‘No Compensation For Trade Fair Land’

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Trade Fair Company (GTFC) Limited, Dr Ebenezer Erasmus Koney, yesterday stunned the Commission on Judgement Debt when he said successive governments had not paid any compensation for the acquisition of the Trade Fair land at La in Accra since 1962. He told the commission that the Nkrumah government acquired the 127-acres from the Nmati Abonase Quarter at La for the construction of structures for the Trade Fair centre. He said some people who had bought portions of the land from the Nmati Abonase Quarter before the state acquisition had joined the Nmati Abonase Quarter to demand compensation from the state. Dr Koney said the land was valued at 4,000 pounds in 1962 but after its revaluation in 2005, the value shot up to GH˘21 million and then to GH˘37 million when it was valued again in 2010. He told the commission that pressure from the Nmati Abonase Quarter and the other claimants with respect to their compensation was the cause of an ailment which had confined him to a wheelchair. “They have been bombarding me. That is why I am sick. The pressure is too much,” he said. Moved by Dr Koney’s situation and the difficult state of the GTFC, the Sole Commissioner, Mr Justice Yaw Apau, promised that the commission would bring the issue to the attention of the government. Excited by that assurance, Dr Koney said, “As soon as we see something, I will get well.” Cause of delay Dr Koney said the Nkrumah government had started developing structures on the site for the GTFC when it was overthrown by the National Liberation Council (NLC) in 1966, noting that the NLC stopped work on the project. He said despite persistent demands for compensation by the Nmati Abonase Quarter and the other claimants, successive governments had failed to effect payments. He recalled that the Lands Commission intervened and convened a series of meetings with the GTFC and the claimants, during which decisions were taken to pay the compensation, but the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning failed to pay the money to the claimants, in spite of several assurances. He contended that the delay in compensation payment had made it difficult for the GTFC to develop further. Portions of land lying idle Dr Koney told the commission that the Lands Commission, by a letter dated November 8, 2010, had directed the GTFC to release portions of the land to the African Lake, a private company. He said that portion had been lying idle since, while the buildings on it had also deteriorated, adding that African Lake had not paid for the land. He said efforts by the GTFC to take back the land had not been successful. Sole Commissioner Justice Apau explained that the laws of the land required that compensation be paid for lands acquired by the state. He, therefore, wondered why the Trade Fair land was revalued on two occasions if the state was not ready to pay compensation.