MPs Says Assemblies Are Misusing Stool Lands Revenue

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry has appealed to district assemblies who benefited from stool lands revenue to use the funds allocated to them for development projects that would benefit communities. He said most of the assemblies had used the money which was distributed by the Office of the Administration Stool Lands (OASL) for recurrent expenditure other than developing communities where the royalties were coming from. Mr. Gershon Gbediame, Chairman of the Committee who led an eight-member fact finding team on Tuesday to the Western Region to ascertain how monies disbursed to such assemblies were utilised, called for stringent guidelines for the use of such monies as it was done for the District Assemblies Common Fund. The team visited the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly and the Mpohor Wassa West District. Members of the committee expressed dissatisfaction about the manner in which such monies had over the years been utilized by the assemblies particularly from 2004 to 2006. Mr. Joseph N. A. Agbo, Vice Chairman of the committee, said he was disappointed about the inability of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly to produce any document showing how the money was used over the last three years. Mr Kobina Pra Annan, the Metropolitan Chief Executive, said the assembly had engaged the services of the Land Valuation Board to access as well as value properties in the metropolis in order for the assembly to know how much it could get from stool lands revenue. At Daboase in the Mpohor Wassa East District Mr Anthony Bassaw, the District Chief Executive, was asked to find alternative ways of using the monies to reflect local development. Ms. Irene Addo, a member of the Committee, advised the assemblies to identify the socio-economic needs of the local people and rather use the royalties paid by the AOSL to provide such needs. “Let the monies have direct benefit on communities which have been affected by mining, deforestation and any other environmental degradation rather than on internal affairs,” Mr Joseph Boahene Aidoo, a member of the committee, said. The beneficiary assemblies under the OASL are expected to get 55 per cent as royalties for local development.