General News of Thursday, 14 June 2012
Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusaading Guide, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako says it is a “bloody lie” to say the settlement payment to Construction Pioneers (CP) is not an act of fraud.
According to him, the Serious Fraud Office, now Economic and Organized Crime Office was then investigating CP in early 2000 over some alleged issues of fraud.
Why those fraud investigations were suspended and EOCO wrote a letter that gave CP a clean bill of heath culminating in the payment of €94 million to CP is matter Mr Kweku Baako says is difficult to understand.
The New Crusading Guide Editor-in-Chief was discussing the issue of judgment debts on Peace FM’s morning show Kokrokoo on Wednesday.
Kweku Baako added that somewhere in 2009, EOCO under the instruction of then Attorney General, Betty Mould Iddrisu wrote to the international arbitration committee that indicating the accusation of fraud brought against CP was false, a major breakthrough in the process of acquiring the judgment debt.
According to him, the investigations by then Serious Fraud Office indicted CP, which actually conceded that there were some instances of loading in some of their initial claims therefore there was no basis for CP to have made those same demands on the government.
Kweku Baako maintained that there were enough correspondence between the Ministry of Roads and Highways and CP that were overlooked leading to the payment of €94 million to CP.
The SFO report on CP
According to him, CP which were indicted by the SFO report in the early 2000s during the NPP administration, and which they did not contest, suddenly bounced back to make fresh claims under the new NDC government which immediately settled the claims.
Kweku Baako condemned the stance taken by the NDC government which sought to portray that the NPP government left in their wake lots of liabilities (judgement debts) which must be settled to ensure that interest does not accrue on it.
He said that stance taken by the NDC government without actually investigating the veracity of such claims has led to the country losing huge sums of monies in the form of avoidable judgement debts.
Mr. Baako was also particularly saddened by the judgement debts paid to businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, and Waterville which according to him does not make any sense.
He added facts available indicate that judgement debt payments made to these two are of “dubious validity” and must not be given full scale investigation.
The Deputy Minister of Information, James Agyenim Boateng who was also on the show indicated that the issue of judgement debts transcended governments.
He, however, insisted that calls that some government officials who played roles in the judgement debt particularly paid to Mr. Woyome be arraigned before court were premature.
The Deputy Information Minister said that the government was compelled to pay some of the judgement debts to forestall interest on these debts from piling up.