A Koforidua-based lawyer, Sir Stephen Asante-Ansong has dismissed as baseless claims by a group of farmers that he retained more than his legal fees part of an amount paid them as compensation by a private company, GOPDC.
Mr. Asante-Ansong says the claims, contained in a petition presented to the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) has no merit.
With documents backing his argument, the 82-year-old lawyer said the farmers have on their own volition written to thank him profusely for his help to secure the compensation.
Mr. Asante-Ansong said he, at great inconvenience and financial cost to himself, worked tireless to get justice for the farmers for which they expressed gratitude.
The claims that he took from their compensation more than his legal fees were unfounded allegations peddled by a few disgruntled farmers, he stated.
More than a thousand farmers, he insisted, benefited from the compensation package paid and have no complaints at all.
“First and foremost, may we thank you very immensely for the Godfearing and your kind assistance during the past and present. In actual fact, if not because of your humanitarian assiatnce, we would never know our stand of the case. May we here again say ‘A BIG THANK YOU’ and may the good God richly bless you and your family all what you have done,” the farmers said in a letter.
Explaining the issues to Joy News, Mr. Asante-Ansong said, “I have not stolen any money from any farmer. I did a case for the farmers and after the judgement the Plaintiffs insisted that they would pay themselves. The Defendant agreed to give the money to the Plaintiffs who were 1,000 farmers. The Defendant gave me two cheques which I called the leaders to show to them. The two cheques were short by GHS225,460. I told them that they should wait until the full money was in, but they insisted that they should be paid what was at hand immediately. I was paid 10% of the reduced sum as my professional fee. They then paid themselves. In the meantime the last cheque did not come until the payment was completed.
“Then after a time, I wrote to the Company about the last problem about the money and I was informed that the cheque had been deposited in my Client’s account as the outstanding for crop compensation. I returned the money to the Company immediately it became clear that the money of GHS225,460.00 had been paid.
G.O.P.D.C, however, returned it to me and said I could pay that money to any of the farmers but the late Dankwa Noah who was the leader and had all the records and photographs had died. And that was the time the problem started. However, the trouble shooters came to me and I made it clear to them that I would give the money to firstly those who had never received any money at all from G.O.P.D.C but they did not agree. I later suggested to them that I would give back the money to them if they produce an authority from their leaders. They did so and the money has been given to them. They have written to thank me for what I did. I have not stolen any body’s money.”