Judgement Debts C’ssion To End Sitting, Thur

Mr. Justice Yaw Apau, Sole CommissionerBarring any unforeseen circumstances, the Judgement Debts Commission would finally bring its public sittings to a close on Thursday, November 6, after almost a year’s intensive investigation into the payment of judgement debts and compensations to institutions and individuals by the state.

The Commission’s work should have ended long ago, but the delay was caused by a fire outbreak at the Old Parliament House in December, 2013, where some vital documents submitted by witnesses were destroyed, thus, compelling the Commission to take three months break before moving to a new office at Cantonments.

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), an anti-corruption entity had recently questioned why the Commission still holds public sittings when it should have ended all activities by now and submitted its report to President John Dramani Mahama, who set up the commission of enquiry to go into matters pertaining to judgement debt and compensation payments from 1992 to date.

There have been startling revelations at the Commission whose inauguration was initially condemned by a section of Ghanaians, who, on partisan political grounds doubted its transparency.

But the firmness, boldness, patriotic and nationalistic stance of the Sole Commissioner, Mr. Justice Yaw Apau an experienced Court of Appeal Judge, had proved the “doubting Thomases” wrong, and they have come to appreciate the work of the Commission.

Announcing the date of final sitting to the media yesterday, Mr. Justice Apau said “more serious and stinking petitions keep coming but we will hear them in camera while we compile our report”.

He said that it was the Commission’s intention to have ended its sittings last Thursday, but rescheduled the date to this week to enable it to dispose of few petitions pending before it.

Only one petitioner, Mr. Sampson Kwadwo Apraku, former Member of Parliament for Krachi Constituency, appeared before the Commission to demand accountability from some of his family members who had collected GH¢1,161,564.79 about (11.6 billion old cedis) as compensation from the State on behalf of the Dantawiae Clan of which he is a member, for the flooding of their lands following the construction of the Akosombo Dam.

He said that about 2 billion old cedis had been spent on a new palace that was constructed for the chief, but the balance could not be traced.

Mr. Apraku suggested that another Commission be set up by the President to investigate how the leaders of the beneficiary communities of the Volta River Basin Flooded Areas used the money stressing that the huge compensation was meant for the development of the communities not individuals.

“My Lord, the community members do not even know how much their leaders have collected from the state as compensation because there are no toilet and no schools in the area, and we do not also know what they have used the money for,” he said.

Cabinet in 2008 approved GH¢138 million as compensation for the people of Pai, Apaaso, Makango, Ahamandi and Kete Krachi Traditional Areas, whose lands were flooded when the Akosombo dam was constructed in the 1960s.

However, some witnesses from the affected communities had earlier testified that the compensation did not go to the right beneficiaries.

Sitting continues today.

From Castro Zangina-Tong  

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