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GHANA: We failed to do further consultations before demolishing Old Parliament House – CHRAJ

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has conceded that it failed to do further consultations before the actual demolition of Ghana’s old Parliament building at the High Streets in Accra.

According to a Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Richard Quayson, although approval for the demolition was given by Parliament during the consideration of it’s 2017 budget, the Commission should have held further stakeholder consultations before going ahead with the demolition exercise.

Mr. Quayson, said this on Wednesday in an interview with journalists at the end a two day a stakeholder conference on the controversial Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill in Parliament.

“Even parliament approved the budget for us to demolish this structure so I don’t know what the [brouhaha] is about. Maybe we should have held some consultations again before the actual work was done. But this year before the budget was approved, the provision was in our budget requesting for allocation for the demolishing of the structure. How can a building that cannot be redeemed remain standing for more than three years and we appear not able to do anything about it? It was posing as a hazard and threat to human life,” he said.

Mr Quayson expressed surprise at the way and manner some MP’s are agiting adding that the demolition of the structure was necessary to safeguard the health and safety of the workers of CHRAJ.

“I’m sure probably the parliamentarians who are unhappy do not have the full facts. If you recall, on December 19, 2013 the old parliament chamber which holds the office of CHRAJ, EOCO was destroyed completely beyond redemption and we have been trying to demolish this structure for over a period and we have not had the budgetary support to do that,” he told journalists.

Parliament in April approved an amount of GHc15 million for the reconstruction of the block of the old Parliament House.

The commission has however come under public criticisms for pulling down the old legislative structure that housed the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly from 1951 when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah became the leader of Government Business under British rule.

Meanwhile Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, and Majority Leader, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, has justified the demolition of the building.

Speaking at a media soiree in Accra yesterday Hon Kyei Mensah Bonsu who is also the MP for Suame said the integrity of the structure had already weakened hence the demolition.

He also revealed that the renovation of the Job 600 office complex cost the nation close to USD 100 million dollars.
The old Parliament House accommodated Ghana’s legislators from 1951, when Dr Kwame Nkrumah became the leader of Government Business under British rule, to 1981.

Until Thursday, December 19, 2013, the Old Parliament House accommodated the Economic and Organised Crime Organisation (EOCO), formerly, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the CHRAJ.

The fire gutted the building, office property and equipment running into thousands of Ghana cedis, and EOCO subsequently moved into their newly constructed premises adjacent the Old Parliament House.

CHRAJ had to manage in sections of the old Parliament House that was untouched by the flames.

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