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18.08.2004 General News

Immigrants From Libya Cry Foul

By Chronicle

A group of Ghanaian immigrants who were deported from Libya four years ago are crying foul over the government's delay in refunding monies they deposited with the Ghana Embassy in Tripoli.

The immigrants, who were being hustled by the Libyan authorities, deposited their hard-earned dollars with the Ghana Mission for 'safe keeping'.

The embassy was later alleged to have been burgled and 30% of the monies deposited stolen in June 2000, an allegation which has been persistently challenged by the deportees.

Although the Attorney General's Department has since recommended that the Foreign Affairs Ministry write to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for the refund of the monies to the victims, none of them had been paid anything.

They said life has continued to be very difficult for them, as many of them have been thrown out of their homes either by their relatives or landlords.

"It is the money some of us are waiting for to start our businesses. Right now most of our family members and landlords have rejected us and thrown us out," Mr. Godfred Akorabo, one of the deportees said.

Mr. Akorabo said it was difficult to say where the delay was coming from because the Attorney General's Department said it had since advised the Foreign Affairs Ministry to refund the monies and had even suggested a mode for compensating them.

The amount to be refunded by the Government was fixed at 50% of the total loss.

The Chronicle gathered that it was recommended that Government set aside $247,017.50 for the refund of the amount so far covered by receipts, totaling $485,035.

The $485.035 was to be shared between the Government and the victims.

Only victims with genuine receipts were to be compensated.

In addition, Government was to set aside another $300,000 for other victims who may show up with receipts later.

But the victims said nothing had happened and for the past four years they had been waiting.

Attempt by The Chronicle to contact the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minster or the Head of the Legal Department of the Foreign Ministry, Mr. Konadu Yandom proved futile.

But in an interview earlier this year, the Deputy Minster, Mr. Akwasi Osei-Adjei gave an assurance that efforts were being made to compensate the victims.

He said the ministry had already included that in its budget, which had been approved and all was set to compensate the victims soon.

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