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05.07.2004 General News

NRC would hold last hearings next week - Amua-Sekyi

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Accra, July 5, GNA - The Chairman of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), Mr Justice Kweku Amua-Sekyi has confirmed that the Commission would hold its last hearings next week, Tuesday July 13, 2004.

The Chairman made the confirmation at the beginning of the 72nd week, the penultimate week of the Commission's hearings in Accra, which have so far taken 18 months since it began in January 2003.

Among the cases listed for this week's are a cross-examination on Tuesday of Ex-Corporal Mathew Adabuga, a key player in the coup that ushered in the December 31 1981 Revolution, by Mr Riad Hozaifeh, a friend of former President Jerry John Rawlings.

According to a list the Commission made available to newsmen on Monday, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, a Lawyer would cross-examine Mr Chris Asher Jnr, a Witness, on Wednesday. Brigadier General Wallace Gbedemah is also scheduled to appear, under a subpoena on Wednesday.

Naval Commander Baafour Assassie-Gyimah, former National Security Co-ordinator is scheduled to cross-examine Dr Mathew Narh Tetteh, an Industrial Scientist, who had said he used to be the head of Ghana's First President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah's Security Network.

Mrs Ruby Amstrong-Mensah, a Witness, testifying on behalf of her late husband, Dr K. O. Amstrong-Mensah, prayed the Commission to recommend an exoneration of her husband from an allegation of fraud levelled against him by the then National Investigations Committee, in 1989.

Dr Amstrong-Mensah, former Managing Director of Takoradi Veneer and Lumber Company Limited (TVLC) and Mim Timber Company (MTC), had filed a petition, but died last year.

He also sought a restoration of his status and benefits, a refund of 8,000 pounds the NIC made him to pay under duress to the Bank of Ghana, his benefits at the TVLC and TMC, and a reasonable compensation for his losses.

Mrs Amstrong-Mensah, who appeared with a Counsel, Mr Ebo Quarshie, told the Commission that, after many invitations to the NIC since 1985, the then Head of the Criminal Investigations Department picked her husband from their Takoradi residence on December 28, 1988, on what the CID Head said was an order from the then Inspector General of Police. Mr Amstrong was driven in a Police vehicle and detained for nine weeks without any charge at the Police Information Room at the Police Headquarters, in Accra.

Witness said her husband intimated that the then Inspector General of Police had said that he was under instruction to keep him. She said she approached Dr (Mrs) Mary Grant, a relation who was also a Member of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), over her husband's detention.

Dr Grant later told her that the PNDC Chairman, Former President Jerry John Rawlings, did not know anything about the detention. Mrs Amstrong-Mensah said she later learned that her husband had been arrested and detained on the orders of Nii Okaija Adamafio, then Secretary of The Interior.

Mrs Amstrong-Mensah said that after the nine weeks detention, her husband appeared before the NIC, queried about his business associations with one Naja David and charged with assisting foreign nationals to dupe Ghana, unlawfully acquiring property to the tune of 8,000 pounds and inefficiency.

He obliged to an order to pay an amount of 8,000 pounds to the Bank of Ghana, but Witness could not state emphatically whether the amount was paid into Account Number 8 or 48 when a Commissioner, Bishop Charles Palmer Buckle wanted to know the account number, into which the money was paid.

Witness named Mr Emmanuel Acheampong as the Chairman of the NIC and Mr Larry Adjetey as Member when her husband appeared before it. Mrs Amstrong Mensah said her husband was later dismissed and ejected from the accommodation he was occupying.

His total benefits for 13 years at both the MTC and TVLC were also not paid.

Witness, a Nutritionist, broke down as she narrated the story. She said her husband after his detention, was diagnosed as having developed cancer, which eventually took him away. General Emmanuel Erskine, a Member of the Commission, in a remark said it took time to build a very good name and it was unfortunate to have it shattered.

Mr Ahosano David Amos, another Witness, from Lashibi, said the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) pulled down a four-bedroom house belonging to his sister and another house, which was at the lintel level, in 1988 on a piece of land, measuring 26.2 hectares at Lashibi.

Witness said their Grandfather, Narh Dagadu, acquired the land from the Nungua Stool in 1920, but in 1988, the TDC claimed that portion of land, on which the buildings stood was earmarked for a TDC layout.

He said the demolition was carried out just a day after they were served notice, which prevented them from evacuating their property. A number of attempts to seek redress from TDC through one Nii Ayi Bonte and one Lt Col Tukpah and the Ministry of Works and Housing were fruitless.