Torgbui Adamah III, Paramount Chief of Some Traditional Area, has extended his condolences to the family of the four persons who lost their lives during a fishing expedition in the Keta Lagoon at Laklevikope in the Ketu South Municipality.
The sad event occurred close to the dykes allegedly being constructed by Seven Seas Salt Company, a salt mining firm operating in that enclave.
Torgbui Adamah, who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said contrary to assertions by a cross-section of residents of the municipality that he was indifferent towards the plight of his people, he had the interest and well-being of his subjects at heart.
He said it was unfortunate that some of the disparaging comments made against him on some local radio stations, accusing him of underhand dealings with the salt company.
It would be recalled that on September 17, 2022, a mother and her three children drowned in a pit in the lagoon around the dykes of the salt mining company at Laklevikope near Denu, while they attempted to fish.
The widower, who also went on the fishing expedition with the deceased managed to swim to safety.
The incident sparked a widespread backlash against the mining company, leading to a street action by the youth of the Municipality, to register their displeasure over the activities of the Company, which they described as illegal.
The aggrieved youth presented a petition to the government through the Ketu South Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Maxwell Koffie Lugudor, calling on the government, among other things, to suspend the operations of the Company.
They accused the company of extending its operation outside its concession area resulting in the destruction of lives and livelihoods of the inhabitants of the area, alleging that the company did not possess the requisite documents to operate outside its Adina concession.
Torgbui Adamah in response to these allegations, said although he was not the spokesperson for the Company, he was aware as a major stakeholder in the municipality that the Company was not operating illegally as alleged.
He said he personally engaged the Company and impressed upon them to make provisions for compensation to his people as he observed that the activities of the Company had affected the livelihoods of some of the people in the Company’s catchment area.
The Paramount Chief said after several consultations with the company and other stakeholders compensation was duly paid to the affected persons and wondered why accusing fingers should now be pointed at him.
“What we should be looking at now is how to support our brother, who lost his entire family in this unfortunate incident and a way to prevent this from happening again rather than the unnecessary accusations and counter accusations, which will only further sow seeds of discord among us,” he said.
He debunked claims that he was paid some amount of money by Seven Seas Salt Limited in compensation as the custodian of the area.
“I want to state emphatically that whatever money said to have been paid to me was actually paid to the Amu-Agade Royal Family of which I am a legitimate member.”
He added that those monies were paid to his family as legal owners of the Company’s Adafienu concession per the terms of reference in the Minerals Act and not to him as a person.
Torgbui Adamah called on persons making such unfounded pronouncements to refrain from such for the sake of peace and that it would have been prudent for those accusing him to call on him at his palace to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of those allegations.
He said he considered it an affront to the chieftaincy institution when members of a community could use insulting words on traditional leaders, throwing caution to the wind and with impunity.
Meanwhile, investigations conducted by the GNA revealed that the Company had in its possession all the relevant documents required for its operations.
The GNA sighted the Company’s Environmental Impact Assessment Report, and Scoping Reports as well as other documents and authorisation from the Minerals Commission, among others.
Additionally, the company had documents to prove that it carried out thorough due diligence on its operations and provided documents to support compensations paid and still being paid to persons whose sources of livelihood have been affected by the company’s operations in and around its concessions.