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AG halts payment of GHȻ352.6 million judgement debt

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, has referred the matter of how a contract sum of $7.7 million changed into GHȻ352.6 million to the security agencies for further investigations.

Meanwhile, the Attorney-General’s (A-G’s) Department has succeeded in staying the execution of a High Court judgement given in favour of the China Jilin International Economic and Technical Corporation (CJIETC) which led to the CJIETC entering judgement against the state in the sum of GHcC352.6 million.

Consequently, the government will pay the company GHȻ94,000, instead of the GHȻ352.6 million (US$103 million).

A source close to the A-G’s Department told Graphiconline that the A-G had, in February 2015, contracted the international audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), to audit the claims submitted by the CJIETC because of the huge amount involved.

Mr Justice Robin B. Batu had given judgement in favour of CJIETC and the company subsequently entered judgement for GHȻ352.6 million, but the state, dissatisfied, appealed and filed for stay of execution

The High Court, presided over by Mr Justice N.M.C. Abodakpi, on March 19, 2015 listened to the arguments of the parties and, accordingly, stayed execution.

It also directed the State to pay the face value of a particular certificate, which was GHc94,000.

A-G’s grounds 

The source further said the A-G decided to appeal the judgement of the High Court because the State disagreed with the judgement and considered completely flawed the subsequent entry of judgement filed by the plaintiff in the sum of GHc352.6 million.

“Mr Justice Abodakpi agreed with the state, stayed execution and said the state should pay the face value of a particular certificate, which was GHc94,000, thereby saving the state several hundred millions of cedis.

“Special commendation goes to the attorneys in Kumasi, who were led by a Chief State Attorney, Mr Agyemang Duodu, to battle the plaintiff,” it said.

A-G contracts audit firm

The source said the A-G contracted PwC to investigate the circumstances giving rise to that adverse result.

The areas of investigation, among others, were the bona fides of CJIETC, analysis of works delivered by the company, compared to the amounts paid to it, and assessment of the extent of works completed as of the date of termination of the contract.

Background

A High Court in Kumasi, on June 2, 2014, upheld a motion submitted by CJIETC, resulting in the company entering judgement for GHc352,623,144.40 and $1 million.

The company had, in 1996, won a bid for the execution of the project, “Kejetia Redevelopment and Traffic Management and Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project”, for completion within 15 months.

But on October 21, 1997, the contract was terminated, based on recommendations by consultants on the project.

As of the time of the termination, the company had executed less than five per cent of the contract work.

According to the A-G’s Department, the work performed by the company was assessed, certificates issued and payments effected, but the contractor later decided to sue the government.

Available records show that the case commenced in 2005, was concluded in 2013 and judgement given in June 2014.

Number crunch

A GHc352.6 million and US$1 million claim submitted by a private company against the government has been slashed to GHc94,000 after the Attorney-General’s Department had appealed the judgement and challenged the content of the entry of judgement filed by the plaintiff.

– See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/40650-ag-halts-payment-of-gh-352-6-million-judgement-debt.html#sthash.OfLwPvWs.dpuf

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