8:40, 29.Jun 2016
The Mahama administration, according to documents intercepted by ClassFMonline.com, in May 2016 leased over four acres of “unnumbered plots” of prime lands along the Sekou Toure street, Ridge Residential Area in Accra, to former President Jerry John Rawlings at a yearly irrevocable rent of GHS10 for 99 years, renewable for 50 years after expiration, for purposes of establishing the Rawlings Foundation.
Former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Nii Osah Mills, who confirmed the transaction to Class News’ Jonas Ofori-Yeboah on Tuesday, 17 January, said the allocation of the property to Mr Rawlings was part of his “entitlement” as a former president.
According to him, similar arrangements were made for former President John Agyekum Kufuor even though he could not confirm how much Mr Kufuor was supposed to pay as rent.
“Lands have also been allocated to former president Kufuor close by former president Rawlings’ residence, which is the area in question. …That area actually encompasses the residence of former president Rawlings, where he is staying currently, a fairly large compound. … Since former president Kufuor is not buying any land or any property from the government, it’s a question of again providing a space of land for him to house him as it were,” he added.
“It followed, from what I believe and understand, from the fact that former President Rawlings should be housed.
“This was done on advice of technical people in the Lands Commission, that is, in the form of, can I say, a grant. It [could not] be a freehold, it had to be a lease. …It had to do with the need and the requirement for the housing of former President JJ Rawlings; basically that’s what it’s all about because he lives there and then he could use part of it, I believe, as an office.”
He said the lease of the land to Mr Rawlings was done on the directive of the government at the time. “For such a situation to occur, it has to be on directives and so the letter speaks for itself,” he added.
Asked to confirm the lease rent of GHS10, Mr Mills said: “Following from the letter, I haven’t actually sighted the final drawn up lease or documents that have that title to former president JJ Rawlings, therefore, I’m not able to be certain to that portion of it but I know for sure that it’s in the form of a lease and normally with a lease, by law, it has to be in the form of a payment however small…” the former Minister added.
As to whether Mr Rawlings paid the rent, Mr Mills said: “Well if there was anything payable other than what you read out, I suppose that would have been. And housing him, meaning an entitlement rather than he coming to say: ‘I want to buy or purchase’ or anything, that didn’t arrive at all.”