Ramsar and rather seeking to put in disrepute Celebrity’s protected lands.
- Who is selling the core Ramsar site including the Sakumono Lagoon? It is of course not Celebrity. Forestry must be the one to answer.
- Having erroneously been cited for wrongdoing, we had reasonably expected that for fairness and sound ethical consideration, the position of Celebrity would have been sought by Multimedia Group before publishing. Be that as it may, we hope this publication will be accorded the same attention as the fast.
Celebrity has at all times been on the side of the law and has never acted in such a manner that will bring its name into disrepute. We are available for further interview on the subject.
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