Compensation Beneficiaries Supported C’nities

The third batch of beneficiaries of the GH¢138 million voted by the government in 2008, as land compensation package for the people of the Volta River Basin Flooded Areas, yesterday told the Judgement Debts Commission how they have made use of the money.

In their individual pieces of evidence, the witnesses said they had expended the amount they have so far collected on some development projects such as construction of palaces, school blocks, nurses quarters, purchasing of plastic chairs and canopies and the establishment of Educational Funds to cater for needy but brilliant students, among others.

Mr. Justice Yaw Apau, the Sole Commissioner disclosed that GH¢71million out of the GH¢138million compensation package for the flood victims had so far been paid by the government, and indicated that the balance of GH¢67million had been put on hold following some discrepancies in the land documents submitted to the Land Valuation Division of the Lands Commission.

One of the witnesses, Titus Kofi Koomson, who represented his ailing father, Mr. Johannes Koomson told the commission that they set aside part of the GH¢1.3 million given to them to pay for the services of four teachers the Monkra Community had engaged for the junior high school in the area, which had no teachers.

Nana Kwaku Beyenor II, of the Kachinke Clan of Dambai, when asked by the lead counsel for the Commission, Mr. Kofi Dometi Sokpor, to produce land documents to justify his claim of the total acreage of 21,140.9, said that he did not see the need to provide documents to claim ownership of lands his ancestors had acquired from time immemorial.

Nana Beyenor said his family members were not resettled after the area was submerged, and that all appeals to the Volta River Authority (VRA) for compensation failed, thus compelling the various families to collectively prepare site plans and give them to Messrs Kwadwo Abban & Co., a consultant, to fight for their land compensation from the Lands Commission.

He said the new site plans were extracted from an old plan at the Land Valuation Division (formerly Land Valuation Board) but he could not produce the original one.

The witness stated that he had collected a total of GH¢1,118,048.54 as compensation but official records before the Commission have the amount as GH¢1,118,109.60.

Another anomaly was also detected in the amount paid to Johannes Koomson who claimed he collected GH¢1,351,518.61, but the commission’s record from the Land Valuation Division bore GH¢1,381,488.61, whilst that of Nana Yaw Donkor II of Abrokonor, who also received GH¢87,163.84 as his share, has an amount of GH¢127,948.81 against his name on the official records before the Sole Commissioner.

Nana Donkor said his people were not resettled but were paid crop compensation by VRA.

A legal practitioner, Nana Owusu Yeboah former Volta Regional Minister in the NPP administration and an accredited representative of the Tapahene, recounted the various processes his clients followed before a final judgement was obtained from a High Court ordering the State to pay GH¢23million, out of which GH¢11million has been paid, leaving a balance of GH¢12million and appealed to the government, through the Commission, to pay the remaining amount immediately, taking cognisance of the depreciation of the cedi.

He submitted to the Commission, two documents, Executive Instruments (EI) 98 of 1974 and 67 of 1975, pertaining to the acquisition of the Tapa lands after the compulsory acquisition by government.

Sitting continues today.

By Castro Zangina-Tong

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