The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr. Kweku Ampratwum-Sarpong, has intimated that his Ministry is working effortlessly to ensure that the trespassed property of the Bulgarian Embassy is handed back to them.
Speaking on what the state is doing to ensure that the issue is resolved to avoid any diplomatic rift, he averred that the Ministry is in constant engagement with the Embassy and the alleged owner to bring an amicable solution to the matter. He indicated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representing the government of Ghana is very much “alive” to its responsibility under the biennial convention of protecting the properties of foreign missions.
However, Mr. Kweku Ampratwum-Sarpong disclosed that efforts have been stalled a bit due to the “trespasser” not been very cooperative. He indicated that the Ministry is trying to get that sorted out because as a law abiding institution, the Ministry cannot do things its way and it is ideal that it follows the due process. He noted also that he has tabled the matter to the office of the Attorney General who currently, is going through the necessary processes to make sure that the property is returned back to the Bulgarian officials.
Narrating the background to the current misunderstanding, he averred that the particular property in question was bought by a Bulgarian staff from one Mr. Lincoln who happened to be the lead of an estate back in 1979. He intimated that the lead passed on and the administrator of the Estate tried to “use the back door” to get out the Bulgarians.
“He wasn’t successful so, he went to the High Court… the High Court granted some of the release that they sort. Subsequently, the Bulgarians sort an appeal which later got to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that the property belongs to the Bulgarians till 2033 and till 2033, nobody can push them out of the space.”Kweku Ampratwum-Sarpong
According to the Deputy Minister, the administrator of the land sold it to another person regardless of the court ruling. However, he disclosed that the recent issue has brought up evidence that the Bulgarian officials have documents to prove including documents from the Lands Commissions to attest to the fact that the property is owned by them.
No government official supporting trespasser
Mr. Kweku Ampratwum-Sarpong clarified that there is nobody in government who is supporting quietly the “trespasser” on the land. He indicated that he received an instruction from the President to address the situation. “So, the highest person in the land is the one saying go and sort it out and make sure the Bulgarians get their property back.“
“How then do you say that there are some people in government who are supporting the trespasser to perpetuate what they are trying to do? There is nothing of that nature and as a law abiding institution, when there are legal issues, we need to work around it instead of taking the higher hand approach.”Kweku Ampratwum-Sarpong
The Deputy Minister stated that it’s very unfortunate that a conclusion to the matter has not been reached. He, however, assured the public that the ministry is doing everything within its power to help the Bulgarian authority retrieve its property. He indicated that he has also paid a visit to the site with the deputy lands minister, Benito Owusu-Bio, as part of measures to bring a conclusion to the issue.