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General News of Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Source: Statesman

Minister builds ¢25bn 20-room mansion on waterway

RESIDENTS of Golf City Estates in Tema live in danger of having their homes and belongings drowned in floods because of the decision by Minister for Information John Akologo Tia to put up a massive 20-room building on a waterway in the area.

While a building consultant puts the Minister's personal housing project at GHC2.5 million (25 billion old cedis), his neighbours' concern is not about the cost of the building but about the cost of the damage that the construction is having on their own property.

Neighbours blame the unusual flooding of the area in recent times on the fact that the Mr Tia's building has eaten into a part of the bridge, blocking the free flow of the water.

Over 30 detached houses in the area suffer from severe floods whenever there is a heavy downpour, a situation which the residents say is getting worse and damaging their property.

“We never used to face this problem before the Minster and his wife started their building project,” lamented a neighbour who refused to be named for fear of reprisals.

When the New Statesman visited the area, workers were busily at work and neighbours were busily complaining. Work on the site goes on nonstop, day and night, seven times a week, according to residents.

Mrs Tia was seen last Saturday coming out from a two-year old blue Toyota Landcruiser to inspect the project.

Most obviously affected by the waterway blockade is the Delawen Poultry Farm, located right opposite the Minister's building. The animal husbandry lost over 10,000 birds and hundreds of sheep at an estimated cost of GHc70, 000. This loss, according to sources at the farm, occurred during the recent rains.

Some resident say the Minister has ignored all their complaints. “He's serious about showing us where power lies and we are seriously reeling from it,” one resident cried.

After several complaints, including clear warnings from the Tema Development Corporation and the Tema Municipal Assembly, construction on the waterway stopped. But, this was only for a short period before work resumed full steam.

Our checks at both the TMA and TDC suggest that the authorities have been impressed upon “to allow the Minister to break the law”, said a TDC source, and “to get away with murder,” added a TMA insider.

Yaw Kudjorji, a resident, shared his frustration with our reporter. He said the residents were tired of making official complaints to both the TDC and TMA because “nothing happens.”

His fear was that things could get worse as the raining season kicks in and the flooding could cause more havoc than so far endured.

Another resident could not hide her anger and exasperation. “We are afraid that any rainfall can flood all our houses due to one man's negligence and power as a Minister,” said Madam Florence Donkor.