Chopper Victim Paid Compensation

Justice Yaw Apau
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has said it compensated the family of a civilian who died in the military helicopter crash at the Atiwa Forest in the Eastern Region in 2002.

According to Kwadwo Awua-Peasah, the Ministry’s Director in-charge of External Resource Mobilization (Bilateral), the family of the deceased, Victor Adu Nyarko – then nurse with the Holy Family Hospital at Nkawkaw – was paid GH¢15,975.20 as compensation.

It will be recalled that when some soldiers were critically injured in a road accident, Mr. Adu Nyarko, who studied Nursing in the United Kingdom, was asked to accompany them to the 37 Military Hospital, Accra, by air but the plane crashed in the Atiwa Forest killing all those on board.

The families of the deceased soldiers were paid compensation but Adu Nyarko’s family was not included in the package.

Last week, Alidu Fuseini, Chief Director of the Ministry of Defence, flanked by Group Captain Mike Kwame Appiah-Agyekum of the Ghana Air Force, testified at the commission of enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debts and admitted that in the case where a civilian died in helicopter crash in the Atiwa Forest, his family never received compensation from the military.

Group Captain Appiah-Agyekum said documents available indicated that families of the deceased soldiers were paid compensation and added that they did not have any record indicating that Mr. Adu Nyarko’s family got any compensation.

He had told the commission that any civilian who uses military aircraft, vehicles and other equipment is mandated to complete what he called an ‘indemnity form,’ explaining that that absolves the military from any liability – should there be an accident – adding, ‘the case of the nurse lies in the legal realm.’

Yesterday, the MoFEP official told Sole-Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal that after the family of Adu Nyarko had written to the Ministry of Defence for compensation, the Ministry referred their letter to the MoFEP which in turn wrote to the AG for assessment before settling on the amount.

Records at the commission indicated that the actual petition was filed on August 2, 2006 and request for compensation filed on July 19, 2007; but because the response delayed, the family, through a lawyer, sent a reminder before the final payment was made.

Justice Apau then remarked that judging from the caliber of the professional that Ghana lost, the amount paid to Mr. Adu Nyarko’s family could not be said to be adequate but once the family did not complain, the matter should rest.

Mr. Awua-Peasah, flanked by Samuel Aboagye-Amoa-Esa, legal counsel for MoFEP, also promised to compile the list of services rendered to the Ministry by companies and individuals for which payment had still not been done.

Kwesi Bentsi-Enchil, Chief Valuer at the Lands Commission, also appeared and promised to submit names of companies and individuals that had not yet been paid.

The commission made it clear that all other Ministries, Departments and Agencies would also be required to submit a list of companies and individuals for which payment had still not been done.

By William Yaw Owusu

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