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26.03.2004 Regional News

Hearings at NRC continues

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Sunyani (B/A) March 26, GNA - The children of the late Nana Baffour Twene, a sawmiller and former Krontihene of Abesim, near Sunyani in Brong-Ahafo on Friday appealed to the National Reconciliation Commission to assist them to obtain part of their father's property confiscated during the PNDC regime.

Collins Baffour Yeboah, 35, one of the late sawmiller's 16 children made the appeal when he testified at the Commission's sitting in Sunyani on behalf of his uncle, Opanin Kwame Ansu, the original petitioner who could not appear due to ill-health.

Mr. Yeboah said his late father was the owner of Abesim Sawmill, situated on the Sunyani-Kumasi main road but was sold to Mr. Maxwell Oti Yeboah after his father's arrest, prosecution and execution in 1988 for murdering a woman who lived at Nkrankrom, near the sawmill.

Witness who said he was his father's personal driver recalled that at about 4 pm one day in 1988, he was with his father in the office at the sawmill when some of the bush workers came in to inform him (father) that they had found a woman killed in their area of operation. He said a week later one Mr. Gyina Tawiah, then Regional Crime Officer came to the sawmill in the company of some other security personnel and searched the sawmill looking for human spare-parts. Mr. Yeboah said after a three-hour search they found nothing so left without arresting anybody.

He said on another occasion, police brought one Yaa Konamah and asked my father to assemble all the timber drivers working at the sawmill, but most of them had left for the bush. Witness said later he and his father went to the office of the Crime Officer, who revealed to them that police had received series of letters alleging malfeasance against them so they were arrested and later his mother and some of the labourers.

Mr. Yeboah said he and his father were detained at Nsoatre police cells for two weeks but were later released on police bail and asked to report for two months.

He said his father, mother and the labourers were later arraigned before the public tribunal in Sunyani where they were found guilty and his father and the labourers were sentenced to death. His mother was given life imprisonment but died after spending 12 years in jail.

Witness said his father's sawmill and house were confiscated to the state.

Mr. Yeboah added that before his father and the labourers were executed by firing squad, the family appealed against the tribunal's ruling but the case was never heard.

The family later learnt that the father took a loan from the National Investment Bank (NIB) to support the sawmill and other businesses so when he was executed without paying back the loan the bank sold the sawmill to Mr. Oti-Yeboah, witness said.

He said he did not understand why his father's house was also given to Mr. Oti-Yeboah so he appealed to the Commission to delve into the matter to enable the children to have part of the father's property. Mr. Christian Appiah Agyei, member of the Commission then drew witness' attention to their original petition signed by Opanin Ansu regarding an alleged confiscation of a plot of land near the Sunyani Post Office belonging to his father, a portion of which had been taken by one Mr. Antoh, former chairman of NDC and which witness did not say anything when testifying before the Commission.

Witness replied that the family learnt that that plot of land was among the confiscated items by the Confiscated Assets Committee and said he suspected that Mr. Antoh might have used his influence as the NDC chairman to obtain the plot.

Mr. Yeboah appealed to the Commission to look into the matter and let the family regain the land.

The Chairman of the Commission Mr. Justice Amua-Sekyi advised witness to consult his father's successor and let the Commission get copies of relevant documents from the NIB and the letters for the appeal from their lawyer, Mr. Kofi Gyamerah. Another witness Mr. Yaw Anning Boateng, a native of Wenchi but now working with the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) in Sunyani also complained about how soldiers ransacked his suiting materials store in Sunyani in 1976.

He said he managed to start business again with the money left on him but his plight was worsened by the 1979 uprising when a government decree froze all individual bank accounts with more than 50,000 cedis. Witness said although the then Government assured account owners that their monies would be paid to them that had not happened.

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