Goes before Justice Apau’s probe
A total of fifty nine individuals, including chiefs in and around the Volta Lake Basin flooded areas, will tomorrow start appearing before the Sole Commissioner investigating the payment of Judgment Debts, Justice Yaw Apau, to help him unravel circumstances that led to multiple collection of compensation from government since 1965, when the Akosombo Dam was constructed.
The consolidated compensation of GH¢138.0 million, followed former President, John Agyekum Kufuor’s Cabinet’s approval on July 23, 2008 to pay various stools, individuals and families in Pai, Apaaso, Makango, Ahmandi and Krachi Traditional Areas.
The beneficiaries, who have been grouped into twelve, will appear from August 28-30, 2014. It is believed that a group of men and women, would be asked several questions, including findings made by investigators, many of them have since 1965 been collecting compensations under some criminal arrangement, which has been traced to some officers at the Lands Commission and the Lands Valuation Board (LVB).
During the construction of the Akosombo Dam, between 1961 and 1965, about 78,000 people were relocated to new towns and villages, along with 200,000 animals, about 120 building destroyed, while over 3,000 square miles of territory was flooded.
Under the laws of Ghana, once communities have been resettled and subsistence and commercial farmlands are purchased by Government elsewhere for the communities, no further compensation was permitted.
However, after decades, precisely March 20, 2003, a surveyor, Messrs Kodwo Abban and Co, were engaged by Nana Ofosu Yaidom I, the Omanhene of Pai Traditional Area to re-determine the size and re-value the flooded areas of the Volta Lake basin, belonging to the Pai Tradition Council that was occupied by the VRA under LI.98 dated August 28, 1974.
Four persons, including Nana Ofosu Yaidom signed the letter as claimants.
The second engagement letter written on January 17, 2003, when Kallibuwura Kunumuto Bardoe III, wrote to engage the same surveyors and Valuers; Messers Kodwo Abban and Co as valuers to the Makango flooded area, also occupied by the VRA
The valuers, were directed to prepare a report of valuation of the said areas and present to the Executive Secretary of the Lands Valuation Board, and five persons purported to be owners thumb-printed the letter of engagement.
In the end, a total of 987,087.74 acres of land was submitted by the Lands Valuation Board (LVB) for approval as denuded lands and Government was requested to pay compensation thereon.
However, it was detected that the claim were “fraudulent” on the part of LVB, because several and very enlightened chiefs with powerful legal representation did openly avow that, they never engaged the said surveyors to do any such thing when they found out that their traditional areas were included in the list presented to Government by LVB.
Subsequently, after some legal tussle against the LVB and Mr. Kodwo Abban, the chiefs won the case.
It was realized that documents submitted to the Government, showed that the Valuation Report was based on a falsified information by the LVB. The Kufuor government agreed in August 2008, to pay a total sum of GH¢138 million over an eight-year, period.
The first tranche of GH¢5 million was paid in 2009. Four further installment payments, have been made all totaling GH¢71 million leaving a remainder of GH¢67 million yet to be paid.
Public servants, chiefs, surveyors and valuers, officers at Land Department and Land Valuation Board, lawyers and individuals, who purported to be owners of the said denuded lands and were involved in collection of the amounts, were described as “a coalition of nation-wreckers, intent on raiding the exchequer the best way they could”. More to come!