THE GOVERNMENT OF Ghana (GoG), between 2008 and 2011, paid a whopping judgment debt of over E 85 million to Construction Pioneers (CP).
This money was to settle a dispute which emerged between the State and CP on road construction projects undertaken by the latter in the country. A Chief Manager at the Banking Department of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Eric Kwaku Hammond, said this yesterday when he appeared before the Judgment Debt Commission to answer questions on the judgment debt payments to CP and Delta Foods from 1992 to 2012.
According to Mr. Hammond, the Controller and Accountant General's Department (CAGD) instructed the Bank of Ghana to make series of payments on ten different occasions to arrive at the over 85million Euros. CP had sued GoG and the Ministry of Roads and Highway over a dispute which arose as a result of the Assin Pras-Yamoransa, Biriwa-Tarkwa, Akim Oda-Nkawkaw through Akwatia and the Obuasi town road projects over a decade ago.
CP finally went for arbitration in 2004 at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in London, where an undisclosed amount of money was given to CP. He explained that, on June 11, 2008, his outfit was asked to transfer £9 million into the Ghana High Commission's account to settle CP, which was the very first payment.
Subsequently in December 21, 2009, over E6 million was paid to CP by GoG, for settlement of a dispute between CP and GoG, while E7 million was paid to CP for settlement of various disputes. The government, in November 11, 2011, finally paid E16.8million to the construction firm as part of the judgment debt.
Touching on Delta Foods case, Mr. Hammond told the Justice Yaw Appau-led Sole Commission that his outfit was instructed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) through CAGD, to transfer GH¢2.3 million into the Judicial Service account to defray a debt owed to Delta Foods on November 24 1999.
He said the GH¢2.3 million was paid into an account number 0125660049003 as soon as the instruction was given. He added that another instruction from the CAGD to effect another payment into an offshore account number in which Delta Foods was the holder of that account.
He explained that the explanation for that transition was also given as payment of judgment debt to Delta Foods in the United States of America (USA). Mr. Hammond said the GoG imported 2,100 metric tonnes of maize from Delta Foods in the USA in 1998 and failed to pay. Delta Foods went to court in Ghana and had judgment of GH¢2.3 million.
The government again delayed in payment awarded Delta Foods and they sued again in a Washington court. Ironically, the GoG rushed to pay to the amount unfortunately the Cedis had depreciated and the Washington court awarded USD$ 4.9 million in favor of Delta Foods.
When asked by the Sole Commissioner, Justice Yaw Appau as to what led to the delay in the payment of the judgment debt to Delta Foods for Ghana to pay that outrageous USD$ 4.9 million, Mr. Hammond said, to his knowledge BoG did its part by paying the money to the Judicial Service account without any delay.
However he had no idea what might have caused the delay for the payment. Judicial Service is yet to give its side of the story. Today the Economic and Organized Crime Office will be appearing before the Judgment Debt Commission.