Most State Properties Sold Without Due Diligence — Witness

The divestiture of most of the state properties were done  without proper due diligence, Mr. Asakkua Agambila, Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), has said.

According to him, even some people whose lands were taken by the state for agricultural purposes and never received any compensation, had threatened to take back their lands.

Giving evidence at the Judgement Debts Commission yesterday, Mr Agambila said, that had resulted in a number of law suits filed against the DIC by some landowners.

The Executive Secretary was subpoenaed to explain why the Central Horticultural Station at Medie, near Nsawam in the Eastern Region, was divested, and whether compensation was  paid to the  landowners by government.

It however, came to light that the state, having acquired the land compulsorily under Legislative Instrument (LI) 104 of 1972, and subsequent amendment of Executive Instrument (EI) 23 in 2000, has not paid any compensation.

Mr. Justice Yaw Apau, the Sole Commissioner, wondered why Government should go  ahead to divest  a property it had acquired, without paying any compensation to the owners.

Narrating how the site was acquired, Mr. Agambila told the Commission that the Ministry of Local Government, acting through the Department of Parks and Gardens, took over the land at Medie as far back as 1965.

He said records of the 1972 acquisition gave the acreage as 359.86, but a subsequent survey undertaken by the Survey Department of the Lands Commission showed that the land was 538.856 acres.

The discrepancy in the acreage, he said, led to the amendment of the Executive Instrument 23 in 2000.

The Executive Secretary said the landownyers in 2001, made claims for 427.79 acres but 62.7 acres were conflicting, whilst no claims had been made for111 acres.

He said that the Land Valuation Division had valued the land at GH¢365,074.80.

Mr. Agambila said that in 2004, the land owners harassed the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for their compensation, resulting in the setting up of a Ministerial Committee to investigate matters relating to the divestiture, operations and payment of dividends to government among others.

Mr. Justice Apau, observed that because the state institutions did not keep proper records, some unscrupulous Ghanaians made false or fictitious claims for land compensations.

“People collect money they do not deserve,” he said, and asked public servants to cultivate the habit of good record keeping.

Sitting resumes on Monday, August 25.

By Castro Zangina-Tong    

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