Wednesday, April 30, 2014


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By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) yesterday confirmed that Messrs Construction Pioneers (CP) was paid millions for road project contracts some of which the construction giant did not even execute.

An instance was the Akim Oda - Kade/New Abirem – Nkawkaw road in the Eastern Region which CP never executed but managed to claim loss of profit with interest from the Government of Ghana.

Appearing before Sole-Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal yesterday, the Executive Director of GHA, Michael Abieteh Abbey confirmed that indeed CP never lifted single sand and stone but got payment through international arbitration.

The ‘Commission of Enquiry into the payment of Judgement Debt and Akin’ under C.I. 79 to investigate the frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and companies, was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama after public uproar over the payments in what has now come to be termed as Judgement Debts (JD).

Notable among them were payments made to CP (€94 million) and the never-ending case of GH¢51.2million parted to the self-styled National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, both of which many believed were dubious and frivolous.

The GHA boss said the initial contract sum for Akim Oda - Kade/New Abirem – Nkawkaw was GH¢10.6million (¢106billion) with a foreign component of 155million Deutsche Marks.

He also confirmed that the Assin Praso – Yamoransa road was shoddily done by CP but got payment saying the initial contract sum was GH¢1.5million (¢15.2billion) with a foreign component of 28.3million Deutsche Marks.
He said the Biriwa - Takoradi road was executed at initial contract sum of GH¢2.9million (¢29.5billion) with a foreign component of 49.4million Deutsche Marks. However, evidence already before the commission was that CP was overpaid by 44million Deutsche Marks for that project.

Mr. Abbey said the Obuasi town roads project was completed and the contract sum was ¢7.5billion with a foreign component of 6.4million Deutsche Marks.

When Justice Apau asked him if he was aware CP was paid 94million Euros for the projects as judgement debt, he said the GHA was not involved in the payment process but admitted the authority had also heard figure in the media explaining “as we speak, we are not aware how much was paid to CP.”

He said the contract was signed by the Ministry of Roads and Highways in the 1990s and GHA was selected as the engineers and added that “these are contracts that were negotiated and there was no normal bidding process.”

He said the government had substituted some roads in Accra for the projects with the exception of Obuasi for which CP was paid.

Philip Lartey, Deputy Director in charge of Finance and Administration at the Department of Urban Roads confirmed that the contruction of Independence Avenue roads from Liberia Road to Makola Market and Sankara now Arko Adjei up to High Street were substituted for Biriwa-Takoradi, Assin Praso-Yamoransa and Akim Oda-Nkawkaw road projects.

He said there were no dates on the contracts signed for the Accra projects before they was substituted.

Earlier, Mrs. Dorothy Afriyie-Ansah, a Chief State Attorney had asked the commission to give the Attorney General more time to search for documents covering the compensation claim of Victor Adu Nyarko who died in a military helicopter crash at the Atiwa forest in the Eastern Region.

Friday, April 25, 2014


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By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, April 25, 2014

Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal appears to have incurred the wrath the Judicial Service Staff Association (JUSAG) following a comment he purportedly made last Wednesday that some staff of the judiciary as well as some lawyers were corrupt.

The JUSAG has as a result petitioned the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood to ask her to press on Justice Apau to withdraw the claim of corruption made against middle and junior staff of the Judiciary.

Justice Apau who is currently the Sole-Commissioner investigating the payment of judgement debts made the statement during the commission’s proceedings last Wednesday when the CP judgement debt issues was being heard.

The ‘Commission of Enquiry into the payment of Judgement Debt and Akin’ under C.I. 79 to investigate the frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and companies, was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama after public uproar over the payments in what has now come to be termed as Judgement Debts (JD).

What actually happened
In the course of the proceedings, Justice Apau remarked among other things that “People always talk about corruption on the bench; they think it is the judges who take money. Sometimes our Clerks, Court Registrars, even Lawyers are so involved in this dubious act.”

“My own interpreter collected a huge amount of money from someone assuring him that judgment would go in his favour without my knowledge. It was later that I got to know that he (my Clerk) collected an outrageous amount on my behalf.”

