Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul says a statement he made about former president John Mahama’s property sited close to Burma Camp, was an advise to the ex-president to vacate the military territory.
According to him, the continuous stay of the former president in a house he acquired from an estate developer, could give a further “impetus” for people to continue to encroach on the military property.
Dominic Nitiwul at a news conference last Thursday, December 7, fumed over what he described as the indiscriminate sale of military lands by public officers in collusion with officers of the Lands Commission.
The Defense Minister named ex-president John Mahama whom he accused of being a beneficiary of the military lands sold indiscriminately in the last couple of years.
But Mr. Mahama’s office in a strong-worded statement described as “irresponsible” and “reckless”, the Defense Minister’s claims.
“We presume that the Minister’s irresponsible claim is in respect of the current residence of the former first family. President Mahama has not appropriated or acquired any land or property belonging to the military and which he is currently occupying.”
“President Mahama has not appropriated or acquired any land or property belonging to the military and which he is currently occupying”, his Aide, Joyce Mogtari said in the statement.
On Tuesday, East Dadekotopon Development Trust (EDDT), a claimant to the ownership of the land, corroborated the position of the ex-president. Secretary to the Trust, Nii Yemoh at a news conference also described, the claim by the Defense Minister is false and misleading.
It rather turned out that the Mr. Mahama acquired the property very close to the Burma Camp, an area the government is said to have earmarked for acquisition due to its proximity to the military installation.
Clarifying his position Wednesday in a telephone interview from Nigeria, where he is for an official assignment, the Defense Minister said the statement he made was rather to advise the former president who is also a former Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, to consider relocating.
“That because, he [Mahama] as former Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, is giving people the impetus to encroach…that is giving me sleepless nights [and] it is giving the military sleepless nights as well,” explained on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM.
He ruled out any intent of politicising the issue by naming the ex-president as a beneficiary of the sale of military lands.
Despite the backlash that greeted Mr. Nitiwul’s comments, the Defense Minister is contented at the discussions generated over the matter.
“…my aim was to make sure that people do not make reference to the former president living there and using it as an impetus.
“Anybody who wants to build there will think twice; anybody who wants to acquire land there will think twice [and] I think I have achieved that aim,” the Minister told Kojo Yankson, host of the show.