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07.02.2006 General News

Chief Dupes Gov't ¢1.5 Billion

By Dominic Jale & Amponsah Boakye (The Sun)

EVIDENCE available to THE SUN indicates that Alrotech Ltd, in collaboration with Dzaasetse of Bortianor Nii Akortey IV have succeeded in defrauding government with a whopping ¢1.5billion under the pretext of selling land to the government for an estate project.

The paper learnt that Alrotech Ltd, somewhere in late 1990s presented itself as the owners of huge portion of land at Dunkona (Bortianor) and successfully sold the land to the then Ministry of Works and Housing even though the company has not a single plot of land at the said area.

So far the government has made part payment of ¢1.5 billion to the ALROTECH Ltd., The Sun has learnt.

This latest development about Alortech has raised a lot of question marks about its credibility and how the elders of Bortianor, the indigenous owners of the land were kept in the dark in the transaction.

The Sun gathered that as part of the decision by the then NDC government to put up low-cost estates for workers in late 1990s, Alrotech Ltd. approached the government to sell 169 acres of land at Bortianor to the then Minister of Works and Housing.

Throughout the transaction, The Sun learnt that Alrotech Ltd created an impression that it has acquired the land from the Bortianor Stool for estate development and was therefore reselling it to the government.

After the successful transaction, the NDC government could not arrange for an immediate payment until January 4, 2001, three days to the handing over of power to the NPP government when a letter per number B150/1/2001/HYRO, was dispatched by the former Minister of Finance, Mr. Kwame Peprah, directing the Controller and Accountant-General to make a part-payment of ¢1.5 billion to Alrotech Ltd.

The Accountant-General obliged by the instruction and made payment from Public Account No. 100-010-033-413-00 to Alrotech Ltd.

As The Sun dig deep into the issue to find out the real faces behind the Alrotech Ltd it emerged from the Registrar General's Department that Dzaasetse of Bortianor, Nii Akotey IV, used his private name William Ericson Mensah together with Alex Anane Darko, Roland Albert Tetteh and Issac Amartey Ashietey to form the Alrotech Ltd and used to sell the people's land without the knowledge of the elders and people of Bortianor.

The paper gathered that since that incidence Bortianor has known no peace as claims and counter claims were made against the sale of the land. Until recently when efforts were made by the government towards the development of the land that the residence realized that indeed somebody had played smart on them and had succeeded in selling their land.

Early 2003, Nii Kommey Otsi Ata IV who could not f athom as to how the land could mischievously be sold out, dragged Nii Akortey IV and Alrotech Ltd to Fast Track High court over the sales of the land. His contention was that in 1978, by Statutory Declaration with registration No. 5/19/78, Nii Kwei Arku II then the Bortianor Mantse, registered Bortianor Stool Lands under Statutory declaration Act 1971. The declaration was emphatically cleared and described the land as Bortianor Stool Land which can validly be alienated by the occupant of the stool together with his elders and councilors. When all was set in court to expose the faceless people behind the Alrotech, the paper learnt that Nii Akortey IV sought refuge in the James Town Mantse, Oblempon Nii Kojo Ababio V to intervene for out of court settlement. With his intervention a consent settlement was entered and forwarded to court in June, 2004 without the knowledge of the government.

The settlement has therefore transferred the land back to the stool, raising a lot of questions about the payment by the government to Alrotech Ltd. When The Sun contacted Nii Akortey in December last year he admitted that he used his private name to form Alrotech. He said he did that to safeguard the interest of Bortianor but not to defraud the stool or the government. He told this reporter that upon the consent judgement the Lands Commission had been notified accordingly.

When asked whether the government has been informed about the development, Nii said the Ministry has not been informed and there was no need to that effect. He told The Sun that the payment made by the government was distributed among the youth of the town and that Alrotech Ltd did not benefit a damn from the deal.

MINISTRY'S REACTION

A director of the Ministry, Alhaji A. Dawuni, said the Ministry is not aware of development, however there was clear indication that there was no problem on the land.

He said recently there was a meeting between the Ministry and some chiefs from Bortianor where it was agreed that the land would be protected for the government. “Since the Land Commission is involved in the deal we have no problem,” he said.

More details next week.

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