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16.12.2005 Regional News

Chiefs complain about disbursement of royalties

Chiefs complain about disbursement of royalties
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Sunyani (B/A), Dec. 16, GNA - The Brong-Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs has threatened to send the Forestry Commission to court for full interpretation of the way and manner royalties for the Houses nation-wide were paid with regards to the administration of the stool land.

The chiefs, did not see why, for instance as much as 60 percent being the chunk of the total accrued royalties should go to Forestry Commission while only the remaining 40 percent were to be shared amongst the chiefs, the Metropolitan, Municipal, or District Assemblies in their Stool Land areas.

These sentiments were expressed at an end-of-year meeting of the House in Sunyani on Friday.

Osagyefo Oseeadeyo Agyeman Badu II, Omanhene of Dormaa Traditional Area, was the first to raise the issue about the low percentage payment of administration of stool land royalties and was supported by Nana Kwaku Aterkyi, Omanhene of Kukuom and Okatakyie Agyeman Kudom VI, Nkoranzahene and President of the House.

The House eventually ended the royalty discussion by saying that it would first consult the Attorney General Department for necessary legal advice on the issue early next year.

If the case was sent to Supreme Court and its determination came in our favour we would make sure that all arrears due to the House were paid, the chiefs said.

In a welcoming address Okatakyie Agyeman Kudom announced that the number of chieftaincy disputes in the region had rather increased from 49, as at the last meeting of the House, to 53.

He gave a breakdown as 38 Petitions filed at the House of Chiefs and 15 Appeals from the Traditional Councils in the region and blamed the delay in the adjudication of the cases on the lack of a Counsel or Lawyer.

Okatakyie Agyeman-Kudom however said that the House had, by a letter, appealed to the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General appealing to him to recommend the Principal State Attorney in the Region to assist the Judicial Committee of the House in the determination of the pending cases so as to " prevent violence and chaos in the affected areas."

He added that a Lawyer had applied for appointment as Counsel to the House and had even attended an interview in Accra and expressed the hope that the Attorney-General would recommend the applicant for appointment by the House to facilitate the adjudication of the pending Chieftaincy cases.

Okatakyie Agyeman-Kudom expressed displeasure about the reaction of the media on matters concerning chieftaincy in the region, stressing that the observation of House revealed that a section of the media often reported matters involving chiefs in the region without contacting the chiefs concerned to cross-check the real facts of the matter. "It has to be noted that this behaviour often causes chaos and violence which disrupt the peaceful atmosphere in many traditional areas and retards progress and development", Okatakyie Agyeman-Kudom said. He appealed to the media to be very circumspect in their reportage in matters concerning Chieftaincy in the region.

On behalf of the chiefs, the President of the Regional House of Chiefs thanked the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) for releasing five million cedis to support the painting of the new office building of the House.

He said the completion of the office building had been at a stand still for some years now and appealed to the Regional Minister to assist and secure funds for its completion and commissioning of the project. In an address, the Regional Minister, Nana Kwadwo Seinti urged the chiefs to use the meeting to do a thorough appraisal of their activities to see where they did well and where they faulted.

Each individual chief should also use the occasion to evaluate his stewardship to his traditional area to determine whether his subjects lived better off than they were last year and the way forward for his people.

Nana Seinti said his request for chiefs to look back at their activities of the year under perspective was in relation to the perennial chieftaincy problems that had bedevilled the region to the extent of bringing development in certain communities to a standstill. He appealed to the House to persuade the feuding parties in the disputed areas to make concessions and have them resolved early in the interest of peace and development of the region.