Koans CEO accuses MP of inciting farmers; against his legally acquired property
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Koans Building Solutions Limited, a subsidiary of Koans Group of Companies, Mr. Kofi Anokye, has revealed that his company does not make mistakes when it comes to acquisition of lands.
According to him, the company, which was established in 1999 as an enterprise, and engaged in the manufacture of concrete products such as sand crate blocks, pavement blocks, as well as designing and construction of houses for individuals and organisations, has demonstrated a high sense of due diligence in regards to lands.
He made the remarks at a press conference on Monday, in response to an earlier press conference by some affected farmers in Kyekyewere over acquisition of lands for development.
It could be recalled that residents of about 14 farming communities in the Ayensuano District of the Eastern Region called on the government to impress upon KOANS Building Solutions Limited to give their farm lands back to them.
The communities, comprising Kyekyewere, Govinakrom, Yawkoko, Ankyeanse, Kojo Fosu, Abrodiem and others, are accusing Koans Building Solutions Limited of wrongfully taking their farm lands.
The affected farmers, after addressing a cross-section of media practitioners drawn from Accra and Koforidua, led by the Assembly Member for Kyekyewere Electoral Area, Paul Yaw Abedi, later demonstrated against the CEO of KOANS Building Solutions Limited.
“We have been notified by one KOANS Estate that the lands in the settlement, which exceed 800 acres, have been handed over to them to develop estates, and we have, therefore, been served notice to get out of the place or come and negotiate with KOANS so that they will permit us to even stay where we are.”
To the affected farmers, the 800 acres of land handed over to Koans Estates was bestowed to them (affected farmers) by their ancestors and forefathers, who lived on the land for more than 200 years, “and we have settled there over this period and nothing like that has happened to us.”
They explained that the Supreme Military Council compulsorily acquired their lands by Executive Instrument E.I. 31 State Lands (Nsawam – Site for Pineapple Production) in 1977, with an approximate area of 635.20 acres at Nsawam in the Eastern Region.
“The law requires that if you want to use a land for anything, you go into consultations and properly settle those who are there, but nothing of that sort has happened. We will ensure that the blood that our forefathers have shed, and the energy they’ve put in to put this settlement together, are not destroyed just by some people’s desire. We shall not allow ourselves to be wiped out,” the Assembly Member said.
But the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Koans Building Solution Limited accentuated that the Assembly Member for Kyekyewere Electoral Area and the farmers acted out of malice, lack of commonsense, and were allegedly sponsored by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayensuano, Samuel Ayeh-Paye.
He mentioned that the MP and a group of people in the area had sold some of the lands that he bought to some companies, and were hot, since the companies would go after them for their money. To this end, the MP and those people are using the farmers against his company in order to woo public sympathy.
Mr. Anokye expressed that apart from the project improving the socio-economic drive of the area, since the majority of them would be employed, his company legally acquired the land under dispute.
He disclosed that the affected farmers earlier petitioned the Eastern Regional Security Council to investigate the matter to determine the true owner of the land, and his company was asked to stop work for a period of four months.
He stressed that he would not undermine the laws of the country and demonstrate disrespect to these poor farmers by taking their farm lands, which have been their source of livelihood from them through illegal means.
To him, the land under review was acquired legally, and he has administered all the necessary protocols and, therefore, finds it difficult to understand the position of the farmers, since he is acting within the confines of the law.
He disclosed that the company started clearing the land amidst payment of compensation to the affected farmers a couple of months ago, after successfully acquiring the lands, but was asked to stop work by the Regional Security Council (RESEC).
Mr. Anokye stated that the Regional Security Council had ruled that KOANs Building Solutions can go back to site and continue with their activities, after its investigations showed that the land was legally acquired.
The real estate mogul passionately called on the people to use the court for redress if they still believed the RESEC was biased towards them, and stop using any form of demonstrations to causing misunderstandings.
Mr. Anokye hinted that his outfit, which can boast of estate houses located at Pokuase, Kuntunse and Pampamso off the Accra-Nsawam road and many other construction activities it undertook for individuals and organisations, has never cheated any farmer since its inception.
The company can also boast of its large number of employees (including permanent staff, interns, contractors, sub-contractors and their subordinates), thus reducing the unemployment issues facing the country.
In his attempt to respond to the allegations that he is the one sponsoring the farmers to fight against the development of the area, the Ayensuano MP was quick to admit that he had a strong interest in the unfolding events in the affected areas, and for that matter, the farmers.
He disclosed that his strong interest was borne out of the fact that he is the MP for the area, and, therefore, must fight for the interests of the people when they are short-changed by unscrupulous individuals like Anokye.
The Chairman of the Roads and Transport Committee in Parliament denied owning or either selling any land to any company, as claimed by the CEO of Koans Building Solutions Limited, and challenged the latter to prove it.
Ayeh-Paye hinted that the CEO of Koans Building Solutions was gradually gaining notoriety in acquisition of lands for his business, and liked to woo public sympathy when caught in the act of an illegality.
“He did a similar thing to Hon. Frank Annor Dompre, MP for Nsawam-Adoagyri, some years ago. I will not fall for his tricks,” he said, adding that the real estate mogul is a fraudster who only goes round to illegally take farm lands from poor farmers.
According to him, the CEO of Koans Building Solutions attempting to take the land from the poor farmers, who livelihoods heavily depend on their farming activities, amounted to fraud, and he would not allow such a person to have his way.