“Sometimes it is interesting that after court proceedings have ended you see people murmuring because they paid money to Clerks, Lawyers, Court Registrars thinking that the judge would rule in their favour. If judgment goes in their favour they are happy but if not then they blame the judges. Some lawyers charge these exorbitant fees (in billions) and even go to the extent of charging for the Judges.”

“Some of the clients are equally guilty because sometimes if they have a bad case they think money will make their case good.”

He also said that when he was the President of the Association of Judges and Magistrates he made a case before a Parliamentary Select Committee that was investigating issues of corruption in the judiciary and there was not a single witness who was able to come forward and pinpoint a judge or magistrate of taking a bribe.

Lawyers Charge Huge Sums
Justice Apau said that even some lawyers were charging their clients huge sums under the pretext of using part of the amount to influence judges in cases before he added that in any society there are good people and bad ones and there was the probability that people with bad character are likely to transfer such bad behaviours into their various professions.

JUSAG Petition
However, the Sole-Commissioner’s comment has rattled JUSAG whose Chairman, Francis Brakwa wrote in the petition: “Much as we would agree that there are bad nuts in every institution, we seriously disagree with His Lordship, Justice Yaw Apau’s assertion that Registrars and Clerks were those corrupting the Judicial System.

“We must state that there are hard-working, honest and incorruptible Registrars and Clerks in the Judicial Service and we believe their contribution towards the administration of justice must be commended instead of [them] being labeled as corrupt officers.

The statement called on the respected Appeals Court Judge to “take a second look at” his comments and “withdraw” them “as a show of respect for the over 5,000 employees of the Judicial Service who feel peeved by his accusation…”

It also prayed the Chief Justice to use her office to ensure Justice Apau and all other Judges and staff of the Judiciary desist from “passing derogatory comments that go to insult …the supporting staff of the Judicial Service.”

Ghana Bar Association
Frank Davies, President of the Greater Accra Regional branch of Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has also come out to challenge Justice Apau to substantiate his claim.

He said it was unfair for the Court of Appeal judge to lump all legal practitioners as taking bribes.

Yesterday, when the commission resumed its sitting, Justice Apau was incensed by the media’s reportage of what he said were comments he made off the record and particularly singled out Joy FM, an Accra-based radio station for spearheading a campaign to discredit the work of the commission.

He said “Yesterday, I never said that all lawyers take bribe. Of all the evidence that came here about how CP ripped off the nation, they (Joy FM) didn’t have anything to report. All they could report was that I say lawyers take bribe.”

“If I say some layers charge fees and charge for judges does that means lawyers take bribe? And that was the issue on Joy FM…why do you do that?”

“If Ghana falls into the same situation like Liberia or Cote d’ Ivoire, then it is you the media particularly the FM stations…you will cause it because you broadcast lies.”

“Yesterday I was telling you that there are decent people. If you are a bad man, wherever you go you will be a bad man. If you are bad and you become a pastor, you will be a bad pastor…it you become a lawyer you are a bad lawyer…if you become a judge you are a bad judge. That was the comment I passed even that was an off record.”

“It was very mischievous…what do you gain? It is not me you are destroying…you are destroying the country,” Justice Apau said in an angry tone.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


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By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Commission of Enquiry investigating the payments of judgement debts yesterday heard how former Attorney General Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his deputy Gloria Akufo moved heaven and earth to prevent the payment of huge sums of money to Construction Pioneers (CP).

David Kwabena Ofosu-Dorte, Senior Partner of General Law Consult now AB & David Law, whose firm was engaged as consultants by the Attorney General, gave mind-blowing testimony about how Ghana came to owe Construction Pioneers popularly called CP, so much.

The ‘Commission of Enquiry into the payment of Judgement Debt and Akin’ under C.I. 79 to investigate the frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and companies, was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama after public uproar over the payments in what has now come to be termed as Judgement Debts (JD).

Notable among them were payments made to CP (€94 million) and the never-ending case of GH¢51.2million parted to the self-styled National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome.

