The Sole Commissioner on Judgement Debt, Mr Justice Yaw Apau and President Mahama

The circumstances under which the state paid GH?546,000 in judgement debt for a contract worth GH?1,280 stunned the audience at yesterday?s public sitting of the Commission of Inquiry investigating judgement debt payments.

Kae Company Limited had secured judgement for the payment of the whopping amount after a contract it was awarded by the government to construct an irrigation facility in the Northern Region was terminated.

The Northern Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) and the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL) were said to have awarded the contract to Kae Company Limited in October, 1984.

But the Board Secretary of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), Mr Patrick Osew-Owusu, appearing before the commission, said the contract was not properly awarded.

He said apart from not consulting GIDA, the RCC and AESL had no right to award a contract, which was under the mandate of GIDA.

Moreover, he said, GIDA had not completed the design for the irrigation project based on which it could be awarded on contract.

Although Mr Osew-Owusu did not stamp a suggestion by the Sole Commissioner, Mr Justice Yaw Apau, that the manner in which the contract was awarded smacked of gross negligence or recklessness, he (Osew-Owusu) said it was ?over-exuberance? on the part of the AESL.

He said the AESL should have been mindful of its mandate.

Mr Osew-Owusu said as an independent organisation under MOFA, GIDA had the mandate to award its own contracts.

He said GIDA had petitioned the RCC against the award of the contract, citing the aforementioned reasons, based on which the contract was suspended in December, 1984 and eventually terminated in February, 1985.

Kae Company Limited subsequently took the matter to court and secured judgement for the payment of GH?4,100. But the company went to court again, and this time, secured judgement payment of GH?546,000.

The Worakesehene, Nana Owusu Achiaw Prempeh II, also appeared before the commission to give testimony to the judgement debt payment of GH?27 million in respect of compensation for 107 acres of land acquired by the state in 1943.

He said the traditional authority had released the land free to the state for a hospital project but the project was subsequently abandoned.

However, he said, instead of the state returning the land to its original owners, it gave it to the State Housing Corporation (SHC) for the construction of housing units, and to the Ghana Police Service for the construction of barracks.

Nana Prempeh said at various times, the traditional authority petitioned the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administrations for the payment of compensation for the land.

He said a Minister of Lands under the Kufuor administration had directed the Lands Valuation Board to value the land for the payment of compensation but following what it perceived to be delays in that exercise, the traditional authority sought to redeem justice via court.

Nana Prempeh said the traditional authority secured judgement for the payment of GH?49 million as compensation, but upon subsequent negotiation with the Attorney-General, the state finally paid GH?27 million.

The public sitting of the commission continues today with representatives of Consar Limited, Michelletti Company Limited and the Ministry of Lands and Forestry expected to make an appearance.

Credit : Daily Graphic

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