Ghana Police and Land Commission, have landed themselves in massive trouble for unlawfully allocating and aiding the demolishing of a four bedroom property at Osu near Akai Clinic in Accra, belonging to the Welbeck family since 1969, through a lease acquired by Esi Manan.
The management of Lands Commission, had allocated the plot approximately 0.29 acres on which the property sits to Kelvin Ofori-Atta and Awura Adjoa Ofori-Atta, identified as relatives of the President, Nana Akufo-Addo and a younger brother of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, although the lease on the property, had not expired.
What is bizarre, was that, the Ofori-Attas, had procured the services of Policemen from the Greater Accra Regional Headquarters who stormed the property in the company of heavily armed land guards to remove the roof on the building and followed that up days later to raze down the property, leaving its occupants, including a caretaker homeless.
This was without any legal authority, especially the court. A police report from the Greater Accra Regional Headquarters, said they were only able to obtain a document from the Ministry of Works and Housing, where Lawyer Samuel Atta Akyea, who is a relative of the Ofori Atta family, had served as a minister.
The transaction for Kelvin and Awura Adjoa, to take over the land began in 2019, while Mr Atta Akyea was in office, but it is unclear, if he facilitated the illegal takeover.
The demolished property, an estate house sold to the Welbeck family in 1969 by the then Ghana Housing Corporation, today’s State Housing Company, but the Police in their report claimed that they allowed the property to be demolished because the Lands Commission which is under the Ministry of Works and Housing, had confirmed allocating the land to Kelvin and Awura Adwoa. The police claimed they had written to the State Housing Company on the property, but never got a reply ahead of pulling down the Welbeck’s house.
Pictures sighted of the building before and after it was demolished, paints Ghana as a lawless country, with policemen in partnership with hoodlums and in the name of President Akufo-Addo, going about denying citizens their legally acquired properties, instead of enforcing the laws of the country.
Aba Dede Welbeck, a 56-year old daughter of the late Esi Manan, has since dragged the Ofori-Atta couple, the Lands Commission, the Inspector General of Police, George Akuffo-Dampare, one Afful Boakye Yiadom and Detective Inspector Solomon Manlokiya of the Greater Accra Regional Police Headquarters over the illegal act to court.
Afful Boakye Yiadom, has been mentioned as the front man for Kelvin Ofori-Atta and Awura Adjoa Ofori-Atta. The two are alleged to be hiding behind state power from the Presidency, as well as their family ties to people wielding state power and denying the Welbek’s their rights to the property.
Ms. Welbeck alias Anti Dede, has since told The Herald that her attempt to see how the land was acquired by Kelvin and Awura Adjoa Ofori-Atta, proved futile, adding although she was invited by the police to meet up with the couple, they never turned up at the station to produce the documents showing them as the new owners of the land on which the house sits.
According to Ms. Welbeck, last week, her lawyers at Law Trust Company, had gotten a writ served on the Police, the Lands Commission and the Ofori-Attas, seeking GH¢192,795.00 as special damages for the destruction of the roof of the property by the unlawful conduct of the defendants, however, this Sunday, agents of Kelvin and Awura Adjoa, stormed site of the property and razed it down in blatant violation of the court process.
The police report from the Greater Accra Regional Police Headquarters signed by the Regional Crime Officer, Chief, Superintendent Joseph Oppong, had explained that “on 14th May 2021, Kelvin Ofori-Atta and Awura Adjoa Ofori-Atta, reported that, during the year 2019, they applied for Government’s Re-Development Housing Scheme Project at Cantonments near Akai Clinic, Accra. That, the relevant bodies made him pay the statutory fees to the Ministry of Works and Housing and at the Land Commission, and lease document on the property dated 29/03/2021, was issued to them. However, some persons have trespassed onto the land and occupied a building situated on it”.
