The controversial $20-million four-storey building intended to be used as the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is currently being offered for lease, apparently because of the controversy surrounding it.
The building, which was constructed by a Chinese company, prompted questions from individuals and groups following speculations that it was owned by the NDC, even as the ruling party struggled to distance itself from it.
Though it was not clear for how much the plush edifice- which is located at Adabraka, the commercial nerve center of the capital city, Accra- is being let out, a lease notice had been pasted on the facility, asking interested persons to either call a landline or mobile phone number supplied.
An Accra-based legal practitioner and brother-in-law of the Ahwois, Kwaku Bram-Larbi, who is also a member of the NDC and in-charge of the property, indeed confirmed to DAILY GUIDE that the facility was being offered for lease at a price of $32 per square meter per month.
Mr Bram-Larbi was a member of the Sub-Committee on Legal Affairs of the NDC Transitional team in 2009 when President Mills was elected.
The committee was chaired by Betty Mould-Idrissu, former Attorney General, who authorized the fraudulent GH¢51.2million payment to Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the NDC financier.
Mr Bram-Larbi (BL) confirmed the price during an interview with DAILY GUIDE (DG) which is reproduced here.
DG: Good afternoon sir, I’m Charles Takyi-Boadu of the DAILY GUIDE newspaper. How are you doing?
BL: I’m alive
DG: Chief, we understand you are the lead lawyer in-charge of this building at Adabraka which is being offered for lease
BL: Yes, does the DAILY GUIDE want it?
DG: Well, we just have an interest in it. Chief, does that building really belong to the NDC?
BL: I don’t represent the NDC; my clients are not NDC. I thought this thing came up a long time ago. Those of you who cared did the searches…Papa. I don’t represent the NDC; the property does not belong to NDC. If you are interested, you can write a formal…notify us of your interest and then we can start talking.
DG: But chief who are the original owners of this building?
BL: Original owners? There are no original owners; the owners are my clients.
DG: Who are?
BL: Why is the DAILY GUIDE asking me these questions?
DG: We are just asking these questions in view of the controversy that it generated
BL: Which controversy? I’m not aware of any controversy…Mr Takyi, you see that when you people in the press decided to write about it, nobody said anything about it because me I knew that whoever was writing from what do you call it in London Times to whatever, they were just writing to please themselves. So nobody commented; I didn’t comment. My clients refused to comment. What I have done is what you have seen; it is there for lease. The process is that if you are interested, please send the letter, we will talk to you.
If it was for the NDC, do you think they would advertise it for leasing?
DG: I wouldn’t know but Mr. Bram-Larbi who are these your clients?
BL: I am not going to disclose to you until…if you are interested in the land, then I will tell my clients that … because I have three, four other people who have expressed interest in renting.
DG: So how much is it going for?
BL: Yes Mr. Takyi-Boadu, I have told you what I would ask you to do; what everybody who is interested is doing. If you put your interest formally on paper, then we talk to you but if you care to know it’s going for $32 per square meter.
DG: But I think, it would be good to clear any doubts hanging over the ownership of this building?
BL: There is no doubt. Well, if anybody or you think there is a doubt; go to the Lands (Commission)…You will find out. There is no doubt. It’s only one person and it’s duly registered.
DG: Who is?
BL: Please, I have answered that question with you. If you are interested, bring me an application, expressing your interest then we can talk but for me to be called by a newspaper to ask who the owner of the property is; I don’t think any good lawyer will do that.
DG: Okay Mr Bram-Larbi, I wouldn’t want to bother you that much; thank you very much sir and have a wonderful day.
BL: You’re welcome.
It was however believed that a whopping $20million was expended on the entire project as said by pro-democracy pressure group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG).
What baffled most individuals and groups, especially AFAG, which raised issues of impropriety about the building, was the fact that they could not fathom how a political party which only three years ago was on the verge of being thrown out of its Kokomlemle headquarters, due to unpaid rent arrears, could suddenly put up such a plush building in a choice area like Adabraka.
When the issue about the ownership of the building first came up for discussion, key and influential members of the NDC denied ownership until a confirmation by party General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, who said they were scheduled to move in by the middle of this year.
With the backlash that the issue generated for the NDC, it suddenly chickened out, saying that it had nothing to do with the edifice.
But a source told DAILY GUIDE that in view of the furore the building generated when it came to light, the party intended to defer its use in order to deviate attention.
They were said to be considering the option of giving it out to Accra-based Radio Gold and TV3 which are both owned by kingpins of the ruling administration, in order not to generate further controversy over the building.
It was however not clear if Radio Gold would indeed move into the building, in view of the fact that the station is undergoing massive renovation by Chinese contractors.
TV3 is said to have been bought by some NDC gurus from the Malaysian owners in another bizarre transaction.
Source Daily Guide Ghana