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05.08.2005 Regional News

Ashanti Region Lands Commission pulls out of land dispute


Kumasi, Aug 05, GNA - The Ashanti Region Lands Commission has decided to pull out of the land dispute between the Zone Eight branch of the Ghana National Association of Garages (GNAG) and Top Martins Gas. Mr Kwame Boafo, Chairman of the Regional Lands Commission, told the find a solution to the problem.

He said trouble erupted outside the office of the Commission between Nana Agyei Jantuah, who hails from the Tafo stool house, and the mechanics.

The mechanics accuse Nana Jantuah of selling the land they occupy to Top Martins Gas.

Mr Boafo said Nana Jantuah was alleged to have pulled out a gun that brought in the police who whisked him away. The mechanics had threatened that they would resist efforts to dislodge them from the land, accusing the Regional Lands Commission of taking sides.

Mr Joseph Yeboah, Zonal Chairman and Akoapa Kyeremeh, an executive member of the zonal branch of the association, said the mechanics occupied the place in 1980 with the blessing of the then Tafohene, Nana Boadum Kwadwo.

They said when the present Tafohene, Nana Adjin Frimpong was enstooled, they paid homage to him and had lived peacefully with him ever since.

About one-and-half years ago, they received a letter from Owusu Bempah Chambers on March 3, 2004, asking them to quit the land since it belonged to Top Martins Gas.

The executive said they brought this to the attention of the Asantehene who delegated his Land Secretariat to see what could be done and the secretariat recommended that the issue be handled carefully in view of the number of people occupying the land.

The executive said given the number of years the mechanics had occupied the land, they were qualified to own it and asked the Lands Commission to desist from ejecting.

They warned the Lands Commission not to get involved in the matter so as to avert a bloody confrontation.

Mr Boafo said the land in question was a government-acquired land and that the mechanics were encroachers.

He said Top Martins Gas brought a complaint that a group of people had encroached upon its land and so the commission invited the mechanics to produce any document to show that the land belonged to them. Mr Boafo said since the mechanics could not produce any document, the commission educated them on steps they could take to apply for the land, having occupied it for such a long time.

They would pay a penalty for entering government land after which they would apply for it but this did not go down well with the mechanics. ''Wednesday's meeting was called to settle the matter amicably it ended in confusion.''

Mr Boafo said the Lands Commission was not taking the land away from the mechanics and that the land was given to Top Martins Gas in 2001.