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Various trading groups and associations at the Kejetia Lorry Terminal in Kumasi are threatening to drag the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to court if it goes ahead to evacuate them without compensation.

The impasse between the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and the various trader associations would simply not be wished away, as intervention by the Asanteman Standing Committee to resolve it has suffered a deadlock.

The traders have announced their intention to go back to court on October 19, in total disregard to moves by the Asanteman Standing Committee, chaired by the Mamponghene, Daasebre Osei Bonsu II to settle the case out of court.

Daasebre Osei Bonsu, on behalf of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, urged the litigants to withdraw the case from court for an amicable settlement. The parties were to resort to the terms of relocation while the Asanteman Council mediates and serves as guarantors to champion the interest of both parties.

The Chronicle has gathered that another meeting has been scheduled for today and that in spite of previous meetings towards a peaceful and a lasting solution, misunderstanding between the two parties over compensation still persists.

The traders want to pursue the matter in court because the issue of compensation has not been properly dealt with by the KMA, which has undertaken a valuation exercise at Kejetia and valued over 849 shops.

Mr. Kwabena Obeng, Chairman of Kejetia Traders Association indicated that the KMA was not committed to the moves by the Asanteman Council to resolve the issue hence their resolve to go back to court. He said the KMA is bent on evacuating them without reaching any firm decision on compensation hence the decision to go back to court.

The traders are demanding a proper documentation and contract to assure them of their fair portion of the area after the redevelopment explaining their position in the fact that KMA officials sidelined them in any decision regarding the redevelopment of the Kejetia project which has been approved by Parliament.

He said the KMA wants the traders to sign an undertaken to compel them to accept whatever amount the Assembly will offer them as compensation even though specific amount for compensation has not been disclosed to the traders involved.

The chairman also complained that some of their structures are being pulled down and that KMA had asked the affected traders to remove all valuable materials from the area meaning the KMA was bent on moving them at all cost without recourse to legalities.

According to him, the affected traders who are to be relocated at Achamfuo shops and Royal market are now in a fix because all the shops are not ready for occupation. Chairman Obeng also explained that there are other firms who operate at Kejetia on the strength of agreements entered into with the KMA yet notwithstanding such agreements KMA insists they move without respecting the terms of the agreement.

He said the position of KMA is unfair and unacceptable and a breach of an existing agreement with some of the traders. The trade chairman urged the KMA to adequately exhaust negotiations to avoid unwarranted gargantuan judgment debt in the future.

According to him, he is aware some of the firms are bent on engaging the KMA in a legal tussle if it continues to adopt the bullish tactics and have its way by demolishing and destroying structures and property without regard to existing agreements. Meanwhile, Mr. Godwin Okumah Nyame, the Public Relation Officer of KMA maintains that negotiations are positively progressing following a valuation exercise by the Valuation Unit of the Land Commission.

He said the inspectors would value each structure and compensate adequately stressing that every affected trader is going to be compensated. The KMA has rented 400 shops for the 400 shops owners at the Royal market while 600 shop owners would be relocated at Achamfuo market free of charge to make way for the redevelopment project to take off. The $298 million three-phase redevelopment of Kumasi Central Market and Kejetia project has been approved by Parliament and it is to be

executed by the Brazilian construction firm, CONTRACTA Engenharia Limited. Phase One of the project comprises construction work at the Kejetia in a period of 24 months at the cost of $198 million while the remaining $100 million will be expended on the second and third phases which would focus on the redevelopment of the Kumasi Central Market.

Source: The Chronicle

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