Former President Jerry John Rawlings has stated that he has no regrets demolishing a $5-million hotel which belonged to Entrepreneur and Executive Chairman of the Dara Salaam Group, Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim, decades ago.
He said he had the urge to demolish the hotel again if he could reverse the hand of time.
“If time were reversible, I would do it again and again and I would take along their new gargantuan structures in the watercourses. The structures were reported by his own respectable, law-abiding neighbours,” the former President stated.
In 1999, a five-million-dollar hotel which was owned by Alhaji Ibrahim was demolished because it was built on a watercourse.
Recently, however, the CEO and former owner of the hotel which was located around the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, at an event said he had forgiven the former President for ordering the demolishing of his multi-million-dollar hotel.
Alhaji Ibrahim said he had long forgiven former President Rawlings under whose administration his hotel was demolished.
Speaking about the issue publicly for the first time in nearly 20 years in an interview on Good Evening Ghana during the launch of his autobiography, the business magnate stated that he had forgiven Mr Rawlings for his wrongs against him.
“I’m not angry with Rawlings. I’m never angry with anybody. I know that whatever happens to me is determined by God, or God says it will happen. So, I don’t have anything against Rawlings. I’ve no choice but to forgive him; the Qur’an says we should forgive and forget,” he stated.
Alhaji Ibrahim later took the matter to court and was subsequently awarded a GH¢6.13-million judgement debt which was paid by the Prof. J. E. A. Mills administration in 2009.
Alhaji Yusif at the launch of a book about the struggles in his life
God is not a respecter of unlawful acts
But addressing supporters to climax the 40th anniversary of the June 4 Uprising yesterday, Mr Rawlings said Alhaji Ibrahim “is in no position to forgive anyone or anything, not even the bush rat in his hometown. God had nothing to do with unlawful structures; neither did he have anything to do with enforcing the law. Governments appear to exercise no restraint when it comes to breaking down poor people’s structures in watercourses or unauthorised areas”.
Contrary to Alhaji Ibrahim’s belief about why his hotel was demolished, Former President Rawlings said, “…a couple of months ago, my name was all over the news as one Alhaji Yusif reportedly forgave me for the demolishing of his hotel because he believed I thought he co-owned it with Sam Jonah and also that he was financing an opposition party. Far from the truth.”
He continued, “…in the first place, he is in no position to forgive anyone nor anything or even the bush rat in his own hometown.”
The former President further emphasised that the indiscriminate use of his name by Alhaji Ibrahim would not bring him any sympathy, citing the location of the hotel as the reason behind his call for its demolishing.
“God has nothing to do with unlawful structures, neither did he have anything to do with enforcing the law. Governments appear to exercise no restraints when it comes to breaking down poor people’s structures in watercourses and in unauthorised areas. Big people, however, seem to be above the law and are untouchable,” Former President Rawlings added.