Private property owners objecting to quit notice to vacate the area earmarked for construction of the controversial national cathedral have served notice it will cost Government millions of dollars to take over their land.
The affected property hosts sensitive and expensive IT infrastructure for many State entities including the Bank of Ghana, CEPS, SSNIT, CSD, GSE, GRA and other corporate organizations home and abroad.
Lands Minister Peter Amewu wrote on 30th May 2018 to communicate government’s plan to pay the company compensation to acquire the land for purposes of the cathedral project. But the owners, through their lawyers, replied complaining about short notice and warning it will cost government millions of dollars.
According to the owners, while the period given for relocation is practically impossible as it will cause major disruptions in the sensitive services provided to government and other clients.
It will also cause violations of the contracts they have entered into with the various entities that the “ disruption in the services provided by our client to the aforesaid institutions will not only have serious contractual and financial implications, but will cause immeasurable hardship to the businesses of the said institutions some of which are vital to the functions of government.”
They state that government is allowed by law to take over private property and pay compensation, the purpose must be that “the taking of possession or acquisition is necessary in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, town and country planning or the development or utilization of property in such a manner as to promote the public benefit”.
They argue that “our view being that, it being doubtful that the acquisition of our client’s interest in the property can be justified on any of the aforesaid grounds given the heterogeneous nature of the Ghanaian society in terms of religion.”
This is yet further evidence that government’s initial claim corroborated by the group of clergy for the cathedral that the project comes at no cost to the taxpayer is pure lies.