30 May 2012

Ghana: Stop Paying Compensation to Encroachers

Kumasi — THE CHAIRMAN of the Ghana Highway Authority Lands Committee/Task Force in Ashanti region, Nana Ninsin-Imbeah II, has suggested that the government puts an end to the payment of compensation to encroachers on government lands. He said the practice goes to encourage the rampant abuse of road reservations of the GHA.

Nana Ninsin-Imbeah, who is also the Ashanti regional Surveyor of the GHA, said in an interview while sharing his experience since he was appointed to head the GHA Lands Committee/Task Force recently, that even though those who are granted temporary permits are expected to be voluntarily evacuated during new road expansion and other construction projects, since they create a lot of problems for the GHA.

Last April, the Ashanti Regional Directorate of the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA) constituted a Regional Lands Committee/Task Force to check encroachment on road reservations by prospective developers. The three-member Task Force is headed by the Regional Surveyor, Nana Ninsin-Imbeah, with the GHA Regional Investigations Officer as member Secretary and the GHA Regional/Zonal Environmental Officer for Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions as a member.

The Task Force, with the active assistance of Municipal and District Assemblies, will clear all encroachers sited within the Road reservation as the continuous development of properties by prospective developers on road reservations on the main Kumasi-Accra road has been a source of worry to the GHA since 2009.

The Task Force, has since directed that all Municipal and District Chief executives along the Kumasi-Accra Highway not to issue permits for the siting of temporary structures within GHA's Road reservation of 45 metres or 150 feet, measured from the existing centre-line on both sides of the road.

Nana Ninsin-Imbeah stated that under the Ghana Highway Authority Act 540 section 40, sub-section (2) clause (b) it is only the Minister of Roads and Highways who may cause the "erection of structures on, near, over, or under trunk roads in the country."

The GHA official said in spite of this constitutional provision, some corrupt officials outside the GHA illegally grant permits for the erection of temporary structures which make government to pay billions of cedis as compensation to people or owners of such structures.

According to Nana Ninsin-Imbeah, those who are compensated in the actual sense do not vacate since they re-site their structures with the active connivance of those officials upon completion of road projects within the road reservation with the intent of receiving compensation from future expansion road projects.

Nana Ninsin-Imbeah, who expressed worry about the situation stated that it is heartbreaking to see a lot of temporary structures resurfacing along the Kumasi-Anyinam Road, considering the quantum of compensation paid during the expansion of that road.

The Task Force chairman has, therefore, stated that the Regional Directorate of the GHA would no longer entertain the granting of permits for the siting of temporal structures within its Road reservation.

He, however, reiterated a reminder by the GHA that there will be no claim for compensation in respect of properties developed on such road reservations because the GHA would not entertained such claims.

The GHA Task Force head said in cases of compensation, the GHA would take into consideration and apply the provision of State Lands Act 125 of 1962 with respect to affected properties.

Nana Ninsin-Imbeah praised the Atwima Kwawoma District Assembly for speedily halting the works of some encroachers on the Kumasi-Ahwia-Nkwanta Road particularly at Atwima Brofoyedru.

He also mentioned Mr. Ferguson Adika, the Development Control officer of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) who has moved by issuing letters to some encroachers on road reservation near the Mizpah School at Kentikrono near Kumasi, who have already been paid compensation during the expansion of Kumasi-Anyinam road to vacate.

Nana Ninsin-Imbeah also cautioned those who use earth moving machines to pile filing materials within road reservation embankments for sale to stop or face prosecution.

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