The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has provided the Commission investigating the payment of judgement debts with a detailed account of how huge sums of money were paid to Messrs Construction Pioneers (CP) as judgement debt, running into millions of Euros.
The company received €85.2 million in addition to £7 million during the tenure of Betty Mould-Iddrisu, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.
Yesterday, a chief manager at the Banking Department of BoG, Eric Kweku Hammond, assisted by Saviour Kudze of the Legal Department, presented documents to the Commission showing how the funds were transferred into CP’s offshore account.
He said upon instructions from the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department, the first payment of £7.3 million was transferred to the account of the Ghana High Commission for the payment of CP debt in June 2008.
He said on March 21, 2009, another £6.9 million was paid and on October 30, 2009, about €7 million was paid to CP.
On April 15, 2010, the government paid €9.4 million and another €9.2 million was paid on July 2, 2010.
Mr. Hammond said on October 20, 2010, there was a payment of €9.1 million and on February 2, 2011, another €8.9 million was paid to CP.
He said that €8.8 million was paid on April 1, 2011; another €8.7 million on July 5, 2011 before making a final payment of €16.98 million on November 1, 2011.
He said a total of €85.2 million and a pound component of £7.3 million were released by the BoG for the settlement agreement between the government and CP.
The Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) has already confirmed that CP was paid millions for road project contracts, some of which the construction giant did not even execute.
An instance was the Akim Oda-Kade/New Abirem- Nkawkaw road in the Eastern Region which CP never executed but managed to claim loss of profit with interest from the Government of Ghana.
Appearing before Sole-Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal yesterday, the Executive Director of GHA, Michael Abieteh Abbey, confirmed that indeed CP never lifted single sand and stone but got payment through international arbitration.
The GHA boss said the initial contract sum for the Akim Oda-Kade/New Abirem-Nkawkaw road was GH¢10.6 million (¢106 billion) with a foreign component of 155 million Deutsche Marks.
He also confirmed that the Assin Praso-Yamoransa road was shoddily done by CP but got payment, saying the initial contract sum was GH¢1.5 million (¢15.2 billion) with a foreign component of 28.3 million Deutsche Marks.
According to him, the Biriwa-Takoradi road was executed at an initial contract sum of GH¢2.9 million (¢29.5 billion) with a foreign component of 49.4 million Deutsche Marks. However, evidence already before the Commission was that CP was overpaid by 44 million Deutsche Marks for that project.
Mr. Hammond also testified on Delta Foods, a Ghanaian corporation that was in contract with the government of Ghana to sell corn that would be purchased in the United States and delivered.
Delta sued Ghana in the High Court after the corn was delivered and the country refused to pay for it and an agreement was settled for the reimbursement of money.
The reimbursement would include post judgment cost of storage and post judgment interest; in addition to the cost of the corn, which totaled GH¢20.3 billion but when the payment delayed, Delta Foods sued Ghana in the United States as well.
Mr. Hammond told the Sole-Commissioner that on November 24, 1999, the BoG received payment instruction from the Controller to transfer GH¢20.3 million into the Judicial Service’s deposit account for onward payment to Delta Foods.
‘In addition we received two payment instructions to transfer a total of $4.9 million to an offshore account,’ he said adding that the transfer was done in two tranches.
According to Hammond, the $2.5 million and $2.4 million were paid respectively to Delta Foods after which Justice Apau said that documents available to the Commission showed that the amount shot up due to the delay in the payment following the cedi depreciation.
By William Yaw Owusu & Rita Oduro
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