Controversy deepens on GH¢34.7m judgement debt payment

The controversy surrounding the payment of GH¢34.7 million compensation to a timber merchant, Nana Emmanuel Woode, deepened yesterday when senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) and the Controller and Accountant-General Department (CAGD) told the Judgement Debt Commission (JDC) that their outfits did not know the reason behind the payment of the money.

The Director in charge of External Resource Mobilisation of MoFEP, Mr Kwadwo Awuah-Peasah, and a Deputy Controller and Accountant-General in charge of Treasuries, Mr Andrews Kingsley Kwadzo Kufe, confirmed that the GH¢34.7 was paid to Nana Woode, but indicated that they could not locate any documents to show the original transaction that necessitated the payment of the money to Nana Woode. 

Mr Awuah-Peasah said MoFEP gave the approval for the payment of the GH¢34.7 million to Nana Woode in 2006.

The instruction letter for the payment, dated December 29, 2006, was signed by a former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, who is now deceased.

No documentation
However, Awuah-Peasah said, he could not locate the original file ‘to tell the reason why the amount was paid’.

Confirming that position, Mr Kufe said MoFEP, in an instruction letter dated December 29, 2006, directed the CAGD to effect the payment of GHc34.7 million to Nana Woode.

Consequently, he said, the Controller and Accountant-General wrote a letter on the same date of December 29, 2006 to the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to pay the money to Nana Woode.

Upon that instruction, Mr Kufe said, the BoG effected the payment of the GHc34.7 million to Nana Woode on January 4, 2007.

However, he said, the CAGD did not have any documentation to indicate the reason behind the payment of the GHc34.7 million to Nana Woode.

Nana Woode sued the state for confiscating his two timber companies – Holex Ghana Limited and Priorities Ghana Limited, both located at Akim Oda in the Eastern Region, and obtained the GH¢34.7 million compensation in 2006.

When the Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), Mr Asakkua Agambila, appeared before the JDC two months ago, he said the DIC was not aware of Nana Woode’s case against the state or the payment of the judgement debt.

He explained that Holex and Priorities were never listed for divestiture.

The Chief Investigation Officer in charge of Confiscated Assets at the Office of the President, Mr John Kweku Mensah, also stunned the commission when he told its sitting about two months ago that the Confiscated Assets Committee (CAC) did not have any records on the confiscation of the two companies.

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