New Twist in ¢34bn compensation

Justice Yaw Apau
The Confiscated Assets Committee has denied knowledge of the confiscation of two wood processing companies in which a whooping ¢34 billion (GH¢3.4 million) was paid to the owner as compensation.

Records at the Commission of Enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debt indicated that Nana Emmanuel Duke Woode was paid the amount in 2006 after he got a default judgement for the confiscation of his companies by the government in the heat of the 1982 revolution.

The companies, Holex Ghana Limited and Priorities Ghana Limited, all located at Akim Oda, were said to have been seized by the Jerry Rawlings-led military junta after the overthrow of a constitutionally elected government.

The Attorney General’s Department has also testified that it still cannot trace documents indicating payment, even though the Accountant General’s Department authorised the Bank of Ghana to release ¢34,758,343,331 to the claimant.

Asikkua Agambila, Executive Secretary of Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), has already testified that the DIC had no idea about the transaction, noting that ‘the two companies have never been a subject for divestiture.’

‘We would think that at the time that the companies were confiscated in those circumstances, it is most likely they would have been handed over to the Confiscated Assets Committee located at the Castle and not to the DIC,’ Mr. Agambila had explained.

Yesterday, J.K. Mensah a Chief Investigator in charge of confiscated assets at the Office of the President, appeared before the commission and said he had never heard of Holex Ghana Limited and Priorities Ghana Limited.

‘I have been working on the committee since 1982, and for the years I have been there, we have never had any of such properties as confiscated to the state,’ he told Sole-Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau.

He however, said he was aware of the Subin Timbers case in which the commission has already heard how the owner’s adopted son managed to get a deconfiscation order and took possession in spite of the company being divested to an investor.

Mr. Mensah also gave a brief history of confiscations in the country, saying; ‘anytime we investigate the issues we send our recommendations to the President and how the final decision is taken, we are not in a position to know.’

He said the petitions for deconfiscation had gone down drastically and added that ‘we have some properties which are still with the government but some are not known to us.’

Justice Apau then requested the committee to furnish the commission with the list of all deconfiscated assets and the processes followed in the exercise.

Earlier, Solicitor-Secretary of Lands Commission, Kwame Poku-Boah, testified on suits filed against the commission.

He said there were 17 claims against the commission and two involved failed allocation of government plots and the matter had since been dealt with.

He said four other cases of failed allocation of plots were pending in court and the rest were related to compensation claims for lands acquired by the state for projects in different parts of the country.

He said the chiefs in the area where the Bui Dam power project is located are also suing for compensation.

He also said there were suits for compensation for lands along the Volta Lake flooded area, Ofankor, Ada, Osudoku, among other acquisitions.

He said currently, it was the Lands Commission that had to be sued following the merger of all allied land management institutions.

By William Yaw Owusu

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