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18.07.2002 Disaster

Disbursement of stadium disaster fund starts

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THE government has begun the disbursement of proceeds of the Stadium Disaster Relief Fund to relatives of the 126 soccer fans who lost their lives during the May 9 stadium tragedy.

The family of each of the victim will receive ¢10 million out of the ¢3.6 billion that has accrued to the fund.

The Conference Room of the Ministry of Information where the exercise began yesterday was filled to capacity with relatives of the deceased and surviving victims of the tragedy.

At 11.30 a.m., eight people had gone through the screening process to collect their cheques.

Some people claiming to be members of the May 9 Accra Sports Stadium Disaster Association, however, said they were not ready to take theirs because the exercise has been shrouded in secrecy.

The Chairman of the Stadium Disaster Relief Fund Management Committee, Mr J.S. Addo, said it has been possible to identify representatives of 114 out of the 126 victims and cheques have been prepared for them.

He said cheques were not issued to the representatives of six victims who have not completed the screening exercise, adding that the committee did not receive any representation from six other victims.

He indicated that until the identification of the relatives of the 12 victims are established, it will be difficult to pay anything to them.

He, however, said arrangements have been made for those who did not complete the screening exercise to do so, and urged them to report at the offices of the Greater Accra Regional Co-ordinating Council to be screened.

Mr Addo said records indicate that there are 124 surviving children and each of them will be paid ¢1 million while the government has directed the Ghana Education Service (GES) to use part of the fund to operate a scholarship scheme to cater for their education from pre-school to the tertiary level.

According to the chairman, the payments of the ex-gratia award to the relatives of the deceased and compensation to those injured as well as children of the deceased are is estimated at ¢1.6 billion.

He said the remaining ¢2 billion and any other subsequent donation to the fund, will be invested at the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to cater for the surviving children. A statement of account as at July 3, 2002 released from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) indicates that a total of ¢1,119,000,000. was invested in Treasury Bills from May 20 to August 19, 2002 while another ¢2,373,150,000 was also invested in Treasury Bills from June 3, to September 2, 2002.

He said those who are not survived by any children will not benefit from this facility.

During question time, some of the relatives of the victims said the ¢1 million being paid to each of the surviving children is inadequate and appealed to the government to take a second look at it.

Ms Sakinatu Suka-Braimah, Secretary of the Stadium Disaster Association, expressed concern about the security of the ¢2 billion which is to be used in catering for the education of the surviving children, and the chairman of the committee explained that the money is invested at the BoG which is a reputable institution.

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