Alhassan Suhuyini, the Deputy Ranking member for the Lands and Forestry Committee of Parliament, has disclosed that the Minority, has requested the contract details between Aynok Services Limited and the Lands Ministry.
The information, the Tamale North Member of Parliament (MP), added is being sought to inform the minority’s next course of action on the alleged use of land guards by the Ministry.
Aynok Services Limited is owned by Clement Gyato, whose name is not new in the public space. During the Mills-Mahama presidency, he was involved in an arson case involving Atomic Energy lands at Kwabenya, leading to the arrests of some officials of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) including Prof. E.H.K Akaho, then Director-General.
Mr Gyato, who was running a partnership with some Chinese under the name “Anaina International Company Limited”, had promised putting up some residential buildings in Accra, hence was relocated from the “Kwabenya-Atomic land” to a prime land between Madina and Adenta known as “the Aviation Land” after the fracas between him and the GAEC officials.
Interestingly, the picture he painted of the development is yet to materialize, There are rather claims that the land is rather being sold out to private individuals, although it is not clear whether Gyato and his business partners involved in the “Anaina International Company Limited”, were the ones who have built a Goil Filling Station, a shopping mall and other private properties on the land, paid anything to the state for it use.
In the specific case of Messrs Aynok Holdings Limited and its owner, Clement Gyato, this is not their first time controversy. They are said to be armed to the tooth during their operations.
The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Lands, Benito Owusu-Bio, was once forced to confirm the Ministry’s engagements with Messrs Aynok Holdings Limited and Clement Gyato.
Speaking on an operation carried out by Gyato at Mphehuasem near East Legon in Accra about a demolished property said to belong to Ideal College, the Deputy Minister, revealed that aside Mr Gyato, supporting the ministry in its work, he was specifically contracted to help retain all reclaimed government lands.
“He also supports the committee in their work. He was contracted to help retain whatever has been reclaimed. Once you retrieve the land from the encroachers it is important to put it under protection, otherwise the encroachers will be back again, and that is why he’s been engaged in that work.
“In recent times, there have been disturbances at Mphehuasem relating to the government’s attempt to recover State Lands which have been encroached upon by unauthorized persons. It must be stated that the Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036), section 236 frowns on encroachment on state lands and criminalizes such acts.
“The Lands Commission as the managers of public/state lands under the 1992 constitution under section 258 is performing its statutory functions to recover the encroached state lands,” he said.
He further disclosed that, government is aware of the activities of encroachers and has established a Public Lands Protection Team to regularly survey and monitor public lands to ensure that they are free from encroachment.
During the demolition, the Director of Ideal College is said to have sought to question the suspected land guards over what the school has since described as an illegal exercise.
In the process, the irate land guards reportedly pounced on the director, a situation that attracted the attention of some students.
Students who also went to the rescue of the director were met with brutalities resulting in some 23 of them suffering various degrees of injuries.
Following the incident, some residents of Mempeasem where Ideal College is located have said they have also been subjected to similar atrocities from the activities of Clement Gyato.
The latest controversy over Mr. Gyato comes after revelation by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Professor Patrick Agbesinyale, during a meeting with the Committee that the ministry employs the services of a land guard.
Prof. Agbesinyale at a Parliamentary Committee meeting on July 10, 2023 revealed before the committee; “I think the idea was that anytime the Government apparatus; the police, military among others are seen going out there to claim lands, you know the hullabaloo and backlash the Government receives. So, what they do is that you would set up somebody like this and Government would literally be hiding behind it so he can reclaim government lands.”
He recalled in one instance; “So, I remember that during the claiming process, three people lost their lives. There were gunshots; exchange of fire, and three people lost their lives there. Except that Gyato has a section of the media on site who would cover always – he is a whole set-up.”
The Chief Director, reportedly added that even the police and military engage land guards in reclaiming and protecting government lands for a fee, which contradicts the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act.
He averred that the contractor has a special set up of Media men, national security officials, members of the judiciary and others.
Mr Agbesinyale, reportedly added that even the police and military engage land guards in reclaiming and protecting government lands for a fee, which contradicts the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act.
The claims have been vehemently refuted by the Lands Ministry, the Ghana Armed Forces, and the Police Service in separate statements.
They all assert that they have never enlisted the services of any land guard to protect or reclaim lands in any capacity.
However, the Lands Ministry clarified in their statement that they have engaged the services of “Aynok Holding Limited,” a registered limited liability company, to assist in reclaiming encroached government lands since 2012.
But speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show yesterday, Mr Suhuyini, who is also the Tamale North MP, expressed that the committee will request the contract details between the Lands Ministry and Aynok Holding Limited.
“We first want to introduce that contract to the committee and once that contract has been introduced to the committee, we can now invite him as a service provider to the ministry to speak on the contract and that is why we are focused as a committee on the ministry providing us with that contract.”
Clause 7(5) of the act says; A person shall not directly or indirectly, engage a land guard to protect or guard the property of that person or any other person. 7(6) says; a person who contravenes subsection (5) commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not less than 10yrs and not more than 15yrs.
Source: The Herald