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CONTROVERSY AT LA BEACH

William Odoi-Conarl

IN DEPTH investigations by Wojaku suggests that there is tension mounting on the corridors of power brokers in La over the operations and management of the Pleasure Beach Resort in La, Accra.

Three persons comprising the Chairman of the Management Board, William Odoi-Conarl, Nii Laryea Odamtten, a Board Member and the La Mantse, Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru II are swimming in a puddle of controversy with the board chairman at the receiving end of a number of allegations including mismanagement and misappropriation of funds which he has described as frivolous and lacking merit.

In November 2012, Nii Laryea Odamtten, one of the representatives of the Nmati Abonase Quarter fired a letter to the Traditional Council leveling several grievous allegations against the Management Board of which he is a member.

The allegations made by Mr. Odamtten, bordered on financial mismanagement and under-statement of revenue derived from operations of the resort. He made these allegations through a series of letters he fired at the Quarter he represents, and also at the La Traditional Council (LTC) whom he accuses of complicity in the matter.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary of the Nmati Abonase Quarter dated 16th November 2012, Mr. Odamtten stated: “For a period of six (6) months, the chairman, Mr. William Odoi-Conarl and some of the members of the board have refused to be open, transparent and bold to inform the entire management board and the staff on the daily operations and financial aspects claiming that he had been instructed by Nii La to hide such information from the board members”.

Nii Laryea Odamtten

According to his letter, he (Mr. Odamtten) did some figuring based on generalized totals and came to the conclusion that a substantial amount of money was not deposited into the general account in the last several months. On 15 November 2012, Mr. Odamtten allegedly went to the board chair who informed him that he (Mr. Conarl) had not deposited all the funds collected that week but had kept GH¢3,500.00 in his possession. He also alleged that the money from selling tickets at the beach was not being well-tracked.

However, in a sharp rebuttal, a letter written and signed by 15 members of the Board and addressed to the Nmati Abonase Quarter, the rest of the Board members stated: “…the fact that this mischievous piece (Mr. Odamtten’s letter) has malicious intent calculated to dent the image and integrity of the Chairman and describing the rest of us as stooges, therefore putting our reputation and integrity into disrepute and also the blatant attempt at throwing dust into the eyes of all, we ordinarily would not have honoured such joke and fiction with any reaction”

The board’s letter also argued that the alleged money totals could not possibly be forced onto the financial situation of the whole year. This, they wrote, was based on seasonal changes in beach use.

Despite Mr. Odamtten’s insistence of some underhand dealings and holes that need to be filled at the beach, the Board Chairman says there is complete transparency. No legal action has been taken yet.

In an interview with Wojaku, Chairman Conarl said he doesn’t understand why this issue has arisen when no other person in the LTC or on the representative board has found a reason for disharmony. He said he is not surprised that Odamtten has been pushing this problem because, “he (Mr Odamtten) has since 1996, been writing letters of the like to tarnish the integrity of members of other groups in the La Traditional Area”.

“Though this problem has not been resolved, things will keep moving forward. The future is bright,” said Conarl. “We have police patrols, electrical wires changed, a fire and health posts…a couple of new buildings have gone up and a fountain has been made at the entrance of the resort as well.”

Concluding, Mr. Conarl said he was optimistic about what the future holds for La Pleasure Beach. He invited all well – meaning citizens to visit the beach and see for themselves how the resort is being managed.

However, some indigenes of the La community and staff at the resort who spoke to Wojaku on condition of anonymity expressed concern over how the beach is managed saying the LTC under the leadership of Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru is not allowing the resort to be developed to its full potential..

Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III, La Mantse

“We don’t know what is going on, but Nii La and the Traditional Council are not allowing re-investment of funds derived from the operations of the beach into its development…that is why people see it as the present management not trying enough,” a staff member stated.

Since September 2001 when the La Youth Association (LAYA) under the leadership of Mr. Vincent Sowah Odotei compellingly took-over the beach from the Ghana Tourist Development Company (GTDC), the management of the resort has changed hands many times over allegations of embezzlement, misappropriation of funds and misuse of revenue accrued to the LTC.

Unfortunately, the Traditional Council itself has often been entangled in mind-burgling controversies over who has the right to steer the affairs of the beach resort, as well as issues of accountability.

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