IT APPEARS the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) will be doling out more of the Ghanaian taxpayer’s money to Construction Pioneers (CP) in addition to the whopping €94million the Mills administration controversially presented to the construction firm as judgment debt, as the Ghana Television failed to give live coverage of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament sitting yesterday.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, said government had defaulted in its own payment schedule of the €94million to CP, and therefore might be compelled to pay more cash to the construction firm.
Dr. Kunbuor told members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that there could be more financial loss to the state through another judgment debt as government had failed to pay the March 2012 installment.
Government had, in a negotiated settlement spearheaded by former Attorney-General Betty Mould-Iddrisu in March 2010, agreed to pay CP an amount of €94,000,000 for alleged wrongful abrogation of some contracts by the State in 2003.
Subsequently, a payment schedule was further approved by the former Attorney-General for the settlement of a remaining amount of €80million by the end of June 2012 after she had authorized the payment of €14million to the construction firm as part payment of the negotiated settlement claims of the €94million.
According to Dr. Kunbuor, government failed to pay the installment for March because the matter was before the Parliamentary committee.
He said he wrote a letter to the PAC to find out whether payment of the installment could affect the matter before the committee, but unfortunately he did not receive any response.
The Attorney-General indicated that government did not pay the money because it feared such a move could be prejudicial to the matter before the committee.
But the PAC chairman, Albert Kan-Dapaah, pointed out that payment of the whole amount to CP was a government decision which did not concern the parliamentary committee.
“The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament cannot take decisions for government and if government wants to make any payment, it will not take instructions from this committee. It is entirely up to government to decide whether to pay the money or not”, Mr. Kan-Dapaah emphasised.
Meanwhile, the anticipated banter between PAC members and Dr. Kunbuor over the main saga of the controversial €94million could not come on yesterday.
The PAC had to suspend hearing on the matter following the failure by the State broadcaster, Ghana Television, to provide live coverage of proceedings.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah announced they could not proceed with the hearing because GTV was not ready to telecast the hearing live contrary to a standing agreement with the national broadcaster.
According to him, the issues pertaining to the CP settlement saga were of gargantuan national interest, which ought to be shown live to Ghanaians.
Indeed, the GTV had covered all the previous 18 sittings live and it was not immediately clear why it failed to provide coverage for yesterday’s public hearing.
The Attorney-General had appeared before the Committee to further explain the circumstance under which the government paid €94million to CP, as the whole settlement agreement had been shrouded in some secrecy.
Source: Awudu Mahama, D-Guide
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