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Regional News of Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Source: GNA

RCC issued white paper on the Odugblase limestone deposit

Koforidua, July 15, GNA-The Eastern Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC), has issued a white paper on the recommendations of the fact finding committee that enquired into the dispute over the rightful traditional authority over the limestone deposit at Odugblase in the Krobo area.

Reading the white paper to members of the Yilo and Manya Krobo Traditional Councils and the press in Koforidua on Monday, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Afram Asiedu said the RCC uphold the recommendation of the committee that no exclusive traditional authority could be established over Odugblase where Ghana Cement Works (GHACEM) is currently mining the limestone.

This was because the committee established that at one time or the other, both the Yilo and Manya Traditional Councils had exercised traditional authority over the Odugblase lands.

The white paper therefore, uphold the recommendation of the committee that, the two traditional authorities should exercise authority at Odugblase, with the Yilo Krobo Traditional Council controlling the Yilo in the area while the Manya Krobo Traditional Council also controls the Manya Krobo settlers in the area. The white paper also accepted the recommendation of the committee that since the landlords of the lands, which fall under the GHACEM concession; includes 33 Manya Krobo landlords and 15 Yilo Krobo Landlords, royalties accruing from the concession should be shared proportionally to the landlords from each traditional area. That the Manya Krobo Traditional area should be given 68.75 per cent representing the 33 landlords, while Yilo Krobo Traditional area receive 31.25 per cent representing the 15 Yilo Krobo landlords.

The whitepaper recommended that the joint accounts currently held at the Koforidua branch of the Ghana Commercial Bank be accessed and the proceeds shared equally between the two traditional authorities. Reacting to the recommendations of the white paper, the Kono of Yilo Krobo Traditional Area, Nene Narh Dawutey Ologo, VI, said the fact finding committee was established primarily to establish the traditional authority, which have jurisdiction over the Odugblase land. He said the recommendations of the committee indicated that, the committee had failed to establish the rightful traditional authority over the area concern.

Nene Ologo said the Yilo Krobo Traditional Council would consult with their lawyers for them to refer the issue to the appropriate authority, to establish the rightful traditional authority over Odugblase and informed the RCC of their final decision. He however assured that the Traditional Council would not go to war with their brothers in Manya Krobo over the issue.

Okpatakpla Sasraku , IV, acting President of the Manya Krobo Traditional Council said the Council would study the report carefully before making a statement on it.

In 2005, following the granting of concession to GHACEM for the mining of limestone at Odugblase in the Krobo area, there arose a dispute over the rightful traditional council that has jurisdiction over the area.

The Regional Minister then, Mr Yaw Barimah in consultation with the RCC set up a fact finding committee to go into the dispute, to establish the traditional council that has jurisdiction over the area, determine the formula for the sharing of land royalties accruing from the concession, and deal with any other matters that would bring long lasting peace in the area.

The committee completed its work and submitted the report to the RCC in 2006, but it was recently that the RCC white paper on the issue came out. 15 July 08