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Opinions of Saturday, 29 October 2011

Columnist: Alhassan, Suleman

Illegality at Wa Main Market

P. O. BOX 537

7th October, 2011


Dear Sir,


I write to draw the attention of your office to recent developments in the Wa Municipality, which are very worrying and destructive. The issue, which is very critical and dear to my heart as a member of this Assembly has to do with the unapproved allocation of spaces on the ‘Big’ Drainage/ Gutter running from Jengbeyiri through the Central Market to Kambali. People are allowed to construct slaps across the gutter to enable them to erect structures (containers) as shop outlets. The nagging issues are sated below:

1. Gross Disregard of Procedure

By an Executive Committee resolution of the Wa Municipal Assembly, last Assembly 2008 and this current Assembly on this drainage/ gutter, all slaps constructed on the drainage to put temporary structures (containers) were to be demolished immediately. However, instead of management ensuring that this resolution was complied with and executed, it was sad to note that management together with some elements from Assembly disregarded the resolution, and went ahead to allocate more spaces for people to construct more of such structures. In particular, these fresh allocations were duly supervised by the Municipal Chief Executive, the Presiding Member and some Assembly members.

This unfortunate act of the Assembly in my opinion amounts to reckless perpetuation of an illegality, which puts people’s lives and property at great risk.

2. Shameful extortion of money

Another twist of the matter is what I describe as the shameful extortion of money from poor market women by a clique of officers and members of the Assembly. The Municipal Buildings Inspector or representative (i.e. Abdullah) on one hand, and some two Assembly members on the other hand, i.e. Hon. Tamah – for Fongu Electoral Area, and Hon. Rashid (a.k.a Gasper) -for Jengbeyiri Electoral Area are alleged to be directly involved in this extortion. They operate as separate teams, collecting money from these poor traders, mainly women, ranging between GHC 300 to GHC 450; and account, if at all, only GHC 100 to the Assembly. Receipts are seldom issued for cash collected, and in some cases, one person may be given a receipt for a piece of space to be shared with one or two other people who have also paid for the same piece of space.

I have carried out some preliminary investigations in respect of the extortions, and the issues are very distasteful. Out of 53 women who paid monies between the ranges given above sampled, only 20 of them were issued with receipts covering just GHC 100 each. However, people’s selfish and parochial interests have not permitted these issues to be discussed and addressed, even at the General Assembly. I am prepared to assist in any form in order that sanity and dignity within the Municipality may be restored. I therefore pray on your good offices to intervene and expedite action to stop this illegality being perpetuated and any person found culpable be brought to book.

The preliminary investigations also revealed that a total amount of GHC 20,130 was collected from the market women, but out of that only GHC 2,000 representing the 20 people who paid GHC 100 each was accounted to the Assembly and receipts has been issued so far to that effect. Nobody knows what happened to the balance of GHC 18,130, hence there is the need for your outfit to investigate into this matter.

Your cooperation in this regard is highly solicited.

Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Honourable Alhassan Suleman
Assembly Member, Government Residential Area
Chairman, Finance and Administration Sub-committee

020 - 7377860