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Court Slap ¢2.67tr On Ghana   
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Mr. Martin Ahmidu, Attorney General
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At a time when major road works in the country and other critical sectors of the economy had been abandoned for lack of finance, The Chronicle can report authoritatively that the government of President John Evans Atta Mills has paid a total of GH¢275,917,484.25 (nearly 2.6 trillion old cedis) in 2010, in very doggy judgment debts.

What would irk Ghanaians living at the wrong end of the economic divide is that most of these settlements were the result of recklessness of state officials, or due to the Attorney-General’s strange failure to defend the state.

The mind-boggling judgment debts eclipse the entire budget allocation to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of GH¢262,236,714 in 2011, to ensure that food is on the table of every Ghanaian, together with the appropriate meat and fish.

It puts the entire fiscal allocation to the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources into the shade. Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffuor could only find GH¢217,982,285 for the Ministry to safeguard our lands, and ensure that mineral deposits exploited were properly accounted for.

In the opinion of the Auditor-General, Mr. Richard Quartey, “these payments could have been avoided if due care was taken by some government officials in the course of exercising their official duties.”

A report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana (Consolidated Fund for the year ended 31st December 2010), highlights 86 such cases with mind-boggling payments in respect of suits against the state.

Dr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije’s Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) caused a loss of GH¢6,125,000 to the state in two court judgments. On August 4, 2010, an Accra High Court awarded GH¢2,875,000 against the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, in respect of a suit brought against the assembly by CCW Limited of Accra. It was the second installment in a number of three suits against the AMA.

Two months later, the same organisation obtained a total amount of GH¢3,250,000 judgment against the AMA, which declared war recently on anybody referring to the national edifice for sporting activities at Osu in Accra, as the Ohene Djan Stadium. In both instances, the state picked up the bill.

On March 31, 2010, the state was slapped with a fine of GH¢18,174,900 in favour of CP (Construction Pioneers), the multi-national construction company, which was said to have done a very shoddy job on the construction of the Yamoransa-Kumasi Highway.

The road developed deep potholes and serious defects a short while after its construction. The Auditor-General report simply said: “Settlement agreement concerning certain road projects by CP.”

On August 26, 2010, CP was awarded another GH¢16,820,016, bringing the total liability of the state towards the construction company to GH¢34,994,916.

Evidence is emerging that the Attorney-General is not enjoying a good ride in the courts, in respect of official actions and inactions. The repercussion of matters pertaining to the [email protected] celebrations brought quite a debt to be settled by the state.

On November 2, 2010, an Accra High Court handed a GH¢4,009,401.62 debt to the state in favour of Margins Groups Limited of Accra. It is in respect of “the payment of the production and distribution of [email protected] calendars.”

The brazen posture by police officers ended with the state at the wrong end of the law. On January 28, 2010, the state was slapped with a compensation award in respect of Daniel Mensah, who was beaten to death by four policemen at Tutuka-Oboase. GH¢35,000 was lost to the state in that episode.
Source: The Chronicle

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