He told Sole-Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal that then Attorney General Nana Akufo-Addo and his deputy Gloria Akufo must be commended for the way and manner they tried their best to ensure that CP did not shortchange Ghana in the arbitration process.

James Quarshie Factor
He specifically mentioned Mr. James Quarshie a director of special duties at the Ministry of Finance who he said frequently interfered in the CP case saying “he operated outside the AG’s office and manage to frustrate the process.”

“Ms Gloria Akufo is one minister worth commending. She went to court on the basis of the fact that the MoU the government had signed with CP had said that the matters should be held before a court in Ghana. Secondly, together with Nana Akufo-Addo, they were pursuing parallel negotiations with CP and that went far.”

“To the best of my recollection, at some point, settlement was done at a figure that I cannot recall but it was definitely several times less than I have heard in public was paid. The reason why I say so was that that settlement included the CP’s admission of the setoffs.”

“Professionally, I think the AG’s office if there was any job they did well then it is this CP case. They were doing a very good job but I am aware that James Quarshie made their work almost impossible.”

Narrating how the CP debt came about, Mr. Ofosu-Dorte who has indepth knowledge in construction and engineering laws said the government engaged CP for the construction of some roads in Accra between 1989 and 1994 but when payment was not being made the construction firm went to the International Court of Arbitration for redress.

He said the government as a result terminated the arbitration process and replaced it with an award of contracts for the construction of Biriwa-Takoradi, Yamoransa-Assin Praso and Akim Oda-Nkawkaw in 1996 for which MoUs were signed by then Ministry of Roads and Transport instead of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA).

In the Biriwa-Takoradi road project, the witness said CP was claiming payment for certificate for accrued interest as at August 31, 2001 at about 40million Deutsche Marks, an additional extended performance cost of 23million Deutsche Marks, an adjustment in contract rate as well as variation of the contract regarding the last five kilometer dual carriage way which they claimed 2.75million Deutsche Marks.

Yamoransa-Assin Praso
In the Yamoransa-Assin Praso road project, the witness said CP claimed a default or breach of contract and failure to take action on its first payment certificate dated March 31, 2001 adding “what CP did was that as soon as they poured the bitumen and the rest they put in a certificate and the engineer took no action.”

Akim Oda-Nkawkaw
On the Akim Oda-Nkawkaw road project, he said CP put in a claim of default for breach of contract by certain actions leading to failure to commence work adding “the engineer refused to make a determination and they went ahead to put in a claim.”

“All the CP contracts fell outside the typical rates used by the GHA because they were not getting the jobs through competitive bidding. The jobs were entered into as a result of the 1996 agreement and the rates were very arbitrary.”

He said while CP was initiating the arbitration processes, the then new government entered into another contract with the company for the Obuasi township roads and completed works saying “the government had issued defects liability certificate so the government had no business keeping their money.”

No Bond
He told the commission that “in all the contracts, CP did not post any bond at all. They simply wrote asking the government for a waiver and according to them that waiver was received but nobody ever produced any waiver.”

He said CP at a point had admitted that they owed Ghana about 44million Deutsche Marks as a result of over payment in the Biriwa road project but the government never took steps to get the money.

He said at the time of signing the contract with CP, instead of crafting a proper arbitration clause, there was lazy drafting and that left the venue undetermined but new the AG was able to convince the ICC to bring the arbitration to Ghana.

He said by December 2004, they had made a decision not to renew their contract with the government due to interference especially from James Quarshie and the final arbitration was done in 2007/2008.

“I singled out Gloria Akufo and Nana Akufo-Addo for what they were doing. In terms of the technical work, Gloria was changed. Just when Ambrose Derry was also trying to bring it to a conclusion then there was a change. The frequent changes tend to affect the work of the AG in defending the nation.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


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By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Commission of Enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debts might be forced to cease hearing of a petition brought before it against the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) by a private construction firm.

Megrey Construction Ghana Limited wants the commission presided over by Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal to get the GCAA to pay them about ¢28.5 billion after putting in a claim for about 1.1 billion.

