New Twist In Volta Basin Compensation

It has emerged that two communities that were not listed to be paid compensation in the Volta Basin Flooded Area later found their way into the payment schedule.

The Commission of Enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debts on Thursday heard how Old Osramanae and Gyengyen, all in the Krachi District of Volta Region, took steps to demand compensation after the first tranche was released to other claimants.

Interestingly, the two claims were traced to the 1970s and were different from most of the earlier witnesses, who initiated the compensation processes in the 2000s.

Cabinet approval
Cabinet, in July 2008, approved a consolidated amount of compensation totaling GH¢138 million for various stools/families in Pai, Apaaso, Makango, Ahmandi and Kete Krachi Traditional Areas and about 57 groups were said to have benefited from the amount.

Records at the commission revealed that GH¢71 million has been paid so far to the various claimants and the disbursement of the remaining GH¢67million has been put on hold to enable the government deal with discrepancies in the payments.

Some of the witnesses who appeared before the Sole-Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau have been tendering in site plans that do not have dates but purportedly used the same documents to claim the money from the Lands Commission.

Apau shocked
The Court of Appeal judge expressed shock at how the Lands Commission could have proceeded to order the release of the various amount of money to the claimants based on the documents the witnesses are tendering before the commission.

Furthermore, Justice Apau did not understand why communities that were resettled by the government in the 1960s, given communal lands and paid compensation for crops destroyed by the Volta River floods could claim compensation after almost 50 years.

Old Osramanae
Donkor Bobson, a retire educationist and leader of Old Osramanae, told the commission they submitted their claim in 1975 and were not part of the communities that put in claims around 2004.

He said they got to know about the payments when the first tranche was paid to the various claimants but when they enquired they were told that another community called Kantankofore had presented a plan and covered a large tract of land that did not belong to them alone.

‘We met Nana Asetena Mensah and all the affected clans for arbitration and they agreed to cede part of the land to us and that was how we came into the payment schedule.’

‘They gave 5,000 acres to Gyengyen, and 1,000 acres to Old Osramanae. We were peeved about it because the acreage we were anticipating was 4,000 and we thought 1,000 acres was too small but because we did not submit our claim on time we had to give in.’

Justice Apau, at that moment, said that documents available indicated that Old Osramanae was listed as having about 13,605 as at 1975 by the VRA but the witness said he was not aware and added that he did not also know the land was valued at ¢247,005 in 1979.

The witness said he received GH¢51,820.69 in four tranches.

Anthony E. Quansah, with the stool name Nana Kpebu who works with GRA at Somanya, told the commission that he was selected by the elders to seek the compensation and tendered in evidence the power of attorney given him.

He also said Gyengyen put in a claim in the 1970s and was not part of the current claimants but got to know about the payments when the first tranche was released.

He said the Kantankofore had to cede about 5000 acres of land to them following an arbitration and as a result, Gyengyen received GH¢259,096.39.

‘What we are being paid for is not the actual acreage of our lands,’ he said. Makango

In a related development, the Makango communities, who also received compensation, are expected to testify before the commission.

Records at the commission indicate that GH¢ 632,010.53 , GH¢794,509.04 and GH¢307,013.52 were paid to Issah Salifu/Osman Shaibu, Adam Issifu/Issah Salifu, as well as Seidu Braimah respectively.

By William yaw owusu

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