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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


… As she and husband turned down two offers
By Bismark Bebli
aThe gated private residence of Mr. Rawlings at Adjiringano, East legon, Accra
The assertion made by the former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings about government’s ineptitude in providing them with accommodation after fire gutted their residence five months ago, might not entirely be true.
According to government sources, two residential offers were made to the former first family for consideration, but they turned them down, indicating their preference for a rented place or a reconstruction of the Ridge house at their own specifications.
The government has clearly stated that since the fire outbreak at the Ridge Residence of the former first family, it has been in consultation with them over the re-allocation of a new place. “Government would like to state that after the fire outbreak at their Ridge premises in February this year, it has done everything within its power to ensure that Ex-President Rawlings and his family are properly re-settled.”
In a statement signed by the Minister of Information, Hon. John Tia Akologo, in response to remarks by Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, who is also the first Vice National Chairperson of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC),“ the Government has been in constant touch with members of the Ex-President’s team, who have indicated a preference for reconstruction of the burnt Ridge premises.
“Government has taken the necessary steps to ensure that this is done and is awaiting certain information from the Ex-President’s team, to be able to conclude arrangements to ensure that reconstruction commences.” the statement noted
Mr. John Tia further hinted that the Ex-President’s preference for a rented facility for the period, while the Ridge premise was reconstructed, was also taken on board by the government, but “This was after certain options offered by government had been rejected.”
According to the Minister, the government has been awaiting specification of the preferred premises of the former first couple, adding that government is prepared to bear the bill of the rent.
According to him, the former first lady was aware of all the efforts that the government has made to resettle the family. “This government wishes to state categorically that it remains committed to its responsibilities towards the Ex-Presidents of our dear country.”
Earlier in the day, a deputy Minister of Information, James Agyenim Boateng told    Joy FM, an Accra based radio station stated that the government had proposed one of the AU Village accommodation and the house of the former National Security Minister, Mr. Francis Poku, but both were turned down by the Rawlingses.
According to Mr. James Agyenim Boateng, Mrs. Konadu rejected the former residence of Francis Poku and opted to ‘perch’ in her mother’s house, until the government reconstructs the Ridge residence for them.
He said, the family of Mrs. Rawlings had indicated that they wanted their house to be constructed to their taste, with their own contractors, adding that the government was still waiting for the contractors and their design.
A close pal of the former first couple, Mr. Herbert Mensah has, however, dismissed the suggestions that a house has been offered to the Rawlingses, which has been turned down. According to him, the report was misleading and mischievous.
Mr. Mensah, though admitted that AU Village was offered to the Rawlingses, but they rejected it on the grounds that the building was fraught with a lot of controversies.
Herbert, who indicated that he was privy to all the moves by the presidency to secure a place for the Rawlingses, commended some members in the office of the Chief of Staff for doing their best to get a place for the former first family.
“It is, however, not true that Mrs. Rawlings has rejected any house offered to them. It is totally inaccurate and misleading and mischievous. For the AU house, it is a non-starter because of the controversies surrounding the building. Mrs. Rawlings never said that she did not like that place, for people to say that the problem was with Mrs. Rawlings,” he said.
He however confirmed and commended the various roles being played by the government to re-settle Mrs. Rawlings.
Further checks conducted by this paper revealed that it was Mrs. Rawlings who indeed rejected the safe house of the former National Security Minister, Mr. Poku.
Mr. Kweku Baaku Jnr, the Managing Editor of the Crusading Guide, has hinted that the recent effusions of Nana Kondau Agyeman Rawlings were to whip up negative sentiments against President Mills, to suggest that the government does not care about their welfare.
According to him, the platform adopted by Mrs. Rawlings to cry for accommodation was inappropriate, saying if the former family was interested in helping President Mills’ government, they could have moved to their residence at Agyiriganno in the Greater Accra Region, until the government rebuilds the house for them.
The house of Mr. Rawlings was razed down by fire on February 14, this year. Mrs. Konadu Agyemang Rawlings on Wednesday bitterly complained of their lack of accommodation and expressed regret over how she has become separated from her husband, adding that while she ‘perches’ with her mother, her husband, Mr. Rawlings, stays in a ‘village house’ at Teffle, in the Volta region.
Source: The Chronicle

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