The GCAA had engaged Megrey Construction to undertake a landscaping project at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in 2003 but they claimed that apart from about ¢393 out of the contract sum of ¢1.7 billion the authority paid them, they never received the balance.

However, when the issue was called yesterday, the GCAA officials including Joyce A. Thompson assited by Abdulai Alhassan indicated to the Sole-Commissioner that part of the case was currently in court at the directions stage and therefore made it impossible for the commission to delve those issues.

Justice Apau agreed saying “as it is now, this matter is subjudice.”
A road contractor, Prince John Baidoo, assisted by Francis Lokko all from Megery Construction were the first to testify in the mater.

Mr. Baidoo told the commission that when they were awarded the contract, they sublet the supply of black soil for the landscaping to one Paul Boateng who charged about ¢440million.

He said when the payment delayed because GCAA was not defaulting in their payment to Megrey Construction, Mr. Boateng took them (Megrey Construction) to court in 2005 and got an order to garnishee GCAA account.
He said as a result Megrey Construction also initiated a court action against GCAA in 2007 and after a back and forth legal tussle, the GCAA paid about ¢1billion to Paul Boateng but did not pay the rest of the amount to Megrey Construction.

Asked how Megrey Construction came by the ¢28 billion, Mr. Baidoo said they calculated interest of 40 percent from June 2005 till October 2013 but the Sole-Commissioner said the calculation was wrong per the documents tendered in evidence by the petitioner.

When the GCAA took their turn, Mrs Thompson who is the CGAA’s legal officer narrated a different version of events and the Sole-Commissioner appeared to concur with the GCAA.

She said the substantive case currently pending before a High court was initiated by Megrey Construction and that it was at the direction stage.

She said when the garnishee order was issued, the bankers of GCAA paid the ¢1.1billion to Paul Boateng in February 2011 without the knowledge of the authority especially at a time they had raised issues with the computation of the interest rate.

Justice Apau therefore asked both parties to return to the commission with their lawyers to explain the aspects of the matter that had been already sorted out.

Earlier, Kwadwo Awua-Peasah of the Ministry of Finance assisted by Naab Kumbuor, a lawyer at the ministry testified in the case involving B. Jamplast and the Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Limited.

Mr. Awua-Peasah said $1.8million was paid in two installments in $1million and $800,000.

He said normally they issue release letters to the Controller and Accountant General and could not tell the exact dates the claimant received the payment.
He said the officer who had handled the case was out of town and would return by the end of the month.

The ‘Commission of Enquiry into the payment of Judgement Debt and Akin’ under C.I. 79 to investigate the frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and companies, was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama after public uproar over the payments in what has now come to be termed as Judgement Debts (JD).

Notable among them were payments made to CP (€94 million) and the never-ending case of GH¢51.2million parted to the self-styled National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, both of which many believed were dubious and frivolous.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


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By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rector of Koforidua Polytechnic Prof Reynolds Okai yesterday appeared before the Commission of Enquiry investigating the payments of Judgement Debts to testify on the acquisition of the lands acquired to start the tertiary institution.

He told Sole Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal that two out of five claimants seeking compensation for the lands acquired had already been paid a total of GH¢293,000.

The ‘Commission of Enquiry into the payment of Judgement Debt and Akin’ under C.I. 79 to investigate the frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and companies, was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama after public uproar over the payments in what has now come to be termed as Judgement Debts (JD).

Notable among them were payments made to CP (€94 million) and the never-ending case of GH¢51.2million parted to the self-styled National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, both of which many believed were dubious and frivolous.

Accompanied by Head of Estates at K-Poly, Prof. Okai told the commission that the total land acquired by the government through the Regional Coordinating Council was 78 acres and it was covered by E.I. 54 of 2008.

He said in 2010, the Land Valuation Division of the Lands Commission brought a list containing five names which they said were to be paid compensation following the acquisition of a total land area of 28.049 acres.
The Rector said “We have virtually utilized the total land area and have taken steps to wall the whole institution.

It emerged later at the commission that one of the claimants Akua Odeibea had used the name Comfort Aboagye to process her claims and the Rector confirmed that they received a letter from the Land Valuation Division notifying them about the change of name.

