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The Gambia Pays $500,000 For Funeral Expenses, Compensation
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The government of The Gambia paid $500,000 for the burial and funerals of Ghanaians killed in that country in 2005, as well as compensation payments to the families of the victims of the unfortunate incident.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hanna Tetteh, stated this in Parliament yesterday when she appeared before the House to answer questions pertaining to the killings.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Jaman South, Mr Yaw Afful, had sought to know whether the funeral donation and compensation received from The Gambian Government in respect of the Ghanaians killed in that country in 2005 had been fully paid.

Ms Tetteh said at the then exchange rate of $1 to GH¢1.40, the money amounted to GH¢750,000.

She said GH¢420,330 was paid to the families of the deceased as funeral expenses and compensation. That amount included GH¢270,000 paid to 27 beneficiaries at GH¢10,000 each.

A group of West African nationals, including 40 Ghanaians, departed the shores of Senegal on July 22, 2005 and landed on the shores of The Gambia in the morning of July 23, 2005.

They believed they were bound for Europe but later found that the trip was a scam and that they were not going to be transported to Europe as they had thought.

They were later rounded up and shot, but some managed to escape to tell their story.

The Gambian Government was accused of being responsible for the killings, but it denied having carried out the murders.

A fact-finding team constituted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) investigated the matter and concluded that The Gambian Government was not culpable.

The Gambia, however, agreed to pay compensation to the bereaved families, since the deaths occurred in its territory.

Quoting a memorandum sent to the Cabinet by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on August 16, 2010, Ms Tetteh said 45 family members of the deceased, the missing and the presumed dead and two survivors had appeared before the committee for screening.

In undertaking the screening exercise, she said,  the committee considered evidence adduced by the claimants in furtherance of their attempt to establish family connections with the victims.

She said provision was made for 31 people but only 27 were identified and verified for payment on December 10, 2010.

According to her, GH¢280,170 was returned to government chest.

Source: Daily Graphic

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