In the wave of mounting criticisms over why government is pulling down ten bungalows being occupied by judges, for the construction of the 5000-seater capacity church which is being supported by the clergy, government has justified why it is putting up the cathedral at the prime Ridge area.
“We want to build [the national cathedral] in a strategic place, something that befits this country…and that is why we’re looking for a very prime area that will fit the status of the kind of building that the committee envisaged, otherwise we can put it anywhere,” John Peter Amewu who was Lands and Natural Resources Minister told Joy FM Monday.
Mr. Amewu, who now heads the Energy Ministry, added that some $168,000 is to be spent on temporary accommodation for the judges for the next 18 months while permanent structures are constructed for them.
According to him, the Judges, whose official residences have been affected and who have been served eviction notices, have no issues with the decision.
“The government has no issues with the proposed site for the edifice per the proposal by the Rev. Asante Antwi-led committee.We have never had a complaint from any of those judges that are going to be affected…” he told Joy FM.
Critics have questioned the rationale behind pulling down all buildings from the Ridge Circle to the Scholarship Secretariat, the Judicial Training Institute at East Ridge and the Passport Office for the take-off of the multipurpose Cathedral.
Other structures as well as some 10 six-bedroom bungalows built by the Judicial Service to house Court of Appeal Judges, will also be demolished before the take-off of the project which is scheduled as part of Ghana’s 60th-anniversary celebrations.
These buildings are located in prime areas in Accra and in the case of the judges’ residence, some of them were built only five years ago. But Mr. Amewu says an arrangement has been made to resettle them temporarily.
About 21 plush residential villas as well as a training facility for the Judicial Service, are to be built to replace the structures to be knocked down, the former Lands Minister stated.
Meanwhile,the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo has, apologised to the High Court judges who will be evicted from their official accommodations following the impending construction of the National Cathedral in Accra.
Government has earmarked the Ridge Roundabout area in Accra where the judges live for the construction of the 5000-seater capacity church which is being supported by the clergy in the country.
According to ace journalist and lawyer Samson Lardi Anyenini, about ten six-bedroom bungalows that would be demolished if the government goes ahead with its plan were built only five years ago by the Judicial Service to house Court of Appeal Judges.
“The Government has rented alternative expensive bungalows for the Judges to relocate temporarily while it begins construction of over twenty new bungalows on a different land in replacement for what it is going to destroy to make way for the cathedral. Lands Minister Peter Amewu further assures those affected that lands will be found to reconstruct the institutions to be destroyed in this area,” Samson wrote in an article.
Although government maintains that the judiciary had planned the evictions already, a letter from the Chief Justice and addressed to the judges is apologising for the inconvenience. The letter however assures the judges that government is providing alternative housing for them.
On Monday, deputy minister for Lands and Natural resources Benito Bio said judges are not being asked to vacate their premises.
“The Judiciary Service had already planned accommodation project for their staff. They have put processes in place to move some of the judges. Most of the staff have been moved from the Cantonment area to a residential property. No one has sent any letter to the Judiciary service indicating eviction. What is happening is part of the Judiciary internal processes,” he told Morning Starr host Francis Abban.