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VRA Denies Responsibility…Towards Volta Lake Land Owners   
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The Acting Corporate Estate Manager of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Emmanuel Tetteh Martey, who appeared before the Judgment Debt Commission sitting yesterday revealed that as at 1971, VRA was asked to wash its hands off all compensation payment meant for affected persons of the Volta Lake basin.

According to him, the VRA paid undisclosed cash compensations and resettled 80,000 affected persons until they were asked to stop the payment. Mr. Martey said in Act 46 of the Volta River Department 1961 which established the VRA, the VRA was mandated to pay compensation to the host communities until 1971 after which the government took over the payment and vested it in the Lands Valuation Division of the Lands Commission.

Mr. Martey was subpoenaed by the Commission to brief it on the role the VRA played in the compensation payment to the Pai, Apasu, Makendi and Kete Krachi areas. He further told the Commission that, before the exit in the compensation payment his outfit had organized 52 resettlement places for the 80,000 affected people and compensations and reinstatement were paid for lands, crops, schools, shrines and all people who did not want resettlement were paid off by VRA.

He added that, although the initial plans were to build two bedroom houses for the victims, the houses were later changed to a one bedroom per family, including cash payment. According to him, by 1971, the VRA had finished paying its part of the compensation to the inhabitants of the host communities, adding that he was not privy to what happened afterwards.

He further told the Judgment Debt Commissioner, Justice Yaw Appau that VRA had fulfilled its part of the deal to the communities as in cash payments, reinstatements, and resettlements.

Mr. Martey noted that all concerned persons at that time after 1971, were asked to submit petitions, documents to the Land Valuation Department of Lands Commission for redress. He also intimated to the Commission that there was no valuation on the land before the payment of compensation as it came to light before the Commission that one Abban & Co surveyed and did valuation for the persons involved. He explained that the land was compulsorily acquired by the State so it was not valued.

When quizzed by the Lead Counsel for the Commission, Dometi Kofi Sorpkor, whether there was any payment to stools or Chiefs and the areas yet to be compensated, he answered in the negative that no records had been traced in respect of that.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Controller and Accountant General’s Department and the Judicial Service also appeared before the Commission in respect of a GH¢2.3 million judgment debt paid to Delta Foods in 1999.

The Deputy Controller and Accountant General in charge of Treasury, Andrew Kingsley Kojo Kufei said his outfit was asked by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to make a transfer of GH¢2.3 million into Judicial Service Account number 0125660049003 on November 24, 1999.

According to him, the money was to enable Judicial Service defray its debt owed Delta Foods so his outfit acted accordingly.

The Chief Registrar General at the Judicial Service, John Kojo Bannerman on his part could not respond to the issue. He said his office could not locate files on the matter and, therefore, prayed the Commission to give them three weeks to enable them furnished the Commission with the documents.
Source: The Chronicle

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