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24.06.2004 General News

Ministry is concerned about payment of compensation- Addo-Kufuor

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Accra, June 24, GNA - Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Minister of Defence on Thursday told Parliament that the non-payment of compensation for lands acquired by the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) had become a source of concern to the Ministry.

He said there was the need for a comprehensive approach to be taken to resolve the problems associated with the acquisition of lands for the military in particular and government lands in general.

Dr Addo-Kufuor was answering questions from Members in Parliament. Mr Kofi Attor, NDC-Ho Central, asked the Minister when the Ministry would pay compensation to landowners in Ho whose lands were acquired for the construction of the 66 Artillery Regiment.

The Minister said the cumulative compensations due on all military lands in the country now amounted to 75 billion cedis, adding; "this obviously cannot be met from the Ministry's budgetary resources." Dr Addo-Kufuor explained that in November 1999, an application was made by the then Ministry of Lands and Forestry for 1,866,000,000 cedis to pay for the compensation of the 110 hectares the Military acquired in Ho in the Volta Region.

"However, due to numerous counter claims for compensation on the same land, the Land Valuation Board (LVB) referred the matter to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for the determination of the rightful owners.

"The ownership issue was resolved in 1999 at the time when a directive had already been issued by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to the effect that Ministries, Departments and Agencies should meet such land compensation payments from their annual budgets."

The Minister said as a result of budgetary constraints, the Ministry of Defence had not been able to contain, within its annual estimates, the huge amounts needed for land compensations, which had accrued since the time of the First Republic.

He said, however, that the Ministry was still negotiating with the Ministry of Finance for some payment of compensations to be made to the landowners.

Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Health was also in the House to answer questions concerning upgrading and construction of health centres in the country.

He said it was the Ministry of Health's policy to provide a full-fledged hospital in each district, adding that where there was a mission or quasi-government hospital it was designated as such.