General News of Sunday, 14 July 2019
The Minority in Parliament is demanding details of all monies paid in default judgement since the Akufo-Addo administration in 2017.
Minority Spokesperson Finance, Casiel Ato Forson, wants the Finance Ministry to publish the list of individuals and organisations who benefited from the payment of approximately ?282million as announced to Parliament by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, Friday.
According to Mr. Ofori Atta, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration inherited a total of ?482,413,354.13 million from its predecessor, National Democratic Congress (NDC). The NPP he said, also accrued ?197,076,438.15 over the last two years “bringing the total amount to ?679,489,792.28”.
“In total, we have had no choice but to pay 42% of the outstanding, which is approximately 94 million yearly, due to the garnisheeing of our accounts and the renegotiations held,” Mr. Ofori Atta added.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta
This was in response to a question by MP for Mion, Mohammed Abdul-Aziz, who asked the Finance Minister how much the government had paid in judgement debt from January 2017 to date.
Mr. Ofori Atta further explained that, the government’s approach to renegotiating most of these default judgements, yielded in the state saving in excess of ?200 million.
“For example, on one instance we managed to save the taxpayer ?90million through ngotiations. In another instance, we negotiated a savings of ?130million on a claim of over ?180million,” he revealed.
The debts were incurred following court orders for breaches of contracts, largely compensations for personal injury claims and acquisitions, which cannot be ignored.
Judgement debt paid to Martin Amidu?
However, the Minority has described the Minister’s response as dissatisfying. Members of the opposition NDC say the responses lacked detailed information to enable them to discuss the issue from informed positions.
Spokesperson on Finance, Ato Forson who is also the MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam Constituency in the Central Region, demanded to know if the beneficiaries included corporate organisations such as Bankswitch, McDan Ltd as well as former Attorney-General, Martin Amidu, who is now the Special Prosecutor.
Mr. Amidu -who single-handedly led the crusade against the state paying ?51million to businessman Alfred Woyome in default judgement- had sued for damages and costs, over his “unlawful dismissal” from late President John Atta Mills’ government in 2012.
In the case of Bankswitch Ghana Limited which Mr. Forson alleged, was paid ?80m as judgement debt, had already been paid a sum ?286million prior to the NDC exiting office, after the company won a case against the state.
That amount represents the exact amount due the company in default judgement, the former Deputy Finance Minister told Evans Mensah, on Top Story on Joy FM, Friday.
Casiel Ato Forson
“So for some someone to go out there and pay additional ?80m…it is important for us to be aware,” he argued
But “unfortunately, he failed to give us that information,” he argued.