An Accra High Court is threatening to summon Greater Accra Regional Minister Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo for contempt.
Residents of Adenta Fafraha in Accra have sued Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which is laying claim to lands there, on which more than 4000 homes have been built.
The court in May last year issued an order restraining the Council and its agents from demolishing any homes until it rules on the case. However, residents claim the Regional Minister has recently led CSIR officials to the area in attempts to demolish some homes which would be a breach of the court order.
The High Court in October wrote to Afotey Agbo, the Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and Director of Animal Research Institute of the CSIR Dr. Kabo, warning them that they would be charged with contempt if they disobey the court.
“Further take notices that if you fail to comply with the above order, you would be liable for processes of execution by contempt,” the court stated. Meanwhile, the residents have petitioned the President to call the Minister to order.
They accused the Minister of instructing “CSIR to erect notices for demolition on the 17th of December 2014 and he is hiding behind his office and making frantic efforts to render us homeless for his own personal gains.”
The residents claimed they have been having confrontations with the Director-General of CSIR Dr. Emmanuel K. Adu, the latest incident occurred on January 13, 2015. During said confrontation, the residents allege Dr. Adu told them he has the backing of the Regional Minister to pull their houses down.
“Reliable information reaching the Association is that the Regional Minister is seriously lobbying all stakeholders to support the demolition for his personal interest,” the residents said in their petition to the President.
But Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo has flatly denied scheming to destroy the about 4000 houses. “I have no knowledge of any plan or demolition exercise being carried out in the area,” he told Joy News on Thursday.
Though he said the residents “acquired the land wrongly” and are therefore living at the place “illegally”, he asserted that he is not “inhumane” to support any demolition exercise in the capital, stressing “I have not discussed any demolition exercise with anybody”.
He said he has rather been talking to the CSIR to exercise restraint and do everything with a human face, and was therefore surprised the residents were making those allegations against him.
Since the matter is pending before court, the Minister said he is ready to abide by the court’s ruling.