General News of Friday, 12 July 2019
The Akufo-Addo government has spent in excess of GHS283 million in paying judgement debts since it came into office, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has revealed.
This was disclosed on the floor of parliament by Mr Ofori-Atta who appeared before the house on Friday, 12 July 2019, to answer a question tabled by the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson.
According to Mr Ofori-Atta, he did not have the specifics of the payments but indicated that “year to date payment, as I mentioned, is GHS283,256,267”.
The minister’s response did not sit well with Mr Forson, who told Class91.3FM’s parliamentary correspondent, Ekow Annan, after the session that the judgment debt payments need further interrogation.
“[Mr Ofori-Atta] has the responsibility to give us the breakdown as to who the Ministry of Finance has paid. On authority, we are hearing that they have paid the likes of McDan, they have paid Bankswitch, they have paid even the Special Prosecutor a number of judgment debts. As to whether they qualify to receive that amount, it is something we have to investigate,” he said.
The opposition lawmaker continued: “If it is for Bankswitch, Bankswitch does not deserve that GHS80 million because before when we [NDC] left office, we had negotiated with Bankswitch that we are not going to pay that GHS80 million as interest and Bankswitch has written to accept that position and we have letters to that effect”.
In the case of the alleged McDan money payment, Mr Forson said: “McDan does not qualify to be paid judgment debt because as long as we are concerned, it is not a judgment thing and we don’t know anything about it”.
He also pointed out that: “I also do not think that in the case of the Special Prosecutor that we are hearing that he went to court, there was a default judgement and the Special Prosecutor has been paid some amount for the fact that he was wrongly sacked as a minister of state. Whether that qualifies as judgement debt or not we want to seek further and better particulars”.
The MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam Constituency also rejected allegations that the past government left a judgement debt arrears of GHS200 million.
“We dispute that we left about GHS200 million being a judgment debt. We did not leave that kind of amount as judgment debt”.