Rector of Koforidua Polytechnic, Prof Reynolds Okai, last Wednesday appeared before the Commission of Enquiry investigating the payments of Judgement Debts to testify on the lands acquired to start the tertiary institution.
He told Sole Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal that two out of five claimants seeking compensation for the lands acquired, had already been paid a total of Gh¢ 293,000.
The ‘Commission of Enquiry into the payment of Judgement Debt and Akin’ under C.I. 79 to investigate the frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and companies, was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama after public uproar over the payments in what has now come to be termed as Judgement Debts (JD).
Notable among them were payments made to CP (€ 94 million) and the never- ending case of GH¢ 51.2 million parted to the self-styled National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, both of which many believed were dubious and frivolous.
Accompanied by Head of Estates at K-Poly, Prof. Okai told the Commission that the total land acquired by the government through the Regional Coordinating Council was 78 acres and it was covered by E.I. 54 of 2008.
He said in 2010, the Land Valuation Division of the Lands Commission brought a list containing five names which they said were to be paid compensation following the acquisition of a total land area of 28.049 acres.
The Rector said, “We have virtually utilized the total land area and have taken steps to wall the whole institution.
It emerged later at the Commission that one of the claimants, Akua Odeibea, had used the name, Comfort Aboagye, to process her claims and the Rector confirmed that they received a letter from the Land Valuation Division notifying them about the change of name.
When asked by the Sole Commissioner if he knew the owners of the rest of the 50.361 acres of land and that he did not envisage people popping up later to claim ownership, Prof. Okai said the E.I. had made it explicitly clear that nobody could come back to claim compensation for the land acquired.
He said the land acquired belonged to the New Juaben Municipal Assembly while another part belonged to the Akwapim North District, and added that the five claimants were all coming from the Akwapim North District.
Later, the two people who were paid compensation could not appear before the Commission because the bailiffs were not successful in serving them with subpoenas.
On Tuesday, a Principal Consultant with Segu Consult Limited, Charles Sagoe appeared before the Commission to testify in the compensation paid to one Peter Abbam when the Kanda Highway in Accra was constructed.
Documents available to the Commission indicated that Mr. Abbam’s name was not in the list of claimants that were supposed to be paid compensation as a result of the project, but he managed to put in a claim at the High Court and succeeded in getting over Ghc¢200,000 as judgement debt.
Testifying, Mr. Sagoe confirmed that he had done evaluation for Mr. Abbam and the value was GH¢ 276,345,00.00 saying “We valued a strip of land taken over by the road in front of Peter Abbam’s house.”
He said he was not aware the Land Valuation Division made another valuation of the property, saying, “All I did was in respect of the property he tasked us to prepare for him.”
Justice Apau then revealed that even though the lease was to read 50 years from 1959, Mr. Abbam’s certificate doctored to read 100 years and that was what he used to apply for the claims without any challenge from the Attorney General’s Department.
“I won’t blame you because those whose duty it is to defend the state did not do it. So whatever Peter Abbam put in was accepted by the court,” Justice Apau told the witness.
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