Osahene Kwaku Aterkyi II, Omanhene of Kukuom Traditional Area, on Tuesday, said inundated areas of the Bui Hydroelectric Dam have been well documented thus making it possible to prevent the payments of fraudulent compensation.
He said taking cue from the numerous claims and counter claims that followed the construction of the Akosombo Hydroelectric Dam in the 1960s, the government ensured that areas around the Bui Hydroelectric Dam that were likely to be flooded were surveyed with their allodial land owners identified and well documented.
Osahene Aterkyi, who is also a Chief Consulting Valuer/Chartered Surveyor, and Real Estate Development Appraiser, made this known at the Judgement Debt Commission’s sitting in Accra, on Tuesday. Osahene Aterkyi, known in private life as Nana Amoako Ababio, a Principal Land Valuer for the Lands Department and the Volta River Authority (VRA), worked on flooded areas around the Volta Lake and the Kpong Hydroelectric Dam. He was, therefore, at the Commission to share his experience.
In a response to a question by Mr. Justice Yaw Apau, the Sole Commissioner of the Judgement Debt Commission that some chiefs were already in court claiming compensations for flooded areas of the Bui Hydroelectric Dam, Osahene Aterkyi said it was good that such moves were made now so that compensations would be paid to the rightful allodial owners.
Osahene Aterkyi, who chaired the survey team that documented the areas around the Bui Hydroelectric Dam before the inundation, recounted that the affected settlements, which were in the Banda area, north and South Mo, as well as some parts of Gonjaland were resettled by the Bui Power Authority.
He said during the construction of the Kpong Hydroelectric Dam in the 1970s, areas around it that were likely to be flooded were surveyed and documented, however, for the Akosombo Hydroelectric Dam, the areas were only identified after the flooding following the dam’s construction.
He said the situation made it very difficult to determine the exact area of each settlement that was flooded, and also made it possible for various claims and counter claims.
The Omanhene said in areas such as the Akwamu, Kete Krachi, Yeji, Ahamandi, Apaaso, Worawora, Afram Plains, Amankwakrom and Nkonya, lands were vested in stools.However, in other areas such as Kpandu Fesi, Vakpo and Nsuta, there was a mixture of stool and family lands.
Mr. Kofi Dometi Sorkpo, Lead Counsel of the Commission, enquired from the Omanhene if he was aware that 64 communities got inundated following the construction of the Akosombo Hydroelectric Dam, but the Omanhene explained his research findings indicated that 52 settlements got inundated.
The Sole Commission wanted to know from Osahene Aterkyi, whether as an expert in flooded areas of the Volta Basin, the government at any time consulted him in 2008 before paying GH¢ 138 million for 987,000 acres of land as compensations to claimants. To this, Osahene Aterkyi replied in the negative.
He, however, said in the case of Vakpo and other areas, he produced evidence of payment in court and that saved the nation from double compensation payments.
The Omanhene assured the Commission that a book he had authored on the inundated areas of the Volta Basin would be out by the close of September so a copy would be made available to them for their perusal.He said there were some State acquired lands along the banks of the Volta Lake for commercial farming purposes, which were not being utilized as such.
Osahene Aterkyi urged the government to do due diligence before paying any compensation to claimants from the inundated areas of the Volta Basin to avoid double payments. Chiefs and individuals who had received compensation payment for their inundated areas who appeared before the Commission included Nana Adade Bekoe of Yamousu, Nana Amatakyi of Tokoroano/Kyidom, Nana Twerefour Tim IV, Nana Efede of Nkomi, now deceased, but was represented by Mr. George Asiam Niachire.
Each of them said that the VRA had paid compensation for the crops and resettled them. They also said the government had paid compensations for their lands and the monies were being used for development projects in their communities.
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