When asked by Sole-Commissioner if he knew the owners of the rest of the 50.361 acres of land and that he did not envisage people popping up later to claim ownership, Prof. Okai said the E.I. had made it explicitly clear that nobody could come back to claim compensation for the land acquired.

He said the land acquired belonged to the New Juaben Municipal Assembly while another part belonged to the Akwapim North District and added that the five claimants were all coming from the Akwapim North District.
Later, the two people who were paid compensation could not appear before the commission because the bailiffs were not successful in serving them with subpoenas.

Peter Abbam
On Tuesday, a Principal Consultant with Segu Consult Limited, Charles Sagoe appeared before the commission to testify in the compensation paid to one Peter Abbam when the Kanda Highway in Accra was constructed.

Documents available to the commission indicate that Mr. Abbam’s name was not in the list of claimants that were supposed to be paid compensation as a result of the project but he managed to put in a claim at the High Court and succeeded in getting over ¢2billion as judgement debt.

Testifying, Mr. Sagoe confirmed that he had done evaluation for Mr. Abbam and the values was GH¢276,345,00.00 saying “we valued a strip of land taken over by the road in front of Peter Abbam’s house.”

He said he was not aware the Land Valuation Division made another valuation of the property saying “all I did was in respect of the property he tasked us to prepare for him.”

Justice Apau then revealed even though the lease was to read 50 years from 1959, Mr. Abbam’s certificate doctored to read 100 years and that was what he used to apply for the claims without any challenge from the Attorney General’s Department.

“I won’t blame you because those whose duty it is to defend the state did not do it so whatever Peter Abbam put in was accepted by the court,” Justice Apau told the witness.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen

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By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen appears to have hit the road following his decision to contest for flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) when the party opens nomination for the 2016 contest.

“I have indicated that I will be contesting but I will not make a formal announcement until the process is officially launched,” he told Paul Adom-Otchere’s Good Evening Ghana programme on Metro TV in Accra yesterday.

Mr. Kyerematen popularly called Alan Cash was of the view that it was in the interest of the NPP to encourage people to contest and make sure the best is selected, saying he was ready to lead the party.

“If we lose two successive elections which we should have won by any stretch of imagination then something must be wrong and we should be bold enough to interrogate that and get answers to it.

“You cannot be given a task to perform, it does not happen and it is business as usual,” he said.

Let Nana Run
He said “I have heard people in our party say that I should let Nana Akufo-Addo run. The foundation of our party is based on the core element of democratic governance and much as we think about such principles at the national level we need to reflect that in what we do in our party. Part of that is fair competition.

“Allowing people who have interest to put themselves up for the party to be able to do so without any fear of intimidation or as it were encouraged not to put themselves up, I think that is the spirit of what we believe in, it should be a free process,” he said.

Mr. Kyerematen said that what was important was how the party managed the process, saying “I have a very good relationship with Nana Akufo-Addo. I have contested him on two occasions and I am not sure you hear either Nana or myself in our rounds give any indication that we were at each other’s throat.”

“Obviously, in any competition you need to position yourself as a preferred candidate and that comes with its own limitations. But beyond that I think the spirit of what we believe in should encourage us to have a process that is unlimited in terms of people who may want to put themselves up. It is not just myself, there are others who obviously might have the same interest… I don’t see the logic that we encourage people not to contest.”

2012 Election
He said that in his view, there were significant flaws the 2012 general election and the party was right in going to the Supreme Court to get things corrected.
However, in another turn around, Mr. Kyerematen also called for “a comprehensive analysis of why we did not win.”

“We should interrogate our own internal processes, organization, campaign structure…We need to understand the Ghanaian voter psychology particularly in Presidential elections. What are Ghanaians looking for?”

“Politics is about power. Any party that stays in opposition for too long stands the risk of becoming irrelevant and I am not interested in continuing to be part of a process that does not deliver victory.”

I have heard people say Alan did not help the campaign in 2012. That is not only false but it is vicious. I was not given any specific role in the campaign. Besides, I was on duty outside the country.

