President John Dramani Mahama has commended the Attorney -General(A-G) and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, over her handling of high profile cases involving huge sums of money.
President Mahama lauded Mrs. Appiah-Oppong for “a phenomenal job” in saving the country close to a billion-dollars in judgement debts, hence deserves to be given national honours.
“I think the Attorney- General has done a phenomenal job. I mean if you look at the amount of money she’s saved us from judgement debt, that lady deserves a national honour,” he said.
President Mahama made these remarks when he took his turn at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s (GBC) Presidential Encounters, in response to issues raised about the AG’s commitment in retrieving the GH¢51 million wrongfully paid to businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome as judgement debt, which the Supreme Court ordered its repayment two years ago.
The encounter also offered President Mahama the platform to share with Ghanaians his achievements in the last four years and why he deserves another term in office.
Despite calls for her resignation, President Mahama said that he was satisfied with Mrs. Appiah-Oppong’s performance in working to retrieve fraudulent judgement debts.
“She followed my directive and contested every judgement debt case brought against the government and I’m impressed,” the President said.
The President said he was convinced his government had cleaned the system, which would make it difficult for people to connive with government officials to make fraudulent claims.
President Mahama also denied claims by Mr. Martin Amidu, a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, that he ordered the AG to discontinue the Woyome case at the Supreme Court, saying that “the AG’s discontinuance of the case was within the law “.
He said these allegations were just levelled against him to harm his person and the government.
“There are all kinds of false claims and allegations that have been made against my person and my government, which are very disheartening”, he said, adding that most were outright falsehood for the purposes of political propaganda.
The President said his government despite the allegations, would remain steadfast in fighting corruption in the country.
“I have the commitment to fight corruption. This is the first government prosecuting its own people and taking people to court for corruption while it is still in government,” he stated.
He explained that Ghana was a country under a constitutional rule hence the right procedure must be followed in prosecuting people involved in alleged fraudulent acts.
Answering a question on the education sector, President Mahama had reiterated his commitment to continue providing the educational sector with relevant policies to equip graduates with the requisite skills to meet the demands of local industries.
According to him, both the public and private sectors were in need of skilled labour that would engage in production using the most productive and efficient methods available.
That President Mahama explained, was the reason for his government’s policy of converting polytechnic institutions into technical universities and implementing policies and programmes to promote technical and vocational training in the country.
On employment, he said as part of government’s plans to tackle the problem the government proposed collaboration between local industries and the educational sector for an efficient juggling of the curriculum to address low standards in quality of labour.
He said upon assumption of power in 2012, his government identified infrastructure development, stable energy and stabilisation of the economy as the challenges needed to be addressed for economic transformation, adding that the government invested heavily in those areas within the period of his term.
He explained that the foundation for wealth creation had already been laid and that given another term in office, his government would improve the standard of living of Ghanaians.
“We’ve lifted the heavy load. We’ve all made sacrifices to support the government’s plans to support these developments. My second term will surely bring forth economic benefits”, President Mahama said.
He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to revive state companies to create job opportunities and improve food security.
President Mahama also took the opportunity to denounce suggestions that his government had gone back on its decision not to pay trainee nurses’ allowance in order to win their support ahead of the general elections.
He explained that government decided to pay the allowance temporarily in anticipation of a law that would migrate the trainee nurses onto the Students’ Loan Trust Fund.
However, President Mahama stressed that government’s attention was drawn to the Students’ Loan Act which does not allow them to be beneficiaries of the Students’ Loan.
He said while the government worked assiduously to amend the law, it took the decision to keep paying them an abated allowance to enable the students to finance their upkeep.
“They’re being paid an abated allowance lower than the level they used to receive in the past so that they can be able to make ends meet until we amend the Students’ Loan Trust Law,” he said.
By Claude Nyarko Adams