Ghanaian News

Demonstrators urge President to halt sale of SSNIT hotels

A large number of protesters embarked on a peaceful demonstration on the streets of Accra yesterday to press home their demand for the halting of the sale of 60 per cent stake in four hotels owned by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to Rock City Hotel, owned by the Food and Agriculture Minister, Bryan Acheampong.

The demonstration, dubbed: “Hands Off Our Hotels”, began from the Labadi Beach Hotel, all the way to the Jubilee House, the seat of government, led by the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

Bone of contention
Mr Ablakwa, together with Organised Labour and other stakeholders, questioned the process that led to the selection of Rock City as the viable entity to purchase the said hotels.

The hotels in question are Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, Ridge Royal Hotel, Busua Beach Resort and Trust Lodge Hotel. The MP raised the issue of conflict of interest in the transaction but Mr Bryan Acheampong insisted he did no wrong.

Mr Acheampong said although he owned Rock City Hotel, he did not involve himself in the day-to-day business of the company. He, therefore, denied any wrongdoing. “There is no breach”, Mr Acheampong said.

No foul play
On the other hand, SSNIT also denied any foul play in its decision to sell 60 per cent stake in its hotels to Rock City Hotel. SSNIT explained that the strategy to partner with an investor to raise capital to invest in the hotels and also assist in their management started as far back as 2018 through an International Competitive Tendering (ICT) process as prescribed by the Public Procurement Act (PPA).

However, Mr Ablakwa, has filed a petition with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for an investigation into the process, aiming to halt the sale and bring attention to what he describes as “state capture.”

Appeal
Speaking during the protest march, the convener, Mr Ablakwa, appealed to President Akufo-Addo to take action to prevent the sale of the hotels. Mr Ablakwa stressed that, “The demonstrations may continue if we don’t hear from President Akufo-Addo in the next few hours after the demonstration, saying that if they are not backing off this transaction, then we will have to continue.”

“We may go to the Central Region where very iconic hotels like Ridge Royal and Elmina Resort are, and then remember that Busua Lodge and Trust Lodge are under attack,” Mr Ablakwa said.

He said the sale of state-owned properties to government officials constituted a clear abuse of power that should not be tolerated.

Protesters
The protesters held placards, some of which read: “Labadi Hotel should buy Rock City”; “Blay and son, return our beach”; “They’re stealing our future”; “National property is not personal property”; “This is state capture”; “Hands off our hotels”; ‘They are stealing our future”; “Pensioners deserve better”; ‘The SSNIT board must be dissolved”; and “Amlalo shi la shikpon oha lame”.

Others were: “New Plunder Party”; “Enough of the looting”; “Sell STC first”; “Keep the hotels for workers”; “Fire Osafo-Maafo”; and “Looting Ga lands”, among others.
The protesters also impressed upon President Akufo-Addo to immediately stop the sale of the SSNIT hotels.

Altercation
Midway through the demonstration, an altercation erupted between the police and the protesters as the former prevailed over the demonstrators from using the Switch Back Road in Cantonments, instead of the agreed Christ the King end.

In the process, the police fired tear gas into the crowd as the protesters remained adamant.

Reaction
In reaction, the convener expressed disappointment about the police. Mr Ablakwa alleged that some of the protesters had been rushed to the hospital for medical attention after suffering from the effect of the tear gas thrown by the police.

“Some of the demonstrators have been rushed to the hospital. If anything happens to any demonstrator we will hold the police accountable,” he said. “Let me condemn what the police did; this is a peaceful march, our people conducted themselves well, so why do you fire tear gas at innocent civilians?” he quizzed.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button