Investigations by The Herald at the Lands Commission have plunged the Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Wood, into an intricate web of lies. Her much publicized letter dated February 9, 2009 revoking her interest in the stolen land is non-existent, and all attempts to trace it have proved futile.
Officials of the Lands Commission told The Herald that they heard about that letter only for the first time in the media, specifically the Daily Guide Newspaper, but are yet to see it more than a year after it was supposedly written and dispatched to them.
Indeed, details emerging seek to show that the Chief Justice planted the stories in the Daily Guide which is owned by one of the stolen lands beneficiaries, Freddie Blay, alias Ellembelle Mugabe, to hoodwink the public to see her as going to be independent particularly, when other top NPP MPs and beneficiaries, including I.C. Quyaye, K.T. Hammond have disclosed their intension to go to court to get their lands back. Shirley Ayorko Botchwey is already in court With Larry Gbevlo-Lartey over her land allocation.
The Greater-Accra Regional Lands Officer, whom the letter was said to have been written to, insists he was not in office at the time the letter was supposedly written. Alhaji Mohammed-Abibu Alhassan has revealed to this paper that he started work in July 2009, and rather dispatched letters late last year, to the Chief Justice and other beneficiaries to come for their monies as government was no longer selling the said land.
The only documents in a file opened for her on the transaction and sighted by The Herald, are her request letter to buy the land and two separate banker’s draft as payment for the Martey Tsuru Residential Area plot which was later replaced with the juicy International Students Hostel land in Airport Residential Area, Accra.
Further checks conducted through the log books of the Lands Commission to trace the person who delivered the letter and the one who received it, were fruitless as there was no record of any such letter from Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood.
Another interesting thing discovered by The Herald was that as at February last year, the transition of executive power from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) was still on course, with the transfer of executive assets still under discussion but within closed doors, hence the name of the Chief Justice and the fact that she was allocated a state land were not on the lips of everybody to force her to revoke her interest.
The Herald last Friday made attempt to reach Mrs. Wood to answer some questions as to when she dispatched her letter, who delivered it and who received but was not successful.
The Director of Communications of the Judicial Service, Grace A. Tagoe, told The Herald that the Chief Justice and other judges do not talk to the media.
When she was reminded that Mrs. Wood acquired the land in her private capacity and needed to respond to the issues in her private capacity, Miss Tagoe pleaded for time to reach the Judicial Secretary and get back to The Herald, but she never got back with any information on Mrs. Wood.
Meanwhile, the Greater-Accra Regional Lands Officer has said that the abuse of state lands did not happen only during the period of the NPP but since the days of Kwame Nkrumah, all regimes have been involved in the abuse, however the NPP made some mistakes, which he did not explain.
In his candid opinion, the senior military officers, police officers, high profile politicians, civil and public servants are the only ones who get allocated these lands because they are the only ones who know about the sale of government lands, and therefore make request to purchase them, adding,
“The ordinary man in the street does not know about government land, so does not request for it.”
Alhaji Alhassan did not mention the mistake made by the NPP, but told The Herald that the issue about the lands must be laid to rest ordinarily and Ghanaian journalists must spend their time on other issues.
The Greater-Accra Regional Lands Officer who had earlier said he was serving in Cape Coast as the Central Regional Lands Officer as at February 2009, when the Chief Justice’s letter was supposedly written, later claimed he faintly recall a letter from a certain Theodora, which he cannot trace. He said, he cannot recall the content either.
When he was told that the said letter, according to other officers who have handled the Chief Justice file, does not exist, Mr. Alhassan remarked “they might have removed it from the her file”.
He later admitted that he did not see the said Theodora’s letter in the file of the Chief Justice and that it might have mixed up with some other documents on his desk.
The inconsistencies in his story, however, raise some doubts about the writing of such a letter because the same man had claimed earlier that he wrote to the Chief Justice and other beneficiaries late last year, to come for their monies.
Checks run on him reveal that he is a tight-lipped person; indeed, he initially declined questions on the Chief Justice’s letter.
The Daily Guide last week published that the Chief Justice, Mrs. Wood, has revoked her interest in a plot of land offered her at the Airport Residential Area and demands a refund of GH¢20,136.00, being the cost of the said property, from the Lands Commission.
The revocation was informed by the now cacophonous political utterances about the transactions underpinning the acquisitions by a cross-section of Ghanaians.
“I deem it expedient to relinquish my interest in the land as at now, in view of the persistent public agitation with regard to the said property,” she stated in a correspondence to the Greater-Accra Regional Lands Officer.
Daily Guide claimed that it had stumbled upon a correspondence on the subject, dated 9th February, 2009 and addressed to the Greater Accra Regional Lands Officer, in which the C.J revoked her interest in Plot No. 2 Airport Residential Area (Hostel Site).
She, however, added that “I would be happy if it is re-allocated to me when all the issues regarding the said land have been settled.”
Tracing the genesis of her acquisition, the CJ, according to the correspondence to the Regional Lands Officer, was offered the land in replacement of Plot No. 37 Martey Tsuru Residential Area which was allocated to her earlier in 2007, for which full payment was made.
In a preceding paragraph, she stated: “I have served this nation conscientiously for the past thirty-eight years as a public servant.
About five years ago, I applied for the first time in my capacity as a public officer to be allocated a government land. I did not acquire the subject matter illegally or through some other unorthodox means.”
Challenging the media rumours that suggested malfeasance in the transaction, she said that “this is the only piece of land that I have acquired from the Lands Commission, for which reason I have supplied my full maiden name to enable the facts stated to be verified”.
Source: Ghana ns3m pii.