Officials of the Land Valuation Division of the Ghana Lands Commission took a 15 per cent cut out of the compensation of fellow Ghanaians whose homes were flooded when the Akosombo Dam was built in the 60s.
Mr. Justice Yaw Apau, the Sole Commissioner of the Judgement Debt Commission, was shocked out of his wig and gown following disclosure by witnesses at the commission’s public hearings that 15 % of the flood victims’ compensation was “deducted and set aside to facilitate” prompt processing of their land documents.
It was also to “fast-track the payment” of the Consolidated amount of GH¢138 million approved by Cabinet in 2008 as compensation for people whose lands were destroyed during the construction of Ghana’s premier dam.
Justice Apau therefore subpoenaed Nana Mprah Besemuna II, the Krachiwura, to appear before the Commission to throw light on the Volta River Reimbursable Fund which he had been instrumental in establishing.
The commission, among other things, wants the paramount Chief of the Kete Krachi Traditional Area, to explain why 15 per cent was deducted from the GH¢71 million land compensation paid to flood victims of the Volta River Basin Flooded Areas to facilitate speedy payment of their claims by the Land Valuation Division of the Lands Commission.
The affected communities are Pai, Apaaso, Ahamandi, Makango and Kete-Krachi Traditional Areas in the Brong-Ahafo, Eastern, Northern and Volta regions.
Some aggrieved land owners who were left out of the compensation package, have petitioned the commission to inform it that some of the beneficiaries owned no lands, therefore, the money has gone to some wrong hands.
Interestingly, Togbe Dodzi II, the Ewe Community Chief of Addo Nkwanta, told the commission that the state had failed to pay for the land it acquired from his clan in 1964 to resettle those whose lands were submerged during the construction of the Akosombo dam, and produced documents to prove that the said land really belonged to them and it was, indeed, purchased in 1956.
He appealed to the commission to investigate whether some people had secretly collected the compensation on their behalf.
“My Lord, we beg you help us to collect our money from the government,” he pleaded with the Sole Commissioner.
Mr Justice Apau, read out a petition written to the Presidency on November 20, 2009, by the Paramount Chief of the Worawora Traditional Area, Daasebre Asare Baah III, withdrawing his first letter he wrote to the President telling him not to pay any compensation to Nana Dwamena III, Jonathan Alowodor and others for the Addo Nkwanta Resettlement Site and farmlands
Through the documents, the Sole Commissioner realised that Togbe Dodzi and his clan members had not been paid compensation and he assured that the matter would be thoroughly investigated.