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General News of Friday, 13 March 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

We're being harassed for seeking justice over illegal structure - Association International School

Authorities at the Association International School (AIS), are suspecting some officials in the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia led government of being behind the construction of the controversial 22-storey building adjacent premises at the Airport Residential area.

In a strong-worded statement issued and signed by Mrs Audrey Doryumu [Headmistress of Association International School], stated that the ongoing construction by KASS Plus Company Limited has negatively affected the school.

She said the construction activities have negatively and heavily impacted the health, services and operations of our school owing to reasons including poor engineering practices.

“We have good reason to believe that these new developments are not merely coincidental. We further reasonably believe that the manner the officials have conducted themselves raises genuine suspicion of harassment of me and my staff and indeed the entire Association International School family due to our avowed goal to seek justice in ensuring that our concerns are addressed and for stoppage of the ongoing damage we are suffering due to the ongoing construction works. Our resolve for all risks posed to us to be addressed cannot be broken...," she added.

“Should my suspicion be confirmed, this will amount to the unfair use of state and other governmental authorities by connected persons, which is an abuse and the use of state authority against a private citizen who is simply trying to protect her business and ensure that the right thing is being done," Mrs Doryumu noted.

Background

The Turkish contractor made the headlines when the Roads Minister stormed the site where the 22-storey structure was being put up, close to the Association International School in the Airport Residential Area, and ordered the arrest of the CEO of the construction company, a certain Abdulkadir Yadigar, who, according to the minister, had put up a barricade on the road which created a traffic logjam.

Meanwhile, the Association International School filed an interim injunction against the Turkish contractor at the centre of the controversial 22-storey building at the Airport Residential area but was dismissed by an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Afua Novisi Aryene.

The court after hearing lawyers of the Association International School, the applicant, and the Kess Plus Construction Limited, respondent, ruled that the applicant has not been able to substantiate its claims of nuisance and other health concerns to warrant the grant of the injunction.

It was the ruling of the court that, the respondent stands to suffer irreparable damages should the application be granted.

The court subsequently dismissed the application.

PRESS RELEASE

1. Association International School has been in existence for decades, since 1963.

2. The school provides very important academic and social amenities for our country Ghana.

3. As an educational institution, the school does not and will not produce anything that impacts the environment negatively as it needs a sound environment in order to create a conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning.

4. We are legitimate holders of the title of the property where we are located and we continue to uphold the law and provide child development services to children of this land.

The ongoing construction since June 2019, against which we have registered our concerns, is near the school and it is being carried out by the entity known as KASS Plus Company Limited, who is working for a client known as KASS Development Limited. The construction activities have negatively and heavily impacted the health, services and operations of our school owing to reasons including poor engineering practices. There was deep excavation of the site, which led to lateral movements of soil such that the road in front of the school got damaged and developed open cracks – Adjoining walls of neighbouring properties have also collapsed and cracks have appeared in the foundation and main buildings of some neighbouring properties all because safety was compromised.

Health & Safety Concerns:

1. The constant noise and vibrations from the construction site are traumatizing to our little ones aged 2-6 years old.

2. The vibrations, often very noisy disturb the peace of our school, impacting ongoing classes and students and we are now experiencing frequent and sometimes daily power outages. Our phone lines have been destroyed and we have had no service for a long time. This we reasonably believe was due to the destruction of the underground Vodafone cables, which were destroyed by the ongoing construction.

3. Chemicals being used on the site produce noxious fumes, and we have had instances where some of the kids and some persons at the school have developed health problems, which have been respiratory in nature.

4. As a result of the destruction and blockage of our surrounding gutters, the gutters have been clogged and the stagnant waters are producing a foul smell, posing further health risk and producing an onslaught of mosquitoes in the classrooms, to the detriment of the health of the children.

5. The constant blocking of the road impacts all stakeholders because of the heavy equipment on the roads. Traffic is horrendous, making an already stressful situation even worse.

Recent Developments

Consequently, as a result of the ongoing problems, which are now a nuisance to the school, we as the school, together with the support of some residents whose properties have been destroyed and compromised, took the matter to court. On Friday the 28th of February 2020, some Immigration Officers together with some security operatives, who claimed to be doing their work, stormed our school supposedly to search for documentation of our expatriate teachers and staff who hail from the African Continent.

On Monday March 2nd 2020, some men, who we suspect to be acting as land guards, accompanied by some officials from the Ayawaso West Municipal Assembly also stormed the school in the same fashion as the first incident demanding documentation on our ongoing 2-storey Sports Arena & Multipurpose building.

We have good reason to believe that these new developments are not merely coincidental. We further reasonably believe that the manner the officials have conducted themselves, raises genuine suspicion of harassment of me and my staff and indeed the entire Association International School family due to our avowed goal to seek justice in ensuring that our concerns are addressed and for stoppage of the ongoing damage we are suffering due to the ongoing construction works. Our resolve for all risks posed to us to be addressed cannot be broken.

We believe that there is nothing hidden that will not be uncovered. We also believe that what to others may amount to mere suspicion, will be conformed for all to see. If the confirmation occurs for the Public to see, relevant persons will have to answer for the manner they themselves or have allowed connected persons to embark on a crusade for the unfair use of state powers against an innocent citizen who has contributed towards the man-power development of Ghanaians and foreigners who have passed and are passing through this noble school.

Should my suspicion be confirmed, this will amount to the unfair use of state and other governmental authorities by connected persons, which is an abuse and the use of state authority against a private citizen who is simply trying to protect her business and ensure that the right thing is being done.

We will continue to fight against the construction because it is a human rights issue and individuals vested with state power, who deem their interests to be more superior to that of the ordinary citizen, are trampling upon the rights of the children, faculty and staff of Association International School.

Thank you,

Mrs. Audrey Doryumu

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