Ghana’s President to appoint Commissioner to oversea gov’t judgement debts

The President is to appoint a Sole Commissioner to thoroughly examine the judgement debts and negotiated settlements conundrum and recommend for immediate implementation legislative and systems remediation.

The overall purpose of this should be to refashion and systematise the procedures for negotiating, contracting, executing, monitoring and resolving disputes involving business transactions, where the government was a party.

President John Dramani Mahama, who made this known when he outlined his policy direction in Accra yesterday, said “in particular, Ghanaian fora must be the primary venue for the resolution of disputes over contracts that are performed in Ghana”.

He pledged to ensure that all monies wrongfully paid to individuals and institutions under the guise of judgement debts were retrieved.

President Mahama underscored the need for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Attorney-General’s Department to continue to improve both preventive and defensive methods for insulating government against these losses, including judgement debts.

President Mahama explained, however, that the government would not disrupt the court processes or second-guess judges, the approach which even some who profess belief in the rule of law appear to urge government to adopt.

Paradoxically, the President said under the1992 Constitution, the management of both public and private lands had disintegrated into near chaos, explaining that efforts were currently being made under the Land Administration Project to address these concerns.

President Mahama said the Cabinet had also approved a number of proposals for streamlining processes for the acquisition and disposal of public lands; the payment of compensation to persons whose lands had been so acquired; the return of public lands to the original owners in situations where the lands were not used for public purposes and the resolution of transparency and conflict of interest situations in the disposition of public lands.

The President further instructed the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to immediately accelerate the implementation of those Cabinet decisions to show results in the next few months and also submit proposals to his office by next week to review the performance of the lands institutions to inject greater transparency into the lands sub-sector without delay.

Mr Mahama said one of the unique aspects of the country’s evolving democracy was the prominence and effectiveness of organised civil society, adding that transparency and accountability in government were only possible if members of civil society demanded accountability and the government developed the capacity to respond.

“I took an oath of office on the 24th of July, 2012 which enjoins me to be single-minded in the pursuit of the national interest. I intend to live by every word of that oath. I recognise that corruption takes away from the collective and benefits only a few. It leaves us all poorer because we need all the resources that are available to undertake the development projects that will benefit us all. We must be serious about combating corruption at all levels of our national life,” he noted.

President Mahama reaffirmed his pledge to strengthen the institutions that investigated issues of corruption particularly among government officials, stressing that corruption, whatever the political colour it wore, was a canker that must be rooted out.

Source: Daily Graphic

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