Commissioner unhappy with AG “weak defence” in GH¢11m judgment debt case

law-and-justiceThe Commission on Judgment Debt on Tuesday expressed disappointment at the weak defence the Attorney General’s Department put up in a case relating to the payment of compensation on the Second Infantry Brigade’s land in Kumasi

Mr. Justice Yaw Apau, sole Commissioner for Judgment Debt, said the Attorney General’s Department in the Ashanti Region failed to provide a strong defence for the defendants, leading to the payment of judgment debt to the tune of GH¢11,000,000.00 to the plaintiffs.

The Commissioner expressed the disappointment when Mr William Kpobi, the Chief State Attorney in the region appeared before it at Commission’s sitting in Accra.

Mr. Justice Apau said government paid GH¢11,000,000.00 as compensation to Nana Kwaku Duah Appianin III and two others in a case against the Ministry of Defence and Attorney General’s Department in 2009.

The Commissioner said records available indicated that the Attorney General’s Department, which was supposed to defend the interest of the state, rather strengthened the plaintiff’s case by asking the Lands Commission officer in Kumasi to evaluate the land for the plaintiff.

He said even though the Attorney General’s Department was aware that there were other claimants to the disputed land, it failed to put up a defence for the state.

The Attorney General’s Department also failed to inform the Ministry of Defence, which was a defendant in the case.

“It is as if the whole case was cooked and the money paid was shared”, he said.

Mr. Kpobi, however, denied that the Attorney General’s Department provided a weak defence for the defendants in order to benefit financially from the case.

He said the Attorney General’s Department did its best to defend the case but judgment was passed in favour of the plaintiff.

Mr. Kpobi, however, admitted that some errors were committed with regards to the way the case was handled.

Mr Stephen Oduro Kwarteng, a Deputy Chief Lands Administration Officer, who also appeared before the Commission to testify on the case, said Mr Kofi Owusu Opoku, the former Ashanti Regional Lands Commissioner in Kumasi instructed him to evaluate the land.

He said he was later served with a letter to appear before a Kumasi High Court to give evidence on the valuation of the land.

Mr George Kissi Nyame, a Quantity Surveyor at the Frandesco West Africa Limited, also submitted documents to the Commissioner over a judgment debt paid in relation to a contract awarded by the Ministry of Roads and Highway to Frandesco, which was later terminated.

The Mahogany Furniture Company Limited also presented documents to the Commission in relation to a judgment debt that was paid to it.

Source: GNA

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