Defunct Company Fights BoG Over Judgement Debt
Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah
The now defunct Astek Fruit Processing Limited has petitioned the Judgement Debt Commission to impress on the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to pay it ¢3.394,141.83 as interest for work done for Ghana in the 1990s.
However, the central bank insisted that Astek was paid all debts owed by the government and urged the Sole Commissioner investigating the payments of judgement debts not to entertain the once vibrant fruit processor.
Appearing before Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal as Sole Commissioner yesterday, Dr. Albert Ababio Owusu, owner of Astek Fruit Processing Limited said his company was involved in the exportation of fruits and fruit juice to Libya in exchange for crude oil as part of a bilateral agreement between the two governments.
He said Astek was paid after each shipment by the BoG but the last two shipments of February 4, 1996 and March 11, 1996 respectively were not paid by the central bank and after three years they were compelled to seek legal redress.
He testified that on November 11, 1998 Astek secured a $1.7million judgement against the BoG and on February 1999, the bank paid the amount together with part of the interest but never paid ¢3.394,141.83 which they claimed were the rest of the interest.
He admitted that they calculated the interest on their own without the input of the court’s registry that had given the order and said ‘we have been working behind the scenes to get the central bank to pay us the rest of the amount but it has not happened.’
Rejecting Astek Fruit Processing’s claim, Elly Ohene-Adu, head of Banking said documents available indicated that at a meeting, officials of the company agreed to accept $1.702,736.00 judgement debt together with $241,164.17 as interest as well as ¢350 million as cost.
She said even though the court had ordered the amount to be paid in cedis, the parties compromised the initial judgement for the plaintiff to receive the payment in dollars adding that ‘Bank of Ghana could not have paid dollars contrary to what the court ordered.’
Mrs. Ohene-Adu said from 1999, Astek never showed any indication that the government still owed them until August 19, 2009, when they sent a letter complaining about the interest paid saying ‘we wrote back to tell them that we could not accede to their request.’
By William Yaw Owusu
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