According to the police, “on receipt of the complaint, statements were collected from the complainants. On 15/05/2021, the complainant s representative, one Justice Hammond, accompanied by Police Team from the Counter Terrorism Unit went to the said property. The team arrested Joyce Mensah with her family who were occupying the property and brought to the Regional CID/Accra for Investigation”.
The police report continued that “whiles suspect Joyce Mensah was at the Police Station assisting investigations, suspect Dede Welbeck @ Anti Dede reported at the Police Station. She indicated that, the house belongs to her late mother, Madam Esi Mannah and she has authorized suspect Joyce Mensah and her family to occupy the property”.
The police document said that “Suspect Dede Welbeck @ Anti Dede was requested to provide documents covering the property to support her claim, but she failed to do so, even though she was given ample time. The complainants, however, provided their documents to the police on 26/05/2021. The Police subsequently wrote to the Chief Director, Ministry of Works and Housing, and the State Housing Company Limited, Accra and the Regional Director, Lands Commission, Accra to ascertain the authenticity of the complainant’s documents or otherwise and the rightful owner of the disputed property”.
It said “on 18/06/2021 and 07/07/2021, Ministry of Works and Housing, Accra and Lands Commission, respectively wrote to confirm that, the complainants’ documents were genuine as it reflects in the records of the Lands Commission, per the deed of lease granted on the 29/03/2021 between the government of Ghana and the complainants, whilst the State Housing is yet to respond to the Police. Following the development, the suspects have been duly informed and warned to vacate the property to enable the complainants have access to their property, please”.
Interestingly, but contrary to the police report that Ministry of Works and Housing and Lands Commission, have confirmed the ownership of the land as allocated to Kelvin and Awura Adjoa Ofori-Atta, The Herald has multiple documents, including an indenture dated February 11, 1969, between the Ghana Housing Corporation and Esi Manan of Accra.
The indenture which bears the stamp of the Lands Registry in Accra and dated 05 August 2021, indicated that per the records of the Registrar of Lands, Aba Dede Welbeck’s late mother Esi Manan, paid Ghana Housing Corporation the sum of Two thousand three hundred pounds (£2,300) for the property described as Plot No 58A at North Labone Housing Estate in Accra.
Another document titled “Oath of Proof” dated 11th February 1969, also mentioned Esi Manan, as the owner of the property bought from the Ghana Housing Corporation. It further mentioned A Nartey and R.J Amartey, a Chief Legal Officer, as those who witnessed the lease agreement between Esi Manan and the Corporation led by an Acting Managing Director.
Ms. Welbeck, in her documents to the court identified herself as the daughter of Esi Manan, who died intestate on the 22nd January, 1995, and a beneficiary of the deceased’s estate by operation of law. She identified Kelvin and Awura Adjoa; the 1st and 2nd defendants as “Ghanaian citizens and family relatives of the president of the Republic of Ghana and the Minister of Finance” with the 3rd defendant as the government agency responsible for the registration of Lands in Ghana.
According to her, “by a lease agreement dated the 11th day of February,1969, executed between the deceased and the then Ghana Housing Corporation (now State Housing Corporation), the deceased was granted the lease of all that piece and parcel of land situate, being and lying at North Labone, Accra and known as H/No. 58A, North Labone Housing Estate-Accra together with a building on same measuring approximately 0.12 of an acre (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Property’) for a period of sixty (60) years commencing from the 1st day of February, 1967.
She revealed that, after the grant of the Property, the lease was subsequently registered in the name of the deceased at the Land Registry of 3rd Defendant as Land Registry No. 1992/1969 and indexed as AC7107/69.
Ms. Welbeck, whose case is likely to be called today, added “that at all material times, the deceased had been in possession of the Property, and after her demise in 1995, the property devolved on Plaintiff and other beneficiaries of the Estate of the deceased by operation of law”.
Ms. Welbeck’s writ stated “that ever since the deceased acquired the Property in 1967, she and her beneficiaries, have been in peaceful occupation of same until sometime on the 15th day of May, 2021, when some police men armed with rifles and guns, entered onto the Property and arrested the caretakers put on the Property by Plaintiff and the other beneficiaries of the Estate of the deceased”.
