Krachiwura Missing At Judgement Debt Commission

The Krachiwura, Nana Mprah Besemuna III, who was expected to appear again before the Commission of Enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debts yesterday failed to honour the invitation. The Paramount Chief of Krachi Traditional Area, who is also a retired police commissioner, was expected to testify on the Volta Basin Reimbursable Fund created by some claimants following the construction of the Akosombo Hydro Electric Dam in the 1960s but his lawyer, Kwame Yankyera, appeared to say that the chief was indisposed. “The Krachiwura came down from Krachi upon the subpoena but he has been taken ill,” counsel told Sole-Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau, adding, “I had interactions with him and put down notes as his answer to the questions the subpoena posed and he appended his signature.” Reimbursable Fund The commission is investigating the circumstances that led to the setting up of the Reimbursable Fund in 2010 with the chief as a principal actor where15% of the total of GH˘130 million approved by the government was supposed to be deducted by the Lands Valuation Division and paid into the fund. Influencing Public Officials Evidence before the commission indicated that the agenda of the Volta Basin claimants was to influence public officials to “facilitate and procure” (in their own words) payment of compensation monies after the government had paid the first two tranches in 2009 and early 2010. Cabinet, in July 2008, had approved a consolidated amount of compensation totalling GH˘138 million for various stools/families in Pai, Apaaso, Makango, Ahmandi and Kete Krachi Traditional Areas. An estimated 57 groups were said to have benefited from the amount. Documents before the commission showed that GH˘1,237,721 was the 15% paid to the Association of VR Flooded Lands Compensation Claimants chaired by Krachiwura Nana Mprah Besemuna III. GH˘71m Disbursed 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˘67 million has been put on hold to enable the government deal with discrepancies in the payments. Some of the witnesses who appeared before the commission have been tendering in evidence site plans that did not have dates but had purportedly been used to claim the money from the Lands Commission. Some of the documents also bore the names of individual claimants; but the witnesses have claimed they were making the claims on behalf of families or clans. Apau Shocked Justice Apau has variously expressed shock at how the Lands Commission could have proceeded to order the release of the various amounts of money to the claimants based on the documents the witnesses are tendering before the commission. Furthermore, he 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 turn around to claim compensation almost 50 years down the line. Asetena Mensah Factor All the witnesses have been telling the commission that Nana Asetena Mensah (deceased), a leader of the Kantakofure family in Krachi, was the one who had commissioned Kwadwo Ababio & Co, a consultant and surveyors, to survey the submerged area out of which the individual plotting were done. The commission has made it clear that Nana Asetena Mensah never came forward to make any claims. Rather, he delegated the Krachiwura, who he said had no stake in the lands, to lead the chase for the compensation. Consultant & Surveyor When the Volta Basin claimants formed the group they reportedly agreed that although 10% valuation fee based on the total compensation was to be paid to the Surveyor, 60% of the first tranche compensation payment was rather paid to the Surveyor as consultation fee. Yesterday, the commission was expected to enquire from the Krachiwura the status of the funds as well as seek explanation on how the funds were disbursed.