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General News of Thursday, 22 July 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

I had no equity in US$5m hotel JJ arbitrarily demolished in 1999 – Sam Jonah

Sir Sam Jonah, Executive Chairman of Jonah Capital Sir Sam Jonah, Executive Chairman of Jonah Capital

• In 1999, the Jerry John Rawlings government demolished a property valued at US$5 million in Accra

• Talk at the time held that the demolition of Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim's hotel was for political reasons

Sam Jonah has addressed the speculation and insisted years on that the official reason given was untrue


Sir Sam Jonah, has spoken about the infamous $5 million hotel that was demolished by former President Jerry John Rawlings in 1999.

According to the business mogul, the demolition was arbitrarily done and that there was no due process because no legal authority was obtained before the demolition took place.

GhanaWeb monitored comments that Jonah made when he appeared on a Joy News program, Ghana’s Greats, which chronicled his life from a miner in his native Obuasi through to the boardrooms of top global gold mining firms.

On the subject of the demolished hotel, he said it belonged to a good friend of his but that at the time of the demolition he had zero equity in the investment.

“The absence of due process leads to unnecessary speculation as to motive and you can understand now as to why people were speculating that the hotel had been destroyed because of an association with me.

“As a matter of fact, the hotel was owned by a very dear friend of mine, Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim, but I can say categorically, I have never been an interested party in terms of equity in the hotel.

He continued: “It is tragic that even that speculation could be the reason for demolition. But it goes beyond that because when things are done in this Rambo style manner, it undermines confidence in Ghana as a safe place to invest. And for me that is the important lesson that should be learnt from this….” he stressed.

When the hotel was demolished in 1999, barely a year before Rawlings left office, the official reason was that it was built on a watercourse.

In 2009, under the John Evans Atta Mills government, Alhaji Yusif went to court and obtained a judgment debt of over six million cedis for the loss.

But in 2019, at a June 4 commemoration event – Rawling’s last before his death in 2020 – the former president said he will demolish the structure again given the opportunity and similar circumstances.

“If time were reversible, I would do it again and again and I would take along their new gargantuan structures in the watercourses. The structures were reported by his own respectable, law-abiding neighbours,” the former President stated.

But Alhaji Yusif in a TV interview had said he had forgiven the former president for the episode.

"I’m not angry with Rawlings. I’m never angry with anybody. I know that whatever happens to me is determined by God, or God says it will happen. So, I don’t have anything against Rawlings. I’ve no choice but to forgive him; the Qur’an says we should forgive and forget,” he stated.

Jonah, however, is grateful for the role JJ Rawlings played when he was head of Ashanti Goldfields and AngloGold Ashanti: “For the most part of my career, he was the president of Ghana and I have to put on record that he was very very helpful to me, in fact very supportive of my tenure,” he added.

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