Mystery Over ¢34bn Compensation
Justice Yaw Apau
Even though documents available to the Commission of Enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debts indicate that a whopping ¢34 billion (GH¢3.4 million) was paid to one Nana Emmanuel Woode for the purported confiscation of his companies, the institution responsible for divestiture says it knows nothing about the transaction.
Asakkua Agambire, Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) insisted yesterday that the DIC had nothing to do with Holex Ghana Limited and Priorities Ghana Limited, which were said to have been confiscated from Nana Woode in the heat of the ‘revolution.’
According to documents, Nana Woode obtained judgement in 2006 for the alleged confiscation of his wood processing companies and the government, through the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, authorized the Bank of Ghana to release ¢34,758,343,331 to the claimant as judgement debt.
‘Holex Ghana Limited and Priorities Ghana Limited have never been a subject for divestiture. We would think that at the time that the companies were confiscated in those circumstances, it is most likely they would have been handed over to the Confiscated Assets Committee located at the Castle and not to the DIC,’ Mr. Agambire explained.
‘The Confiscated Assets Committee is still operating with an officer at the Castle, Osu. We believe that they would be of assistance to this Commission in finding out what happened to these companies,’ he said adding, ‘As far as the DIC is concerned, they were not forwarded to us or listed for divestiture.’
He further claimed, ‘I have not sighted any record of such payment. The DIC definitely did not make the divestiture,’ explaining that ‘Sometimes when payments are made in related divestiture issues, we may be informed, but we have not seen a record of this payment after a diligent search. The DIC does not know anybody called Emmanuel Nana Woode.’
Sole Commisioner Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal then cut in saying, ‘On December 29, 2006, a letter to the Controller and Accountant General directing the Banking Department of the Bank of Ghana to release funds for payment of outstanding judgement debt was copied to the DIC. The letter mentioned Nana Emmanuel Woode as one of the people to be paid the sum of ¢34,758,343,331 as judgement debt payment and the DIC was copied.’
Mr. Agambire replied that ‘We believe that they copied us because we were not of consequence. We were not directed to take any action or not to take any action, but if we search the records we might find a copy of that letter.’
He continued, ‘We were not consulted before the decision to pay was taken. We were only informed to take note.’
Justice Apau: If you had nothing to do with Nana Woode why were you copied. Was the Controller of the view that DIC handled the confiscation of his property?
Witness: I believe so because our records show that the companies were never handed over to us. In those days when companies were confiscated, they were handed as the first step to the Confiscated Assets Committee. We did not receive confiscated assets directly and we do not know why we were copied.
He suggested to the Commission to invite the Confiscated Assets Committee to appear and throw more light on the issue.
Later, representatives of the Attorney General as well as the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, who were scheduled to testify on other matters, could not make an appearance.
By William Yaw Owusu
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