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Regional News of Friday, 11 April 2014

Source: Graphic Online

There is no judgement debt account

The Controller and Accountant General’s Department yesterday confirmed the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG) position that there was never a special account at the central bank called 'judgement debt account.'

The Assistant Director and Head of Domestic Banking of the BoG, Mr Leslie Akrong, told the Judgement Debt Commission that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning instructed the BoG to create a five-year treasury monitoring bond in 2006.

Per the requirement, he said the central bank created a corresponding account, and indicated that all the proceeds from the bond should be put in that account.

The account was opened on December 18, 2006 and closed on December 17, 2007.

Controller & Accountant-General

When he took his turn, the Deputy Controller and Accountant-General in charge of Treasuries, Mr Andrews Kingsley Kwadzo Kufe, said the department received instruction from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to request the BoG to make payments from the five-year monitoring bond account.

He said the department was not supposed to refer to the account as a judgement debt account.

Mr Kufe, therefore, rendered an apology for the wrong reference to the account as judgement debt account in the Controller and Accountant-General Department's letters to the BoG.

The Sole Commissioner of the Judgement Debt Commission, Mr Justice Yaw Apau, however, told Mr Akrong that he did not have to render any apology because the department only acted upon the instruction from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

Judgement debt account

Giving further details, Mr Akrong said letters from the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department directed the central bank to make payments from the five-year monitoring bond account described as the judgement debt account.

He said although that was not the official name of the account, the BoG had not written to the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department to draw its attention to that wrong description of the account as judgement debt account.

He opined that the BoG thought that the description of the account as judgement debt account was because part of the five-year proceeds was supposed to be used to pay judgement debts.

Payments

Mr Akrong said the money from the said account was not only used for the payment of judgement debts.

For instance, he said, the Ministry of Finance instructed the BoG through the Controller and Accountant General's Department to make some payments for judgement debts, severance awards, domestic debt restructuring and to state-owned enterprises and banks.

Mr Akrong said between that period (2006-2007), the BoG paid GH¢22.6 million for judgement debt and other severance from the GH¢25 million allocated for that purpose.

He said the central bank paid GH¢15.9 million for domestic debt restructuring and GH¢34.7 million to state-owned enterprises and banks from that account.

Background

Last month, a deputy chief manager representing the Director of Banking at the Bank of Ghana told the Judgement Debt Commission that there was no “special judgement debt account” at the BoG.

Speaking to the issue of a special account opened at the central bank from which judgement debts were paid by the government, Mr Gabriel Bokor, the Deputy Chief Manager of the Banking Department, BoG, said the account number 0113060014036 referred to by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) in the matter of making payments to some clients was rather a five-year treasury bond account.

Other cases

A Chief State Attorney, Mrs Dorothy Afriye-Ansah, tendered in 17 volumes of documents in relation to the Ghana Telecom-Telecom Malaysia transaction to the commission. She also presented some documents regarding the arbitration between Construction Pioneers (CP) and the Ministry of Roads and Highways. In the case between Mrs Esther Boadu and the Attorney General over a settlement claim that Mrs Boadu was demanding from the state, Mrs Ansah told the commission that Mrs Boadu claimed that she had lost her arm through the negligence of a nurse at the Asamankase Government Hospital. She said the case was settled out of court and Mrs Boadu was given GH¢30,000 as her compensation.

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