Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, has described former President Jerry John Rawlings as a coward without integrity who couldn’t own up to the demolition of a $5 million hotel which belonged to Businessman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dara Salaam Group of Companies, Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim.
Speaking on Good Morning Ghana, Mr Baako indicated that when the issue of the demolition was raised by the late J. H. Mensah in Parliament, one General Smith who was then the Defence Minister refused to tell parliament who ordered the demolition of the hotel.
He said the central government then told parliament that they didn’t have much to do with it because it is a job for the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA) and they requested for the dynamite and helicopter which was used in the demolition.
“The Defence Minister went to parliament and couldn’t mention the particular individual who gave the order but only mentioned the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces,” Kweku Baako said.
He added that the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) insisted that government had no hand in the demolition stressing that it was an AMA affair.
“When the case went to court, AMA stated that they had nothing to do with the demolishing…that they were called that the demolishing was going to happen, and they should make sure their boss is there to supervise,” he said.
Kweku Baako stated further that AMA directed the court to question the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) because they (GAF) were embarking on that demolishing.
“Today our very good friend and former President Rawlings is now telling the whole world that he was in charge of the demolishing. What cowardly nonsense is this…where was his courage of conviction…where was his strength of character…where was the no-nonsense Rawlings when it was an issue and people were asking who was responsible, reliable and he sat down kept quiet.”
“He didn’t allow his own government communication to accept responsibility and reliability even on the floor of parliament, that’s coward…he is a coward…. complete…” he stressed.
Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim’s 65 room Pier Hotel which was located at the Airport Residential Area in Accra was pulled down in 1999 by orders from the then President, JJ Rawlings, who according to reports suspected that the hotel was co-owned by Sam Jonah, whom he had fallen out with.
The claims were dismissed by Mr Sam Jonah stating that Rawlings had been told that Alhaji Yusif was sponsoring his political opponent and he (Rawlings) did not take this lightly.
But speaking on the 40th anniversary to mark the June 4 uprising, Mr Rawlings stated that he had no regrets demolishing the $5 million hotel because the property was built on a waterway and if given the opportunity, he would do it over and over again.
“Big people, however, seem to be above the law and are untouchable. If time were reversible, I would do it again and again and I will take along their new gargantuan structures in the waterways,” Mr Rawlings said during a speech on Tuesday to mark the 4 June 1979 uprising.