Justice Apau Bemoans Judgement Debt Payments
The Sole Commissioner of the Judgement Debt Commission, Mr Justice Yaw Apau, Tuesday shed tears out of frustration at the connivance of public servants and private individuals to dupe the state in the name of judgement debts.
He said some public officials were satisfied with the ‘peanuts’ that they received from the private individuals, who went away with huge judgement debts at the expense of tax payers.
Removing his spectacle to wipe his tears during the hearing, Mr Apau lamented that some of the lawyers from the Attorney General’s Department did not go to court to defend the state, while officers in the other ministries did not show commitment to the cases culminating in the passing of judgement against the state.
Sadly, he said the judgement debts could be awarded in the region of about 10 million old cedis but the money could later ‘balloon’ to about 180 million old cedis.
His emotional reaction was triggered by the statement by the counsel for the Jasikan District Assembly, Mr Akwasi Bosompem, to the effect that the GH¢760,254 default judgement given to the Bentiemena clan of Jasikan in 2008 in respect of the land occupied by the district assembly, had increased to GHc988,319 as of September, 2013.
“This is the same scenario with all judgement debts. It starts with the principal claim of about 10 million old Ghana cedis. Then it balloons into 140 million and 180 million,” Mr Apau said.
“Tears from my eyes,” he remarked as he took off his spectacle, and stated that “sometime you think it is a joke, it is very calculated.”
Politicians and corruption
The Sole Commissioner again took on politicians for using politics as an avenue to loot state resources to put up big houses and ride in flashy vehicles.
He said people had created the perception that when you attained education, you must own big mansions and big cars at the expense of cocoa farmers and other Ghanaians.
For instance, Mr Apau said, some politicians borrowed billions of cedis to dole them out to delegates, and went ahead to meet with traditional and opinion leaders to solicit support for national elections.
He said when such politicians got the political office, they tried to make up for the money spent by looting state resources, while those who lost went into hiding.
Regrettably, he said, people who looted state money would go to church on Sundays, dance and give out money to the church, thinking that God would forgive them.
The Sole Commissioner said, for instance, the government established a task force to fight an illegal act, but members of the task force ended up as accomplices.
As a result, he said, many ordinary people had lost confidence in the educated elites.
Mr Apau said the same people who connived to loot state resources turned around to blame the government and the President for bad roads, power cuts, and scarcity of water.
“If you are not in government, the government is bad. Meanwhile we know the truth. We know the hard facts,” he said.
He urged Ghanaians to stop blaming the country’s colonial powers for their woes, since they had taken over the management of the nation’s resources and “sinking your own people.”
Counsel for the Jasikan District Assembly, Mr Akwasi Bosompem, said in 2008, the matter was taken to court for the payment of compensation for the land on which the offices of the Jasikan District Assembly is situated.
He said the Attorney General’s Department and the Ministry of Local Government were party to the suit but the district assembly was not served.
However, he said, when the default judgement was given, the plaintiff came to attach the property of the assembly.
Mr Bosompem, who is also the Presiding Member of the Jasikan District Assembly, said the assembly had since filed a motion to stay execution and set aside the default judgement.