Judgment Debt Commissioner, Justice Yaw Appau has expressed worry over government’s failure to follow due procedure in the payment of a 4.36 million Ghana cedis compensation to land owners at Barekese in the Ashanti region, warning it could trigger a fresh judgment debt situation.
The lands were taken for the construction of a Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) dam site. Whilst half of that money was released to the appropriate agency, the Land Valuation Board of the Land Commission for onward disbursement to land owners, the rest was wrongly paid through the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing. Justice Appau raised the red flag when Managing Director of GWCL Kwaku Godwin Dovlo appeared before the commission on Wednesday.
Justice Appau questioned why normal procedure for the payment of land compensation was circumvented, warning some mischievous persons could take advantage of the situation and initiate a court action which could result in frivolous judgment debt against the state.
He said; “the normal procedure was circumvented, that’s why the Land valuation Board is not aware that the remaining 50 percent has been paid.” “Normally, when there are issues involving land compensation, it is the Land Commission that is taken to court along with the Attorney General. So any mischievous person can rise up from the area and sue the Lands Commission and the Attorney General to claim the 50 percent balance that it has not been paid.
And if you are not brought into the picture, the Land Valuation Board would have no answer because from their records only 50 percent has been paid. They would just go and submit to judgment, and then the state would be paying frivolous judgment debt,” he said during the hearing.
Counsel for the Commission Dometi Kofi Sokpor announced the solicitor of the land owners would soon be summoned before the commission to answer questions in connection with the payment.