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Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., is calling for full scale independent investigations into the circumstances surrounding how GH¢41,811,480.59 of state money was doled out in a court settlement to an alleged bankroller of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome.

He is also asking for investigations to be conducted into all judgement debts carried out in the country saying “this is the biggest opportunity for the state to examine all this cases and come to a conclusion.”

“The bottom line is it needs investigation, full scale investigation by independent committee of enquiry to answer these questions because more than 30million dollars is at stake and we don’t have to take it for granted. How come Ministry of Finance went for an injunction that they should pay first tranche but you paid all the tranches?...I’ll be pained if the full scale investigation involves only Woyome, because the judgment debts paid by past and present governments runs into several millions of cedis….this is the biggest opportunity for the state to examine all this cases and come to a conclusion. We will be deceiving ourselves if we limit the investigations to only Woyome because there are a lot of people reaping where they've not sowed and some of the things don’t make sense,” Kwesi Pratt.

Mr Pratt was commenting on the GhC42 million judgment debt awarded Mr Woyome, and the report that the government of Ghana under President Mills in 2010, paid a total of GH¢275,917,484.25 (nearly 2.6 trillion old cedis) in judgment debts.

A High Court in 2010 ordered the State to pay an amount of nearly GH¢42 million in judgment debt to Mr. Woyome over what he describes as the illegal termination of his contract.

The NDC guru who reportedly contributed extremely generously at a recent fund-raising ceremony for the party and also funded some officials of the NDC to witness the 2010 World Cup in South Africa claims he won the huge amount squarely, because the Kufuor administration ditched him after winning the contract to execute a job in connection with the renovation of the two leading stadia in the country, and the construction of an additional two.

But reports indicate that the judgment was given in default of a defence by the Attorney General’s Department. Some critics, have therefore, accused officials of the AG’s Department of deliberately refusing to defend the state to enable Mr. Woyome win the case.

Mr Pratt argues that there is no document to prove the erstwhile NPP government had any contract with Mr. Woyome for which he should be paid for any miscarriage of justice. He further contended that even if the NPP government signed a contract with the company, under what circumstance was the compensation or settlement paid to and in the name of Mr. Woyome.

To him, most of the explanations offered by the NDC stalwart and businessman are baseless, wondering why government should pay for the feasibility study of a company bidding for a contract; especially when the feasibility study forms part of the requirement for the contract bidding.

Mr. Pratt further took a swipe at the Attorney General's office, questioning why two attorney generals from the same administration have varied opinions on the same issue which affects the nation gravely.

“The first Attorney General agreed to Woyome’s case and made arrangement for settlement and now the current Attorney General who is also a lawyer is saying it is not true so government should not pay any money. Two Attorney-Generals for the same government with varied opinions, who is telling the truth and who is not doing his or her work well? Which of them is wrong? And the evidence that the second attorney general took to court that the settlement should be canceled, was it not in the office already, how come it was overlooked by the first attorney general?” he asked.

The Senior Journalist further posited that all politicians and statesmen, especially in the last administration whose names have come up must be made to come clean.

“I want to understand the conducts of some of the minister in the NPP administration..., Osafo-Maafo’s name has been mentioned several times since the case started and he must come out to answer some of the questions lingering around. All of those people whose names have come up must come and exonerate themselves…this nation demands answers…it is not a partisan political matter. Finish!” he added.

The outspoken Nkrumaist also rubbished Mr. Woyome’s allegations that the Kufuor-led NPP government had tried to assassinate him.

“If you are given a contract and it is canceled even if illegally, why would they want to kill you? It doesn’t make sense. He claims 200 soldiers were contracted to murder him,...why, will we send 200 soldiers to even attack Arnold Schwarzenegger?” he asked with deep sarcasm.

Kwesi Pratt Jnr.
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.

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: Peacefmonline.com

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