Tarzan Blames Presidency For Judgement Debt

wereko brobbeyDr. Charles Wereko-Brobby yes-terday told the Judge-ment Debt Commission that the state paid GH¢383,354.84 to JESCAN Construction Limited as judgement debt following the failure of the Presidency to pay a balance of GH¢62,840.11 to the firm on time.

He said that at the time the Ghana @50 Secretariat ended its activities, in February 2009, under the Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills administration, “sufficient funds were available at the Office of the President to settle all of the outstanding debts of contractors in full”.

According to him, the relevant officials of the new administration, specifically the office of the Chief of Staff and Executive Assets Committee of the Transition Team, were fed with the facts of the volume of indebtedness to Ghana @50 contractors and the availability of funds to pay them.

The JESCAN Construction Limited was contracted by the Ghana @50 Secretariat in September,2006, to rehabilitate and retrofit the Independence Square for the celebration of the nation’s 50th Independence Anniversary, which fell on March 6, 2007, at a contract sum of GH¢1.440 million ( 14.4 billion old Ghana Cedis.)

Mr. Maxwell Korbla Logan, Director and a Private Legal Practitioner who testified on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer of JESCAN, said that after a satisfactory and timely execution of the project, all attempts to get the Secretariat to pay the balance became a tug-of-war.

He said that the firm resorted to a legal action, as a last resort, because a letter written by Mr. J. H. M. Newman, from the office of the President on February 15, 2011 to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) to effect payment did not also yield any positive results.

He said that the company informed the Attorney General’s Department of its intention to go to court and since there was no response, it (company) filed a writ on April 15, 2011, and applied for a summary judgement which was granted on June 21, 2011, and later filed a Certificate of Judgement against the state which was also granted that a sum of GH¢383,354.84 be paid.

Mr. Logan said that if the amount due them was paid in time, the state would have been saved from the problem of paying huge sums as judgement debts.

Madam Dorothy Afriyie Ansah, Chief State Attorney, said that the AG’S Department was notified in January 201,1 of a letter written and signed by the Chief of Staff to the Ministry of Finance to take steps and pay JESCAN Construction.

She said that the Attorney Generals department (AG) wrote back to the presidency seeking clarification as to the actual amount that should be paid to the construction firm because there were discrepancies with regard to how much should be paid but there was no reply hence the failure of the AG to defend the case at court.

Dr. Wereko-Brobby further told the Commission that he was shocked to hear that some contractors such as Margins Group of Companies and Latex Foam had been paid various sums as judgement debts by the State without contacting him for explanation.

He challenged all the contractors who claimed he had asked them to contract loans from the banks to complete their Ghana @ 50 projects, to produce the letters instructing them to do so.

The Sole Commissioner, Mr. Justice Yaw Apau, earlier on explained to Dr. Wereko-Brobby that people who appeared before the Commission were not “target witnesses” but to assist it identify the loopholes which contributed to the payment of huge amounts as judgement debts and make recommendations to protect the public purse in future. The Commission’s sitting has been adjourned to August 26. -Castro Zangina-Tong

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