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PRESS STATEMENT BY THE ALLIANCE FOR SAFEGUARDING THE INTEGRITY OF THE SECURITY SERVICES (ASISS)

WANTON DISSIPATION OF GHANA ARMED FORCES PROPERTIES

The Alliance for Safeguarding the Integrity of the Security Services (ASISS), a civil society organization issues this press statement to vehemently protest against indiscriminate sale of the Ghana Armed forces properties going on around the country which has the potential to inhibit future development and expansion of the service.

In any society or organisation, prudent efforts and steps towards development for the benefit of all are highly commendable. In such an environment, proactive measures such as re-strategizing, converting non-performing assets into viable ones, etc are taken for both short and long term development.

The other side of the coin, which must be condemned in no uncertain terms, is when the greed and personal interest of a few people lead to wanton and indiscriminate dissipation of an organisations properties at the expense of organisational growth and development.

Fellow Countrymen and women, unfortunately, the latter scenario is exactly the canker that is rearing its ugly head in our cherished Armed Forces.

We have convincing evidence that Ghana Armed Forces properties, including places of historic importance are being sold to private developers. We therefore issue this press statement to use your platform to appeal to the Armed Forces hierarchy to take immediate steps to halt this trend in order to protect and preserve the forces heritage for future generations.

It would be recalled that in the year 2008, in the wake of wild rumours about plans to sell off the NOI Roman Ridge residence of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Brig.. Gen. Nunoo Mensah and his cohorts used this rumour to whip up sentiments within the Armed Forces against the then government. Ironically, it is now under the very nose of Gen Nunoo Mensah who advises the President on national security issues not excluding preserving of national assets that the same property is being sold out. We want to know from the respected and principled general whether he is aware of the sale and what he has done about it.

It is worrying that some of the properties allegedly being sold out are vital to the growth and advancement of the services. For the purpose of this Press statement, we wish to mention but a few of those assets.

NO I ROMAN RIDGE RESIDENCE

This is the official residence of the CDS of the Ghana Armed Forces situated off the road opposite Accra Girls Senior High School. We are aware of plans having been far advanced to sell this huge property under very suspicious arrangements.

ARMY OFFICERS MESS

Information gathered indicates that it is being sold to a private developer to establish a shopping mall, hotel and private hospital.

This mess, which also serves as a living accommodation for a number of officers, is a rich museum and a rallying point for all Army Officers (both serving and retired). It contains a greater part of Ghana’s Military history, and serves as the epitome of the soul of the Ghana Army. One recalls with nostalgia, the days as young officers, when you would go to the Army mess and learn from the senior ones as they recreate scenes of their gallantry in Congo, Burma, Rangoon etc. If it is a matter of expansion, couldn’t the Armed Forces have used the undeveloped land to expand on the military hospital? What is the point in co-locating private hospital with the 37 Military Hospital? Where would the future expansion of the military hospital go to? Is the intention to make the 37 Military Hospital irrelevant? We demand an immediate explanation from the military hierarchy the motive behind the sale of the army mess land.

Another question is whether the site, which is just opposite the 37 Military Hospital is suitable for the establishment of a shopping mall considering the movement of vehicles, especially ambulances in and out of the hospital. Have we forgotten the inconveniences that the Tetteh Quashie Roundabout Shopping Mall caused to vehicular movement at the area?
Where will the officers at the mess be moved to?

1 DRAKE AVENUE

The Ghana Armed Forces large stretch of land at Drake Avenue, Airport Residential Area in Accra which housed a former CDS is also reported to have been sold out to a private developer. The developer is to use 10 acres out of the 20 acres of the said land to build 20 unit accommodation for the Armed Forces whiles he uses the remaining 10 acres for his own development. Now the questions are:

a. Who approved of this bad deal?

b. Was value for money (VFM) analysis and audit done on this deal?

c. Was this huge strategic property given out to a crony?

LABADI VILLA’S LAND

A portion of service land along the road near Labadi Villa’s junction on the 37 Military Hospital – T-Junction road has already been sold and a Goil Fuel Filling Station has just sprung up there. Indeed, the whole stretch off land on the Giffard road from Congo Junction to Labadi Villa’s Junction has fallen victim to this indiscriminate sale of the Ghana Armed Forces properties. This is yet another graphic indication of the reckless actions for parochial interests of a few within the system.

TESHIE CAMP

Some portions of land at Teshie Camp off the T-Junction – Teshie road have also been sold out. Development is currently taking place on those lands.

FILLING STATIONS

A number of service lands around Accra are reported to have been given out for the establishment of private fuel filling stations. It is however alleged that money for these lands cannot be traced. At least money accrued could have been channeled to renovating troops accommodation.

OTHER GARRISONS

Reliable information reaching ASISS indicates that the selling spree is not only in Accra but it is going on around other garrisons across the country. The proportional growth of the Armed Forces to population growth and national development calls for the preservation of service lands for future expansions. When all lands are sold out, then some of our future officers and men will be required to live in individual homes.

Esprit de corps, which is the foundation stone of any security service would then wane. It is a fact that living together, training together, attending both formal and informal functions and knowing each other’s family are the pillars of Esprit de corps.

Fellow Ghanaians, ASISS asks these questions on behalf of the numerous Officers and Men (both serving and retired):

1. What are the basis of selling these properties?

2. Who approved the sales?

3. How much was each property sold for?

4. What are the terms of agreement for the payments?

5. Who are the private developers involved in the purchases?

6. Who are the beneficiaries?

7. Who are the human faces behind these dissipations?

We demand immediate answers to these crucial questions from the Ghana Armed Forces hierarchy. These properties belong to the nation, and citizens have the right to know all circumstances surrounding their sale. If no satisfactory and reasonable reasons are given, we shall use all means at our disposal to stop private developments taking place on those properties.

We want to use this platform to advise all developers involved to take the necessary steps to recover their monies and stay away from these precious service properties because we are ready to sacrifice our lives to protect our heritage, of course, these are a heritage worth dying for.

We also caution all elements in the Ghana Armed Forces involved in depriving the GAF of its properties that the day of reckoning is not too far away. The principle of natural justice would catch up with them and they will atone for their actions and inactions.

Finally, we call on all officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces, both serving and retired, the General Sams, Akafias, Obengs, Danquahs and the FSMs (Coles) to join the crusade to protect our heritage bequeathed to us by our gallant men and women who laid down their lives for the Ghana Armed Forces and the nation as a whole.

Thank you. May God Bless you all.

LT COL A SEREBOUR (RTD)

WG CDR BA ASAMOAH (RTD)

MAJOR N MENSAH (RTD)

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