“When the caretakers questioned the basis of their arrest, the police men informed them that they had been ordered by the 6th Defendant to cause their arrest. The caretakers confronted 6th Defendant and protested on this unlawful conduct of his, but 6th Defendant rebuffed their protestation and informed them (Plaintiff) that he was acting on the express instructions of 4th and 5th Defendants to cause the arrest of the caretakers and send them to the Greater Accra Regional Police station for questioning and interrogations regarding the Property”.
She narrated “that when she heard about the arrest of the caretakers, she sent her son to visit the caretakers at the police station and if possible, ask for their bail pending investigations.
At the Greater Accra Regional Police station, she inquired from Inspector Solomon, the offence for which the caretakers had been arrested and the names and identities of the complainants, but unfortunately he refused to disclose the names and identities of the complainants and or offences committed, but informed her that he was acting on the strict instructions of the IGP Afful Boakye.
The caretakers were instructed to appear at the police station on several occasions without knowing who or the names of the complainants, despite their persistent request to the police for the disclosure of the names of the complainants.
She narrated “that sometime on the 31st day of July, 2021 at 3:00am and whilst investigation was still pending, over 20 thugs, wielding offensive tools, guns, weapons and bulldozer entered onto the Property to harass the caretakers, drove them out of their rooms and took off the roofing sheets on portions of the Property.
She revealed “that the caretakers informed her about the incident and she made a complaint to the Cantonments Police station. The Cantonments Police station commander sent in some police men who went onto the Property to rescue the caretakers from being harmed by these thugs”.
When the police arrived, these thugs and weapon wielding land guards, informed them that they were acting under the instructions of the defendants and were also aware of their unlawful operations. Troubled by these acts and the revelations by these thugs, she caused a search to be conducted on the Property and to her amazement, the search showed that the government of Ghana through Lands Commission, had unlawfully leased the property to Kelvin and Awura Adwoa.
She contends that Lands Commission, does not have the capacity to sell a land which is owned by the beneficiaries of the Estate of her mother, Esi Manan (deceased) to any person, group of persons or entity and as such any purported lease of the Property by the Commission to Kelvin and his wife, is unlawful and of no legal effect.
Ms. Welbeck, disclosed that upon receipt of the search, she lodged a complaint against Kelvin and wife at the Cantonment Police station, however, she was directed to report the matter to the Greater Accra Regional police station, since it (Greater Accra Regional police station) was already seized with the matter. She obliged the directive and reported the matter to the Regional police station.
She added that, despite the fact that she had reported the matter to the Greater Accra Regional Police and investigations ongoing, Kelvin and his wife, claim that they have the support of Lands Commission and have stated that they intend to unlawfully take over the said property.
Ms. Welbeck stated that Kelvin and his wife with the active participation and connivance of Lands Commission and the others by the use of force intend to take over her property unless restrained by this court.
In the regard, she is praying the court for a “declaration that the Estate of Esi Manan is the owner of all that piece and parcel of land with building thereon, situate, lying and being at North Labone, Housing Estate-Accra, and containing an approximate Area of 0.29 acre more or less and known as Plot number 58A, North Labone Housing Estate-Accra”.
An order directing the Lands Commission “to expunge the plotting and registering of the all that piece and parcel of land with building thereon, situate, lying and being at North Labone, Housing Estate-Accra, and containing an approximate Area of 0.29 acre more or less and known as Plot number 58A, North Labone Housing Estate-Accra in the name of” Kelvin and his wife.
She is also seeking an order of perpetual injunction, restraining them, their assigns, agents and privies from interfering with the property and the beneficiaries of the estate of the deceased ownership, occupation and possession of the property.
Following last Sunday’s demolishing exercise, the lawyers, according to The Herald’s information, are about to amend the writ to capture the razing of the building to the ground.
More to come