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16.07.2004 General News

Govt To Return Confiscated Assets

The government of Ghana has listed one hundred assets belonging to individuals, which had been confiscated since 1957 to be returned to their original owners.

The disconfiscation of the assets is a process intended to restore to the rightful owners properties, which were seized, by the state.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Paapa Owusu-Ankomah, who disclosed this in an interview yesterday, said the number of assets the government intended to return to their original owners had been categorised into four groups.

Mr Owusu-Ankomah explained that the first category comprised assets whose disconfiscation would not lead to any significant legal problems.

The second category consisted of confiscated property currently being occupied by state agents.

All assets relating to companies and shares in companies were under the third category, while the fourth category comprised assets confiscated by the Tema Development Corporation and the State Housing Corporation under government directive.

Mr Owusu Ankomah said although the government was committed to restoring such assets to their rightful owners, “in taking that decision, the government was not prepared to bear any financial expenses”.

He added that in as much as the government would not like to bear any cost in the disconfiscation process, it would not be “completely insensitive to the concerns that led to the confiscation of the assets”.

When pressed to give a definite date that the disconfiscation would be completed, he declined, saying, “I cannot give a definite date when this process will be completed but it will surely be”.

It was reported last week that the Government of Ghana had taken steps to restore formal relations with Madam Helena Ritz Fathia Nkrumah, the wife of Ghana's first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who left the country 22 years ago.

The former first lady, now in her 60s, left the country after the December 31, 1981 coup, to stay in her native country, Egypt.

The government also decided to restore her diplomatic status by giving her a new diplomatic passport, which was being processed. The old one was withdrawn by the previous administration.

In addition, the government had refurbished a house at Labone in Accra, which she occupied in 1976 and would soon hand it over to her and her family.

This was in line with the government's pledge to restore all assets of former Heads of State and to take good care of their surviving wives.

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