Offshore Payment Balloons Judgement Debt

A representative from the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), Andrews Kingsley Kojo Kufei, yesterday confirmed to the Judgment Debt Commission the payment of GH¢3,217, 632 as judgment debt by the state to the Carmichael Family, in respect of the Aveyime Livestock Project in the Volta Region.

He added that the payment of the extra GH¢530,628.44, in addition to the principal sum of GH¢3,217, 632, was due to the delay in processing the payment. Mr. Kufei said initially, when the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning authorised the payment into the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department’s (AG) Consolidated Fund on January 6, 2009, the letter attached to it did not include the account number to be used for the transaction.

According to him, the letter only indicated that the money was to enable the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department pay compensation to the Carmichael Family, whose property had been confiscated by the state in the Volta Region. However, when his outfit wrote back to the MoFEP, it took about four months to get the account number from the AG, which subsequently, delayed the process of payment.

He told the Commission that when the second letter came, the money was to be paid into an offshore account for the Carmichael Family. Mr. Kufei further explained that the money, which was initially quoted in US Dollars, was eventually paid in Cedis. However, as at the time of payment, due to inflation, the Cedi had depreciated, which led to the shortfall of that ridiculous GH¢530,628.44.

When asked by the Lead Counsel for the Commission, Dometi Kofi Sorkpor, as to whether the Aveyime Livestock Project existed, he responded negatively, saying his outfit only received instructions from the MoFEP to make a transfer to the said Carmichael Family. Again, when Mr. Sorpkor asked him whether the letter contained the origin of the Carmichael Family, he responded in the negative.

He submitted documents pertaining to the payments, and correspondence from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. Meanwhile, the Commission subpoenaed the Carmichael Family, through the media, but they did not appear.
According to the Sole Commissioner, Justice Yaw Appau, it appears the said Carmichael Family does not live in Ghana. However, the Commission would work on how to locate them.

On Monday, during the Commission’s sitting, the Assistant Director at the Banking Department of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Mr. Leslie Akrong, said his outfit received a letter dated January 6, 2009 from the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD), instructing it to transfer GH¢3,217,632 from the government’s main account, to the account of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department to offset judgement debt to the Carmichael Family.

Mr. Akrong, however, explained that the money was initially quoted in dollars, but was to be paid in cedis, and as at the time of effecting the transfer, inflation had affected the amount, leading to a shortfall of GH¢530,628.44. He said the bank wrote again to the CAGD to explain the situation. The Department, again, wrote to them, authorising them to transfer the said amount from the government’s main account into the account of the Ministry of Finance, for payment to be effected, to which the BoG again complied.