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19.05.2006 General News

Drama at Ministries as bailiffs seize directors’ vehicles

By Graphic
Drama at Ministries as bailiffs seize directors’ vehicles

The action was taken following the ministry's defiance of an order by the Oda High Court that it should pay a total of 963.6 million cedis to nine farmers as compensation for the acquisition of their land and the destruction of their property at Akim Batabi, near Akim Oda in eastern Ghana.

Out of the seven vehicles seized, the bailiffs managed to drive away four.

According to the bailiffs, who were dispatched from Ada and Accra, they could not drive away the remaining three vehicles, which had also been marked with red tapes because some high-powered officials prevented them from doing so.

The bailiffs stated that they got to the ministry at about 7:30 am and waited till 8am when the directors started reporting for work in their official vehicles. They said they approached the directors and informed them of the court order and began to tie red tape on the windscreen wipers of the vehicles to signify that no one was supposed to go near those vehicles.

The impounded vehicles, which included three Nissan pick-ups and one Nissan Patrol, have since been sent to a valuer for valuation.

The government in 1983 acquired the land in question for a livestock project but refused to pay compensation to the landowners who lost their cocoa, avocado, oil palm, raffia, banana, pineapple and orange plantations in the process.

The landowners took their case to the Commission on Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) but claimed they did not get any response.

The landowners, who claimed that the persistent refusal of the government to pay compensation had caused them great hardship, accordingly filed a writ at the Akim Oda High Court against MOFA and the Land Valuation Board in March 2006.

They prayed the court to order the defendants to pay 513.622 million cedis being compensation for the destruction of their crops as well as order the payment of 450 million cedis being compensation in respect of the acquisition of their land by the state.

The plaintiffs further prayed the court to order the defendants to pay interest on the said amount from 1983 to date.

However, the defendants failed to file their defence, prompting counsel for the plaintiffs, Yaw Oppong to file a motion praying the court to enter judgment in default of appearance in favour of the plaintiffs.

The court presided over by Justice E.B.K. Agbloyor, entered judgment in default of appearance against the defendants and further awarded costs of 2 million cedis against the defendants.

The court then ordered the defendants to pay the plaintiffs an amount of 963.622 million cedis. Mr. Oppong served he defendants with the court order as was required by law, but that did not receive any response from the defendants.

The action of the defendants prompted counsel for the plaintiffs to execute the court order by involving bailiffs and the police, as the law required.

Mr. Oppong has also served notice that he would take the needed legal action against those who resisted the bailiffs.