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29.09.2005 General News

Chief Demands ¢4.5bn From Anglogold

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI is faced with the payment of a grand total of ¢4.5 billion as compensation for damages caused to Ayanfuri stool lands from its mining operations.

It is for damages for trespassing on Ayanfuri Stool lands and polluting the Asua, Subin and Danyame streams, as well as for the destruction of surface soil of the land, economic trees, game, sacred groves and rent.

Odeneho Kwasi Peprah, chief of Ayanfuri in the Central region, is making the demand as part of proposed terms for settlement out of court of a case pending before the Cape Coast High Coast since 1998.

In a correspondence to Mr. Danie Spies, the Managing Director of Anglogold, the Ayanfuri chief, who is the plaintiff in the case, has suggested also that Anglogold undertakes the reclamation and proper decommissioning before handing over the disputed land and buildings to the Ayanfuri Stool.

In February last year, a Cape Coast High Court, with Mr. Justice E. M. Boateng presiding, allowed settlement of a dispute at the instance of the plaintiff chief and Anglogold.

Nana Peprah had since August 17, 1998, sued Anglogold for damages for trespassing on Ayanfuri Stool Lands, destruction of economic trees and food crops in addition to pollution of local streams.

He sought also an order of perpetual injunction restraining Anglogold from its unlawful acts in connection with stool lands because the said activities were causing great hardships to the people.

The chief claimed that in 1996, Anglogold unlawfully occupied the Ayanfuri Stool building at Bokitiso and further encroached on a portion of the said stool land, polluting three local streams in the course of their operations.

The claims by the chief are premised on the fact that, Anglogold had not entered into any agreement with the Ayanfuri Stool for submission to the Minerals Commission for processing and final certification by the Lands Commission, in accordance with Article 267(3) of the 1992 Constitution.

The chief said even though Anglogold ceased operation on Ayanfuri stool lands, the 13 pits created were left unattended, as a result of which seven lives had been claimed.

According to the aggrieved chief, Anglogold had since April, last year, not reacted to the proposed terms of settlement and he would not hesitate to go back to court to press for his claims.

Meanwhile, Nana Peprah has described as false, the claim by Anglogold, as contained in its fourth quarter of the 2004 edition of the Anglogold Ashanti West Africa newsletter, that the company had committed $5.4 million to the rehabilitation and transformation of the mined out areas in Ayanfuri into useful productive lands for agriculture as an alternative livelihood for the people.

He said the reclamation and decommissioning of the mined out areas at Ayanfuri formed part of the proposed settlement and that Anglogold could not claim to have committed any monies to the rehabilitation of the said lands because the defendant company was yet to respond to the proposed terms of settlement.

"The publication is not true,"the chief said in rage, emphasizing that it was meant to throw dust in the eyes of the public.