The Judgement Debt Commission was on Monday told a bizarre story of how the Government of Ghana was compelled to cough up a staggering $1.8 million to repay a loan contracted by Ghana Consolidated Diamond (GCD) from Balaji Gemlast, a foreign firm.
The GCD secured the loan from the foreign company with the assurance that it would supply diamonds to offset the debt, but reneged on the promise, prompting the government to intervene to pay the loan plus interest.
The decision to pay the debt was taken after Balaji Gemlast had dragged both the government and GCD to court and won the case. The GCD has since been sold to Zoomlion Ghana Limited and renamed Great Consolidated Diamond (GCD).
The revelation about the payment was made known during the Commission’s sitting yesterday, when the Head of Finance and Administration at the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), Richard Nana Akuffo, was subpoenaed to brief it on what the DIC knew about the payment of the judgment debt.
According to Mr. Akuffo, the GCD went into a transaction with Balaji Gemlast Limited, but the issue later went to court, resulting in the payment. When quizzed by the Sole Commissioner, Justice Yaw Appau, whether the DIC was made a party to the case in court, and whether the new owners had repaid fully the judgment debt to the state, Akuffo said he was aware that the new owners had not fully settled the indebtedness.
Justice Appau lamented how state companies are usually divested to companies which cannot sustain them.
He cited the defunct Wenchi Tomato Factory in the Brong-Ahafo Region as one of such companies which was very viable, but the new owners could not sustain the status. “It has been divested to a Ghanaian company, but nothing is happening there, and the place too is overgrown with weeds,” he said.
In other matters, the Chief Land Valuer at the Lands Commission, Kwesi Bentsi Enchill, appeared before the commission in respect of the Peter Abban case.
He said they needed two important files to enable them give accurate information to the commission. Peter Abban sued the state in 2003 for compensation, after a portion of his fence wall had been affected by the construction of the Kanda highway.
He said Pater Abban went to court to seek compensation for the demolition of his property during the construction of the Kanda highway in 2001.
However, it was realised that the wall was on land earmarked for road construction. A judgment debt sum of over GH¢260,000 was obtained from the state by Peter Abban.