General News of 2013-12-13

Chief, Lawyer Battle Over GH¢988,000 Judgement Debt

One time Head of Bentiamina Clan of Buem Traditional Area in the Jasikan District of the Volta Region, Nana Sankrakye Attah and lawyer for the family, Seth Mensah Dumoga, are in sharp disagreements over GH¢988,000 judgement debt claim.
Lawyer Domuga, who is currently the Director of Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Food & Agriculture, had supposedly received a power of attorney from Nana Attah to handle a case in which the Bentiamina family had claimed GH¢42,000.00 judgement debt in 2008 against the state because of non-payment of compensation for a land that government had compulsorily acquired for Jasikan District Assembly in the 1990s.
It was this amount that accrued interest and increased to the GH¢988,000.00 in 2012.
However, Nana Attah was said to have contested the lawyer’s claim on the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) radio, protesting he never issued any power of attorney in the matter.
Consequently, lawyer Dumoga was yesterday subpoenaed by Justice Yaw Apau, the sole commissioner investigating judgement debts and compensation payments to institutions and individuals, to speak on the controversy.
Responding to questions from the sole commissioner and his counsel, Kofi Dometi Sokpor, lawyer Dumoga reiterated he indeed had a power of attorney from Nana Atta to pursue the case in court.
According to him, Nana Attah was dethroned as the head of the Bentiamina family after issuing the power of attorney and this may have explained his protest.
Lawyer Dumoga told the judgement debt commission that the new chief who took over from Nana Attah also issued a fresh power of attorney to pursue the same case in court.
However, he said the family members met and decided that the previous power of attorney should hold because the case was already ongoing.
He said all the members, including Nana Attah, agreed to this decision and that he did not understand why the erstwhile head of the family was now protesting.
Meanwhile, Nana Attah has been invited by the commission to give his side of the story.
Commenting on the issue, Justice Apau indicated his commission could verify the lawyer’s claim as there was no documentary evidence to support those assertions.
Justice Apau, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting as the sole commissioner, said he did not understand why Nana Attah would be on radio protesting he did not issue any power of attorney, if he actually did so.
Even though he acknowledged that the Bentiamina family was entitled to compensation for their land, he questioned how a judgement debt of GH¢42,000.00 awarded in 2008, increased to GH¢988,000.00 in 2012.