A-G Told To Monitor Staff

Mr. Justice Yaw Apau, Sole Commissioner of the Judgement Debts Commission, has asked that Attorneys at the Attorney-General’s Department be closely monitored to ensure that they go to court to defend cases brought against the State.

He said that Government has been made to pay huge judgement debts, following the refusal or inability of some of the lawyers at the AG’s Department to put up defence, resulting in default judgement.

Mr. Justice Apau made the observation when Mrs. Dorothy Afriyie-Ansah, a Chief State Attorney, submitted some documents relating to judgement debts to the Commission yesterday.

The documents contained the indebtedness of 17 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to African Automobile Limited (AAL), African Automobile Limited Vrs the Attorney General Volumes 1, 2 and 3, African Automobile Limited Vrs the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, as well as the African Automobile Limited Vrs the Regional Co-ordinating Council and One Other.

Mrs. Afriyie-Ansah could, however, not submit the documents on Kwesi Agyei and two others, who died in 2003 in an accident involving a Ghana Armed Forces Fire Tender and a Kia truck, when the families of the deceased sued the AG’s Department for compensation.

The Commission has therefore, decided to subpoena the Ministry of Finance to attend and answer questions on the accident case.

Also, Mr. Bernard Akpatsaw, Chief Registrar in charge of Finance, at the Judicial Service, said he could not locate the docket on Delta Foods Company Limited whose judgement debt payment was channeled through the Judicial Service’s sub-account at the Bank of Ghana, by the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department in November 24, 1999.

It took the Judicial Service four months to release the money to the company.

The delay in payment, which attracted an interest on the principal sum, did not go down well with the Commission, hence a subpoena to the witness (Mr. Akpatsaw) for an explanation.

Witness said the delay was caused by the applicant (Delta Foods) because it did not apply to the Director of Finance through the court on time for the money to be released to them.

He said though the money was lodged in the Judicial Service’s sub-account on November 24, 1999, it was paid to Delta Foods on March 10, 2000.

The Government, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) contracted Delta Foods Company Limited to import 21,000 tonnes of white maize which the state failed to pay.

The company went to court and obtained judgement, leading to the payment of 20 billion old cedis to it as judgement debt.

Sitting resumes on Monday, August 18.

By Castro Zangina-Tong

 

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