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“Hands off Our Hotels” demo against sale of four SSNIT hotels kicks off in Accra

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Protesters on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 gathered at the frontage of the Labadi beach hotel in Accra to protest against the sale of a 60 percent stake in four hotels owned by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to Rock City Hotel, owned by Food and Agriculture Minister, Bryan Acheampong.

The demonstration dubbed “Hands Off Our Hotels” is being led by the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

The MP, Organised Labour and other stakeholders have questioned the process that led to the selection of Rock City as the viable entity to purchase the 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.

Mr Ablakwa has raised issues of conflict of interest, but Mr Bryan Acheampong has said he has done no wrong.

He has distanced himself from the day-to-day operations of Rock City Hotel.

He said although he owns the company, he does not involve himself in the decisions that they take.

“I wish to state that there is a difference between Bryan Acheampong and Rock City. I own the company. I am the vision bearer and that is what I have tasked them with. Occasionally, I check on the progress being made with the vision. Rock city pays contributions of about 1,000 staff to SSNIT. You can check whether my name is on that list. I am not a director. I don’t take daily decisions for the company. I am a non-executive director” he said on Accra-based Joy FM on May 21.

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He therefore denied any wrongdoing. “There is no breach” Mr Acheampong said.

On the other hand, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) also denied any foul play in its decision to sell a 60% stake in its hotels to Rock City Hotel. 

According to SSNIT, the strategy to partner with an investor to raise capital to invest in their hotels, and also assist in their management, started as far back as 2018 through International Competitive Tendering (ICT) processes as prescribed by the Public Procurement Act.

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

The demonstration will begin at Labadi Beach Hotel and proceed to the Jubilee House, the seat of government.

Some of the demands of the protesters are for president Akufo-Addo to immediately stop the sales of the SSNIT hotels.

 They added that profitable state assets should never be sold and the government should not sell workers properties without the permission and consents of worker.

The group are of the view that the Labadi beach hotel and Ridge Royal are more profitable than Rock City Hotel owned by Bryan Acheampong.

SOURCE: Graphiconline

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