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29.04.2008 General News

Assemblyman, three others sue CWSA…for diverting HIPC funds for other use

By Florence Gbolu - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Assembly Member for Apesokubi in the Volta Region and three other persons have filed a suit against the Jasikan district's Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) and one Solomon Kwame Donkor to refund Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) allocation funds referred them.

The four, George Kwasi Attu-Aseidu, Kwame Anane Mensa, Samuel Kwaku Owuo Adonti and Benjamin Kwabena Abankwa are contending a directive from the District Assembly and Solomon Kwame Donkor requesting the Community Water and Sanitation Agency to divert HIPC funds for Apesokubi for the use and benefit of Bodada.

The four described the decision as not only unilateral and fraudulent but also considered it as a vindictive and irregular act.

According to them, the defendants did not make any reference or notice to either the Social Services Sub-Committee of the District Assembly of which they are members.

For this reason, the plaintiff held that the said directive and resultant diversion of Apesokubi HIPC funds were in violation of the rules governing the application of HIPC (poverty related) Funds.

The said HIPC allocation was intended for the benefit of Apesokubi.

In their statement of claim, plaintiffs stated that the disbursement of HIPC funds is governed and strictly regulated by officially prescribed criteria.

Consequently, plaintiffs noted that they themselves as natives and Apesokubi community as a whole have lost the ¢180 million HIPC allocation and all benefits.

They further noted that the HIPC allocation to Apesokubi was made after the Community was approved and certified by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) as having satisfied the requirements for HIPC (poverty related) funds.

They therefore noted that HIPC allocation of ¢180 million was specifically given in favour of Apesokubi Community and not to either the District Assembly or any other community which had not been approved and certified by MOFEP as having satisfied the requirements for the funds.

Plaintiffs' indicated that they are members of the Apesokubi Development Committee whose mandate includes oversight and advisory responsibility for Apesokubi Water and Sanitation Sub-Committee and bring the present action for themselves personally and on behalf of the said Committee for the benefit of the entire Apesokubi Community which include their blood families.

They further noted that in 2003, a letter addressed to the Director of Budget, MOFEP, advised that Apesokubi town - community and Kwamikrom having been certified to have fulfilled the requirement for HIPC funds, an amounts of ¢180 million and ¢205 million had been allocated to the two communities respectively as counterpart funds for their community water supply systems.

In April 2007, plaintiffs stated that they received information that Solomon Kwame Donkor had unilaterally directed the Community Water and Sanitation Agency to whom the said HIPC funds had been released as counterpart funds to divert the portion allocated to community for the use and benefit of another town.

However a letter was sent to the Minister of works and housing requesting that the said funds be released for use by the community.

A scheme of enquires concerning the said HIPC funds was embarked on and information obtained tended to confirm that the defendants were about to divert the funds.

They thus caused their lawyers to notify the defendants by two letters of their intention to institute legal action against the Defendants to restrain them from diverting the said HIPC funds but they were completely ignored.

The official report of the Parliament of Ghana captioned 'Parliamentary Debates' of Tuesday, July 10, 2007 confirmed in pages 1681 to l686 the facts of the said HIPC funds having been diverted.

Plaintiffs are therefore contending the irregularity of the diversion and the need to impose and enforce sanctions against persons responsible for the diversion since the defendants have refused to respond or react to their formal notices

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