About 98 percent of claimants who were entitled to compensation following the construction of the Tarkwa-Bogoso-Ayamfuri road in the Western Region have been paid, the Commission of Enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debts heard yesterday.
Kofi Archer-Kwajan, Chief Valuer at the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA), told Sole-Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau, sitting as a Court of Appeal judge, that about GH¢7.2 million had been paid so far to the claimants.
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 (JDs).
Notable among them were payments made to CP (â‚¬94 million) and the 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.
Flanked by Thomas George Quarcoo, Director of Legal Services at the GHA, Mr. Archer-Kwajan said the GH¢7.2 million was shared among 1,741 Project Affected Persons (PAP) and added that all those people, with the exception of about two percent, had been compensated.
He said computing the compensation package, the government considered crops, farms and structures on land and said there was no conflict over the lands taken for the road project.
Charles Hayibor of Hayibor Djarbeng & Co – now Danso & Co – who acted as counsel for Alfred H. Awusi, then Assistant Director of Prisons Service whose appointment was wrongfully terminated by the Service, appeared to explain the incident.
The senior lawyer said he was implicated and sacked from the Service following the flogging to death of a prisoner on February 16, 1989 at the Sunyani Central Prison.
However, he said Mr. Awusi had been able to prove that by February 13, 1989 he had been transferred to the Nsawam Medium Security Prison and could not have been involved in the flogging of the prisoner, but in spite of the alibi, the Prison authorities refused to reinstate him.
Mr. Hayibor said Mr. Awusi then instructed them to pursue the case in court where he was awarded ¢50 million (GH¢5,000) plus ¢3 million (GH¢300) cost on May 27, 2004.
He said even though the compensation awarded Mr. Awusi was paltry, he (claimant) ‘had Ghana at heart and decided not to seek an appeal when we tried to file the process.’
An Associate of Lexcom Chambers, Kwabena Sarfo-Mensah whom the Commission subpoenaed over the Ghana Telecom versus Telecom Malaysia transaction, also testified.
He told the Sole-Commissioner that they were only external solicitors for Ghana Telecom and were working on retainer matters.
‘When the dispute arose we could not have acted as solicitors for Ghana Telecom because we were their consultant when they were working together with Telecom Malaysia,’ he said.
By William Yaw Owusu
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