He said made sure Nana Akufo-Addo knew what he was doing outside and the 2012 NPP flagbearer was very supportive and encouraged him.

“People who are not interested in unity in the party have maliciously created or introduced this propaganda element. If this propaganda is intended to hurt my political future when Nana himself has on several occasions thanked me for my support then I will not allow that,” he warned.

Congress results in favour
When Mr. Kyerematen was asked if he had heard that the results in the just ended National Delegates' Congress in Tamale ‘favoured’ him, he replied that “Everybody knows how I do my politics. I don’t need anybody to convince people about who I am and what I can do for this country.”

“Obviously, we have friends who vote within and outside the party. Kwabena Agyapong (new General Secretary) has been my long time friend. He was contesting me in 2007. You can check with him, I sought not to influence this election in anyway.”

“Paul Afoko (new Chairman) has been a good friend and he was in my campaign in 2007 but if you ask him he will tell you probably that I was too distanced from what was going on.”

“I have heard people say that because Paul (Afoko) and Mr. Agyapong (Kwabena) are close associates of mine, they were going to work to support my candidature if I put myself out. If you know both of them as individuals, the last thing they would do would be that”, he stated.


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By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A lawyer with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Seth Mensa Dumogah, was yesterday grilled by the Commission of Enquiry set up by President John Dramani Mahama to investigate the payments of judgement debts.

A petitioner, Evangelist Nana Sankrankye Attah who presented himself as onetime head of Bentiamina Clan, which is the Adonten Division of Buem, is accusing the lawyer of going to court to pursue compensation claims for the family when he, Nana Sankrankyi, had never met Mr. Dumogah or asked him to do anything for them.

According to Mr. Dumogah, he was instructed by one Emmanuel Ofori to pursue the claim for compensation for the acquisition of a 32.68-acre land by the government for the Jasikan District Assembly.

Give and take
Counsel for the Commission, Dometi Kofi Sorkpor,  sought to know from Mr. Dumogah what indeed transpired before a High Court awarded GH¢42,000 which has accrued interest up to GH¢998,000 as judgement debt.

Counsel (Sorkpor): Do you know Nana Sankrankye Atta?

Witness (Dumogah): I know him now…before I went to court I did not know him.

Counsel: How did you take your instructions?

Witness: I took my instructions from Emmanuel Ofori who held a power of Attorney for Nana Sankrankye Atta. We already have a copy of the power of attorney and that power of attorney clearly gave Emmanuel Ofori the authority to take any necessary step to represent the family.

Counsel: Is it the case that the grantor of the power is not seen for instruction to be taken from him but you proceed to take instructions from the one who has the power of attorney. Is that the normal practice in law?

 Witness: When you give your power of attorney to someone and ask that person to act in your name with your authority, that person can go ahead and do what you have asked him to do without a lawyer having to back to the grantor.

He said the case came to their chamber in 2007 and he was assigned the brief in 2008 to pursue the compensation claim, adding “for me seeing the power of attorney, it was enough for me to proceed.”

Counsel: Is it not strange that the owner of the matter is not seen but somebody brings a power of attorney and you act on it and proceed to court.

 Witness: Anytime we went to court we were accompanied by the people from the family.

Counsel:  The people from the family were never party to this suit. The principal actor in the matter, Nana Sankrankye Atta, was not in court.

Witness: I went to court because of the attorney and the attorney had the power to do so.

Counsel: There is nowhere in the power of attorney which states that there is an issue of any party proceeding to court.

Witness: I beg to differ.

Counsel:  To pursue all claims; it is the same as to litigate the matter?

Witness: I do not see the distinction here. If I am entitled to pursue all claims then I am entitled to litigate as well.

Sole-Commissioner Justice Apau reminded the witness that Nana Sankrankye Atta had not asked him to go to court to claim compensation. He had applied to the Lands Commission for the compensation to be paid and that was the claim he was making, adding “if they wanted you to go to court he would have added it in the power of attorney.”

