Commission pleads for early settlement of judgment debts

The Commission on Judgment Debts on Wednesday appealed to public institutions responsible for the payment of judgement debts to expedite action on the settlement of such outstanding amounts.

“Payments to individuals and companies who have genuinely secured judgment from a competent court of jurisdiction must be paid on time to avoid interest accruing from the debts, Justice Yaw Appau, the Sole Commissioner of the Commission, said on Wednesday.

He made the appeal during the Commission’s sitting in Accra, and said the Commission had noticed that delay in the payment of such debts had accrued huge interests and putting pressure on the national finances.

Justice Appau charged institutions responsible with investigations regarding judgement debts to be proactive.

He wondered why public institutions always act promptly on judgement debt cases, but “when it comes to payment they keep on dragging their feet….this practice is causing some financial losses to the state”.

Justice Appau advised individuals and companies not to turn the Commission into a debt settlement entity but to pursue their cases in court.

He explained that the Commission was mandated to ascertain the causes of any inordinate payments made from public funds in satisfaction of judgment debts since the 1992 Constitution came into force.

Mr. Benjamin Nii Teiko Hammond had petitioned the Commission to intervene in the payment of compensation in respect of dredging and restoration of the Korle Lagoon.

However, the Commission advised Mr. Hammond who has a case pending in court to rejuvenate the case and not to turn to the Commission for any redress.

“This Commission has no mandate to order any institution to pay individuals or companies any compensations, it is only the courts that have that mandate”, Justice Appau explained.

Alhaji Mohammed Kweku Doku, Chief Executive of the Asunafo North Municipal Assembly in the Brong-Ahafo Region, also appeared before the Commission, praying it to prevail on the Attorney General and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to pay him his five months salary arrears and end of service emoluments.

According to Alhaji Doku, a Sunyani High Court in 2005, ordered government to pay him GH₵ 4,109.39 as judgment debt; but the interest accrued from the amount had now increased to GHc19,595.10 as at 2012.

Alhaji Doku was a former District Chief Executive of the Asunafo North, from September 2000 to February 2001, and had his appointed terminated but was not paid his five months salary and emoluments.

Mr. Samuel Woolhouse Alotey Addo, a former employee of Seraphim Chemical Company Limited, also appeared before the Commission, on accrued 29 years salaries after he had his job terminated in 1984.

Justice Appau again admonished Mr. Addo to go to court to seek redress, pointing out that Ghanaians should have confident in the judiciary and the lawyers because without them “we will be nowhere”.

The Rockshell International Limited, which took its turn, said it was awarded compensation by a high court, which part of it had been paid but the remaining half of the amount had not been paid.

The company appealed to the Commission to ensure the payment of judgment debt due it.

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