Tension is mounting at Sofokrom in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, as three families have accused the Chief of Sofokrom, Nana Kwesi Badu II, of allegedly diverting GH¢2.5 million meant for them.
The money is the proceeds for the purchase of about 77. 044 acres of land belonging to the families, for the Free Zone Enclave, in the Western Region.
They have, therefore, appealed to the government, the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA), the Free Zone Board (FZB) and the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC), to order Nana Badu to pay them their share of the money or risk jeorpadising the project.
The group, namely, Joseph Mensah representing the Mensah family, Ebusuapanyin Ata Mensah and Ebusuapanyin Kojo Nyewae families, insisted that, Nana Badu’s argument that, they did not pay homage to the stool was untenable.
They described it as a threat to deprive them of their heritage and economic interests, vowing to pursue the matter “to the highest quarters on the land”.
The Mensah family has 22.95 acres while Ebusuapanyin Ata Mensah and the Nyewae families, have 9.644 acres and 31.45 acres, respectively.
“Nana Badu’s claim about the payment of homage, has nothing to do with our lawful claims on the lands for the Free Zone enclave. Nothing of that sort was said when the cheque was paid in September 2013.We will insist on our rights.”
“Indeed, we have been deprived of our of land, livelihood, our heritage and have become poorer because of the cheating and threats from the Sofokrom Chief,” they said in an interview with The Ghanaian Times yesterday.
The families further argued that, checks from the Lands Commission indicated that, their claims were genuine and that they were the bonafide land owners and deserved the payments.
Sources at the FZB confirmed that the said families were legitimate land owners, and called for an amicable settlement of the stalemate over the GHc2,500,000.
In a petition to the Chief Executive of STMA, dated November, 25, 2014 and copied The Ghanaian Times, the three families questioned the claims of Nana Badu and wondered why he denied them as bonafide owners of the lands, and therefore, not qualified for any compensation under the FZB enclave arrangement.
They complained that they had not received any money from Nana Badu since the bank cheque for the GHc2.5 million was presented to him by the Minster of Trade and Industry, about two years ago, for disbursement to the land owners.
The petition asked: “We want to know the number of communities which benefited from the said amount, the total acres of Sofokrom land acquired by the Free Zone Board, the total amount of money given to respective land owners at Sofokrom, the cost per acre used for computation, the name and place of the bank where the money was deposited, the signatories to the bank account, and the names of the committee members in the community which disbursed the money.”
The families noted that, Nana Badu suspected that they were completely ignorant about the issues and had turned a blind eye to them anytime they approached him for their part of the moneys, insisting that their sites were not captured in the Free Zones Enclave.
They pointed out that a search at the Lands Commission indicated that, their sites formed part of the land which was the subject matter of a proposed Government Acquisition for the Free Zone Board, stressing that, because they were not consulted or informed of such a deal, they had no details of the transaction.
“From the foregoing and as matter of openness and transparency, we wish to ask the Chief Executive to ask or advise Nana Badu II, to disburse to us without much delay our part of the cheque for the amount of GHc2.5 million he received from the then Minister of Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrisu, at Mpintsin near Sekondi in connection with Ghana Government acquisition of Lands at Sofokrom, Mpintsin, Eshiem and Enoe for the Free Zone Enclave,” the petition pleaded.
But, Nana Badu in an affidavit in opposition to the families’ petition, claimed that the Sofokrom families had no lands in the area, adding that, the stool did not know them as farmers and also do not even pay homage (drinks) to him.
He argued that, the first applicant, (Mr. Mensah), who farmed at Kanworodo had no family land and had never shown himself up as a tenant farmer, since he was installed in July 1977, stressing that, he could not claim any amount coming from the FZB.
On the second applicant, Nana Badu said that he prepared a document measuring 9.644 acres without the knowledge of the royal family, adding that, he, (Ebusuapanyin Ata Mensah) could not provide any answers declaring that, “the second applicant owns no land at Kansaworodo and that his action is a recipe for trespass on the land and can be charged for unlawful entry”.
He indicated that one Kwesi Essuman and Kweku Amo, received GH¢100, 000 and GHc33, 163.20 respectively, for being regular farmers, stressing that, the second applicant (Ebusuapanyin Ata Mensah), imposed his document covering the said 9.644 acres on the stool.
Later, in an interview on Friday Nana Badu stressed: “The said GH¢2.5 million was paid to the stool and not the families. They entered the said land at Kanworodo without informing the stool. Their claims to Free Zone money are not tenable. They will not get any money because we don’t know them.”
Meanwhile, an acknowledgement letter sighted by The Ghanaian Times showed that Nana Badu collected GH¢20,000 from the GH¢100,000 paid to Opanyin Essuman while another dated November, 19 2013, showed that, the Sofokrom Chief collected GH¢11,055 from Opanyin Amo’s share of GH¢33,167.20.
It is recalled that, the Times on September 5, 2013, reported the handing over of the cheque of GH¢2.5 million to Nana Badu II, after the successful conclusion of the acquisition of the lands, with Mr. Iddrisu saying that, the money was to be shared among the land owners.
From Clement Adzei Boye, Sofokrom