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Demolition of Old Parliament House not authorised by AMA

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) says it has not authorised the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to demolish the Old Parliament House opposite the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra.

According to the Chief Executive of AMA, Mr. Mohammed Adjei Sowah, the news of the demolition came to him as a “surprise” on Monday.

The demolition of the building will pave the way for a new one to be constructed at a cost GH¢15 million.

The amount is part of the budgetary allocation of GH¢37,816,401 approved by Parliament for the implementation of the activities and programmes of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

Permission not granted

In a radio interview with Accra based Citi FM, Mr. Sowah said CHRAJ, which occupies some offices in the building complex had written to the Assembly to seek permission to demolish the structure but the permit had not been granted.

“It has come to me as a surprise this morning [Monday], because sometime last month or so CHRAJ wrote a letter to us indicating their intention to demolish the property, and by law if you want to even demolish your property, you need consent of the city authority, so we wrote back to them that the property in question is a national asset and it is important that  we get clearance from government, because that particular property was once even AMA property, where it used to be a City Hall. Then they wrote back to us, about a week ago or two ago that they were established by an act of Parliament and were given that property,” he said.

He added the Assembly was yet to respond to the second letter by CHRAJ, “We are yet to meet to respond to that… I have not heard anything from them again. We are actually in a meeting, with my management discussing the matter. State agencies should know better and act in accordance with law that if you want to pull down that building, you need a permit from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly before you do that and they have not gotten the permit.”

CHRAJ reacts

Meanwhile, defending the demolition on Citi FM on Monday, the Chairman for CHRAJ, Mr. Joseph A. Whittal said it is only a portion of building that was demolished for safety reasons.

“It is only the old Parliamentary chamber and the adjoining offices that were previously used by the Judgment Debt Commission, and some of the offices of CHRAJ, that have been pulled down.  It is not the Old Parliament House that has been pull down, no... we have budgetary allocation that must be committed before the end of the year... since 2013, I don't think it is fair for the lives of the commission’s staff to be exposed” he said.

The Old Parliament House accommodated Ghana’s Legislators from the era of Kwame Nkrumah till 1981 when the Provincial National Defence Council (PNDC) ousted the government of the People’s National Party (PNP) under the leadership of the late Dr Hilla Limann.

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