Dr Edward Omane Boamah, Minister of Communications, has urged the media to develop interest in judgement debts issues in its totality and stop being selective over the matter in their discourse.
He urged the media to do further investigations on the on-going “Woyome Judgement Debt Saga” and bring the outcome to their listeners and audience.
The Minister who was speaking during his turn of the meet-the-press series in Accra, said the media was silent on the numerous judgement debt cases that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, the flag bearer of the new Patriotic Party vehemently defended in 2011, barely three years after he left the office as the Attorney General.
Dr Boamah mentioned Balkan Energy Ghana Limited, Sweater and Socks, the Drill Ship saga; and the case of Great Cape Company Limited as some of the issues that the media must interrogate and educate the public on their findings.
“In the case involving Woyome, the Attorney General mentioned the efforts they were putting in so far to retrieve the money…she even went ahead to mention UT Bank… what is preventing those media who claimed they are interested in the issue from contacting UT Bank to ascertain the truth?
“I hope the selectivity the media approach the issue, especially Joy Prime TV will go beyond the December 7 General Election and probably, delve into other judgement debt issues as well to prove their test of sincerity,” he said.
Dr Boamah assured the public that President Mahama was committed to retrieve every pesewa from the judgement debts and advised the public against playing football with the issue.
He said in recent times however, some politicians had sought to exploit genuine concerns held by sections of the Ghanaian public, equally shared by Government on the issue of judgement debts for parochial partisan gain.
Dr Boamah said despite the availability of copious evidence of specific steps taken to preserve the interest of the nation in a number of cases, a deliberate effort was being made by these partisan elements in conjunction with a small section of the media aligned to their cause to paint a contrary picture.
“They will not succeed; because the truth is on our side,” he added.
He said for the avoidance of doubt, President Mahama’s Government had fought cases of judgment debts and potential judgment debts more vigorously than previous Governments.
“In less than four years, we have successfully defended and saved Ghana over 1 billion dollars and these include cases involving Balkan Energy Ghana Ltd, Sweater and Socks among others.
In tackling the problem head-on, President Mahama set up the Sole Commission of Inquiry to investigate payments from public funds arising from judgment debts.
“The revelations ranging from the Drill Ship saga, to some terrible technical mistakes on the part of officialdom are amazing. Notwithstanding the legal obstacles deliberately put in our way to obstruct full implementation of the recommendations of the Sole Commissioner, we are still pursuing every available option to ensure justice is done,” he added.
The Minister said: “It is noteworthy, that some of the politicians and their surrogates making the loudest noise can be found culpable when their foot is exposed to the fire of scrutiny. Like they say in the Akan proverb, ‘he who has a fluffy substance stuck in the natal cleft should not traverse the path of fire’.”
“We note, and regrettably so, that some people opposed to this administration in a bid to curry favour with the electorate and undermine Government’s reputation for electoral gain have continued to distort facts and in conjunction with their allies concealed glaring instances of incompetence and or collusion of their leaders in major judgment debt cases.
“President Mahama abhors payment of dubious judgment debts. Indeed we are preventing and fighting cases as you can find from the eleven cases listed from page 154 of the book- ‘Accounting to The People’ aka ‘The Greenbook’. We also equally abhor double standards and exploitation of the genuine concerns of the people for partisan gain.”
THE DRILL SHIP SAGA
Dr Boamah said it was revealed during the work of the Sole Commissioner, that the leader of the largest opposition party, whose party has led the deliberate distortion and patent falsehoods about judgment debts, failed inexplicably to defend the interest of the state in the infamous GNPC vs Societe General suit in a London court.
He said the then Attorney General Nana Akufo Addo withdrew the legal representation of GNPC in the case. His failure to replace the lawyers of the GNPC or to represent them himself in court, led to the award of a colossal $48 million default judgement against the Ghana Government and the Taxpayer.
“At the public hearing on the matter, then Minister for Energy at the time of the Drill Ship saga, Albert Kan Dapaah, revealed that Societe General in the course of the London court hearing sent an emissary to Ghana who offered to settle the claim with an amount of $14 million in lieu of the potential $48 million outcome. Nana will neither settle nor defend potential cases of judgment debt.”
The Minister said the current NPP leader as Attorney General failed to bring this negotiation to the attention of the London court leading to the award of 48 million dollars which was later negotiated downwards.
He said according to the Sole Commissioner’s report, had Nana Akufo Addo, been more diligent, the most judgement debt that Ghana would have been saddled with would have been $14 million and not the colossal $48 million.
“Contrast this with the approach of President Mahama who when confronted with the canker of judgment debts, opened them up to be investigated and where necessary commenced prosecutions or any other necessary actions,” added.
THE GREAT CAPE COMPANY LTD.
He said the facts of the Great Cape case arises out of a dispute between Ghana National Procurement Agency (GNPA) and Great Cape Company Limited.
“In 1978, the former contracted the latter to supply 200,000 tonnes of cement. Along the line, the contract was abrogated and “full and final’ settlement paid according to a letter written by then finance Minister Mr Richard Kwame Pepra.
“Shockingly, the Great Cape Company Limited brought a frivolous application to “hoodwink“ the state and the taxpayer. Unfortunately Nana Akufo Addo came to their aid! And here is the evidence.
“On 3rd October, 2011, three years after leaving office, Nana wrote a letter to support the Great Cape Company in furtherance of its illegitimate claims on Government and the Taxpayer, “I am somewhat disturbed by its contents, which have led to the unusual request contained in the letter.
“It is disconcerting to find that public record keeping has fallen into such straits that the files on this matter cannot be found either in the Ministry of Justice or in the Ministry of Finance. Be that as it may, it would be unconscionable on the part of Government if its poor record keeping is used to defeat legitimate claims of its creditors.”
The Minister said Nana Addo was wrong because Great Cape Company did not have any ‘’legitimate claims’’ to make, adding, Great Cape Company Limited was trying to “hoodwink” the state and the taxpayer, and he (Nana Addo) incompetently fell for it.
Dr Boamah said President Mahama’s records in tackling judgement debt was superior and the best compared to the previous government.