A Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, responsible for Lands and Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio, has received, on behalf of the sector Minister, report from the Sole Inquirer who was tasked to investigate the circumstances surrounding the ownership of a parcel of land in dispute between the Bulgarian Embassy and a private developer.
Mr Benito expressed his profound gratitude to the Sole Inquirer, saying “the Ministry, together with the Lands Commission and other stakeholders involved in the land case, would peruse the reports provided and make available the contents in due course”.
He hoped that per the expertise of the Sole Inquirer, the findings of the report will be a great asset which will guide matters to do with Bulgarian Embassy land case.
Terms of reference
Mr Owusu-Bio spelt out the Terms of Reference of the Sole Inquirer, saying due to the urgency of the issue relating to the Bulgarian Embassy, the Minister gave the Sole Inquirer an ultimatum of seven days to present a report.
He, however, added that due to the voluminous nature of the work, the Sole Inquirer sought for an extension, which was granted by the Minister for the proper scrutiny into the case.
The Deputy Minister said the Sole inquirer still has some grace period out of the one month given him to present a full report.
He assured the public that the recommendations obtained in the report would be considered by the Ministry and appropriate directives issued for further implementation.
The Sole Inquirer, Justice (Rtd) Kwasi Anto Ofori-Atta, said with the support of the Ministry and Lands Commission, he commenced his investigative work on March 21, 2022 with letters sent out to various entities and professional bodies involved in the case to source information which will aid his work.
He added that, in response to these letters, 11 witnesses appeared to testify on the case, and some had to be recalled for re-examination, all in efforts to arrive at the very truth on the case.
He said per his Terms of Reference, the current report present findings and recommendations for the Terms of Reference (1) and (2), which will inform the Ministry’s decision making on the case.
He also expressed his gratitude to Government and the Minister for the confidence reposed in him, and asked for a continuous support to deliver reports on the other 3 terms of references.
The Sole Inquirer was inaugurated on Friday March 18, 2022 to investigate the circumstances surrounding the true ownership of some parcel of land in dispute between the Bulgarian Embassy and a private developer. Whilst inaugurating him, the sector Minister outlined the terms of reference for the Sole Inquirer as undertaking a full and impartial inquiry into the alleged encroachment and demolishing of property on the land being used as the Bulgarian Embassy.
“The Sole Inquirer would make appropriate recommendations relating to the land being used as the Bulgarian Embassy. He would inquire into the nature of interest in any land held or occupied by Diplomatic Missions in Ghana. He would also inquire into any matter relating to land in which Diplomatic Missions in Ghana have an interest whatsoever and make recommendations to Government,” he stated.
He reiterated that government is committed to maintaining the cordial relations it keeps with all diplomatic missions, and would by no means allow the current issue to mar the long standing relationship that exists between Ghana and Bulgaria.
Mr Jinapor further noted that with the expertise and experience of the Sole Inquirer, he was absolutely confident that the Ministry would be provided with the full facts and directions to act on them decisively and comprehensively.
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