Business News of 2014-07-20

Chirano Gold Mines compensation saga…

Concern Citizens Association of Sefwi (COCAS) has appointed a 14-member executive to continue with the legal action at an Accra Fast Track High Court in respect of payment of compensation by Chirano Gold Mines Limited.

The executive has been tasked by cocoa farmers, who were affected by the activities of the mining company, to pursue the matter to its logical conclusion. The group was inaugurated at a forum organised by COCAS and funded by Global Greengrants Fund (GGF)

The executive consists of Nana Freeman Ekow Aberkah, Chairman; Mr Kwasi Kobi, Vice Chairman; Mr Mathew Obiri Agyaako, Secretary; Mr Nicholas Benie, Vice Secretary; Nana Kwaku Kyem,Treasurer; Mr Nsiah Childwick , Vice Treasurer; and Mr Eric Nkansah, Organiser.

Others are Philip Nkrumah, Vice Organiser; Mrs Mary Alful, Women's Organiser; Agnes Benie (Mrs), Vice Women's Organiser; Mr Kwasi Akaah, 1st Patron; Mr Abraham Taah, 2nd Patron, Mr Yaw Darkwa; 3rd Patron; and Mr Nicholas Ennin, Co-ordinator.

The inauguration took place at forum, which discussed welfare matters of the affected communities. The communities are Chirano, Akoti, Etwebo and their respective environs within the Bibiani, Awiaso-Bekwai District of the Western Region.

The cocoa farmers claimed that their farms and properties were destroyed by Chirano Gold Mines in 2004 without compensation or under compensated; hence they took the case to court, where it has been lingering for the past ten years.

About 2,000 people were present at the event. These included traditional leaders, assembly members, the youth, pastors, farmers and members of the National Coalition on Mining (NCOM).

The forum discussed, among other issues, strategies for ensuring that the farmers and the property owners in the Chirano area got access to justice.

In a solidarity message, Mr Richard Adjei-Poku, a member of NCOM and Executive Director of Livelihoods and Environment, Ghana (LEG), encouraged COCAS members not to be intimidated by the actions of the company, because they have the constitutional right to come together as a group to protect their socio-economic and cultural interest as stipulated in Article 21(2) of the 1992 Constitution.

Mr Adjei-Poku indicated that taking Chirano Gold Mines to court was a laudable and bold decision by the COCAS and that the group's action had all the blessings of the Constitution as provided for under article 20 (2)(b) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 75 of the Minerals and Mining Act (Act703), 2006. LEG is an environmental, social and human rights advocacy not for profit and non-governmental organisation

Miss Esther Owusu Achiaa, a leading member of Tano Women's and Empowerment and Development Association (TWEDA), advised the elected members to be honest, transparent and accountable in all their dealings.

Source: Public Agenda
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