National security co-ordinator directs operatives to comply with court order on CDC land

On 20 April a court presided by Justice Kwame Gyamfi placed an injunction on the Attorney General and the Lands Commission from accessing the land in dispute for security reasons

The national security co-ordinator, Edward Asomani, has directed security operatives to comply with a high court order restraining them from encroaching, developing, dealing with or having anything to do with a piece of land that belongs to Cascade Development Company (CDC) Ltd, a source has confirmed to Asaase News.

On 20 April 2023 the high court presided over by Justice Kwame Gyamfi Osei, at the instance of an application by the lawyer for CDC, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko of Africa Legal Associates (ALA), injuncted the Attorney General (representing National Security) and the Lands Commission from accessing the land in dispute.

“It is hereby ordered that the defendants (the Attorney General and the Lands Commission), either by themselves, their agents, privies, especially the Minister of National Security, grantees, assigns, servants, workmen, allottees and successors in interest, other alienees and relations whatsoever and howsoever described, are restrained from encroaching, developing, dealing with or having anything to do with all that piece or parcel of land known as site for conference centre,” the high court judge said in his order.

Early on the morning of Saturday 15 April, security operatives stormed the conference centre site and began building a fence wall around roughly ten acres into the land where the Kempinski Hotel stands. The directive by the national security co-ordinator follows the high court order.

Background to the dispute

The land in question was leased to CDC and Gold Coast Resorts (GCR) Ltd in 2007, under a sublease agreement with the Ghana Tourist Board, and is adjacent to the Accra International Conference Centre. It was agreed that the lessors would redevelop the site to include a five-star hotel, a shopping mall, offices and residential buildings.

The Parliament of Ghana subsequently approved a government support agreement covering the transaction. However, the Ministry of National Security disputed CDC’s claim to the land, arguing that it forms part of “National Security Lands”.

Land documents sighted by Asaase News show that a letter from the National Security Council (NSC) in 2009 ordered CDC to stop work on a project being undertaken by Zakhem Construction Ltd. The NSC claimed that the works posed a risk to national security interests and demanded that all work be halted while the security threat was examined.

CDC responded by providing all documentation relating to the project, including the proof of approval by Parliament, its registration documents and all permits secured for the construction work.

In December 2009, the NSC gave permission for work on the hotel component of the project to resume, leading to the completion of the plush edifice now known as the Kempinski Hotel.

However, CDC was to desist from undertaking the construction of the other components of the project and was requested to co-operate with the NSC to demarcate a portion of the land which, in the estimation of the NSC, would serve as a buffer which would ensure that national security interests are satisfactorily safeguarded.

However, the request for demarcation was met with objections from CDC, which accused the NSC of unlawful expropriation of private land. ALA is said to have advised CDC to seek redress in court, which led in part to the interim injunction issued last Friday.

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