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Armed Police storm building to eject COCOBOD staff

Heavily armed Police officers Friday stormed the COCOBOD staff house in Koforidua in the Eastern region ejecting occupants of the building.

The occupants who are mainly staff of COCOBOD are being ejected rendering them homeless at a time most of the workers are on outside duty.

The armed police officers stormed the premises Friday dawn with a bailiff to demand that the staff and their family members move out of the premises.

The building has been occupied by COCOBOD since 1960 and was converted into a staff house when COCOBOD relocated its regional office to a new building.

Information gathered indicate that a Private developer, Joseph Okyere, manager of Antartic Construction has purchased the property to construct a shopping mall.

The staff and other occupants of the building were ordered by the Koforidua High Court to vacate from the premises but they failed to do so.

A notice letter cited by Starr News dated 12/2/2016 and signed by the lawyer for the private developer, Isaac M. Larbi read “on the 8th of December, 2015 my office wrote a letter to you regarding the above subject matter (Notice to Vacate Premises) for and on behalf of my client (Mr. Joseph Kwasi Okyere A.K.A Antartic) who is now the owner of the entire building out of which you occupy and operate your office/business.

“This is to remind you that, the two months’ notice to quit the premises is still running and would end on the 10th of February 2016.

“We believe that you are feverishly looking for a place if you have not already found one. You have less than a month to vacate the premises and we believe that, you would comply with our request in order not to escalate this matter”.

But a document produced by the Eastern regional office of the Lands Commission and signed by Mr. Osei Owusu Peprah, Assistant Lands Officer suggests that, the property belongs to PZ Cussons Ghana and not COCOBOD.

“The site is not a state Land but vested in the President of Ghana in trust for the New Juaben Stool by virtue of Executive Instrument No.195 dated 1st November 1961. The site falls within a deeds of assignment dated 6th May, 1957 and made between PZ&Co Ltd as Assignor and PZ &Co. Ghana Ltd as Assignee. Accra document No.B 488 refers”

However, many suspect foul play in the deal. The suit filed in Court did not cite COCOBOD Company as occupants of the building instead cited the occupants as squatters.

COCOBOD, few months ago, filed a stay of execution at a Koforidua High Court to challenge the Court ruling.

The Eastern regional President of the Ghana Cocoa Coffee Shea-Nut Farmers Association, Nana Obeng Akrofi told Starr News that “the deal smells [of] corruption and rot”.

He added that the association has its office located in the building in contention.

According to him, the Association has petitioned COCOBOD to take immediate steps to halt the deal since the building is a bonafide property of the Cocoa Marketing Board, (CMB), under COCOBOD since 1960.

He threatened to organize thousands of cocoa farmers to stage a massive demonstration in Koforidua against the sale of the COCOBOD’s assets to Antartic Construction Company Limited if the deal is not halted.