Captain Anthony Cudjoe (rtd)
The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) was yesterday chided by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament for paying unnecessary and avoidable judgement debts to individuals and companies the assembly dealt with in its dealings.
The assembly paid a total of GH¢856,033 judgement debts between 2011 and 2012 from its common fund for failing to honour contractual payments and for trespassing on individual’s land.
An amount of GH¢500,000 was paid to United Domestic Metal Ware Ltd and GH¢19,497 to Universal Company Ltd for refuse evacuation in the metropolis.
The assembly also misapplied parts of its common fund on payment of ex-gratia and sitting allowances to assembly members amounting to GH¢65,000 and GH¢15,577 respectively.
The chairman of the committee, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said the assembly could have avoided the judgement debts if those charged with ensuring that companies which were engaged by the assembly were promptly paid or arrangement made for payment of their services.
“This money could have been used to build two six-unit classroom blocks for some communities which do not have schools or that money could have been used to clear refuse in the metropolis for three months,” he said, adding that all the money had gone to waste because of negligence of some people at the assembly.
The committee was firm to ask the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE), Captain Anthony Cudjoe (rtd) to be surcharged with an amount of GH¢4,810 for asking the metro guards to forcibly eject one Ernest Tandoh from his private property at Takoradi.
The MCE agreed to pay that amount.
He was given two weeks to pay the money – which was wrongly paid as judgement debt – into the coffers of the assembly, but pleaded for one month.
The MCE explained to the committee that the assembly incurred the judgement debts because their solicitor or lawyer was either lackadaisical or did not show much interest in those cases that were brought against it (assembly).
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
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