Mr. Dumogah replied that under the rules of interpretation a lawyer could give what he called a literal translation as well as restrictive translation to the issue and said if the Commission was to give a total interpretation it would mean that the petitioner asked his power of attorney to do anything including going to court to claim compensation.

Counsel (Sorkpor): Did you refer this document to Nana Sankrankye Atta?

 Witness (Dumogah): No, I did not.

Counsel: As a lawyer, do you wait for someone to bring an attorney without you physically pursuing the grantor of the power of attorney?

Witness: In practice it happens all the time. Somebody comes to you with an already prepared power of attorney and you act on it.

Counsel: How then do you verify that it is coming from proper custody?

Witness: Unless the plaintiff is denying that he did not sign this document.

Justice Apau: Are you saying that anybody at all can come to you holding a power of attorney and you have not seen the person who granted the power?

Witness: It will make sense to verify.

Justice Apau: And when the man came to say he didn’t ask you to pursue the matter in his name, you go and prepare a declaration that he is no more the head.

Counsel:  You got judgement in the name of the person and it is this man’s name that is being displayed before all the courts and the man doesn’t know anything about it.

Witness: We seem to be jumping ahead of ourselves. At the time the case started and ended he was still the head of family. The case lasted within six months.

Justice Apau: Your own petition you brought before us, you attached a declaration. You said in the declaration that Nana Sankrankyi Atta could never have been the head of the Bentiamena family from day one. You were bandying this around but when he challenged your authority to the action you then relied on the declaration prepared by them.

Witness:  The essential thing is that he does not deny giving this power.

Justice Apau: But his power did not say you should go and litigate. Your declaration attached speaks for itself.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


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By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Sole-Commissioner investigating the payments of judgement debts has stressed that it is wrong for traditional rulers to donate lands to the government for development projects without recourse to families that owned such land.

He said it is even worse in areas where families own lands instead of chiefs and paramouncies saying “it is not right for chiefs to donate lands when in reality it is the families that own such lands. It makes matters complicated with time.”

Justice Yaw Apau who is also a Court of Appeal judge, made the remark when the Headmaster of Yilo Krobo Senior High School appeared before the commission to testify on the school’s lands which was once donated by the Konor (Paramount Chief) of Yilo Krobo decades ago but only gazetted under E.I. 8 in June 2001.

It emerged that about three families are currently claiming ownership of portions of the school’s 64.57 acre land and the Agbadji Family led by one Frederick Odonkor has already been given GH¢19,185 as compensation on the orders of a High Court in Koforidua.

Testifying, the Headmaster, Matthew Lorngmor Bawah told the commission that, the Agbadji Family sued the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly and the school over portions of the land in 1999 and judgement was entered in favour of the claimants in 2005.

He said the school is currently occupying more than half of the land and added that there were plans to start the proposed Eastern Region university on portions of the land.

“There have been encroachments and others are in the process of encroaching the land,” adding that there was a woman who had sued the school to claim two plots of the land and the case was pending in court.

“She presented  documents to show that her husband owned the land before the acquisition by the government and we are currently in court.”

The headmaster said as part of efforts to secure the school’s lands, the management had started fencing the school but lack of funds had hampered their effort.

The commissioner then advised the headmaster to re-demarcate the land and serve notice to prospective owners to come forward so that the school could develop in peace.

The Coordinating Director of the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly Elias Kwaku Mensah also testified on the matter saying “the assembly does not have anything in common with the said acquisition.”

He also confirmed that the Agbadji Family took the assembly and the school to court and the court ordered them to pay compensation.

Mr. Mensah said that the 2.55 acre land that the assembly currently occupies did not fall under the E.I. covering the school’s lands and said that the assembly paid about GH¢14,000 for that land.

He said even though the assembly’s land was acquired in 1988, they had not yet regularized the ownership.

Later, Chief Valuer at the Lands Commission who is currently out of the jurisdiction was expected to represent Executive Secretary in the case involving the Agbadji family compensation.

Also, the Attorney General/Solicitor General was expected to testify in the Peter Abbam compensation case but wrote to ask for more time.