AUDITOR-GENERAL CRIES FOUL Over GH¢218m payments in 2011 judgment debts
The Auditor-General, Richard Q. Quartey, is seething with anger over the payment of a total of GH¢217.971,387.68 towards judgment debts in 2011, aftertheWoyome, Construction Pioneers and Galloper deals, combined with other dubious judgment debts fleeced Ghana of GH¢275,917,484.25 needed for development projects in 2010.
Commenting on the haermorrhaging of nearly three trillion old cedis from state resources through the payments of dubious judgment debts last year under the supervision of the late Prof. John Evans FiifiAtta Mills, who has been virtually canonised as a saint in the eyes of party faithful since joining his ancestors,withthe active support of then Vice-President John Dramani Mahama,as Head of the Government’s Economic Management Team, the Auditor-General was emphatic: “These debts could have been avoided if due care was taken by the public officials in the discharge of their duties.”
The Woyome scandal has become the longest running financial soap opera in the country. Apparently, the government has not learnt anything from the giveaways that characterised the 2010 public expenditures.
“To minimisegovernment expenditure on judgment debts,” Mr.Quartey stated in his official letter to the Speaker of Parliament regarding the huge pay-outs, “Government officials whose actions and inactions result in the imposition of judgment debts on the state, should be surcharged.”
In addition, the Auditor-General made the following recommendation: “I recommend that the Government of Ghana should sensitise public officials whose negligence lead to such losses, to exercise proper judgment in the course of their official duties.”
As a matter of interest, some of those organisations and individuals who featured prominently in the huge payments in the 2010 judgments debts were also cited in the 2011. Waterville, according to the 2011 Audit Report, received a quantum amount of GH¢53,753,318.66.
According to the official entry, the huge payment was towards “Settlement agreement payment for works executed, loss of profit and damages for wrongful termination of contract in respect of the rehabilitation of three stadia.”
Construction Pioneers, which featured prominently in judgment debts in 2010, received one payment of GH¢73,339,646.54 in 2011. In 2010, Construction Pioneers was paid a total of GH¢70,071,704.99. The Auditor-General said that the two payments were in respect of “settlement agreement in respect of certain road projects.”
It is almost inevitable that Mr. Alfred AgbesiWoyome, said to be a bank-roller of the ruling NDC, featured again in the 2011 payments after the furore caused by the state dole-out to him in 2011. According to the Auditor-General, an amount of GH¢34,188,987.06 was advanced to the man who was said to be a personal friend of the deceased President John Evans Atta Mills.
According to the 2011 Report, Mr. Woyome was paid GH¢17,094,493,53 in 2010. The two payments, in the words of the Auditor-General, were in respect of the rehabilitation of three stadia.
The disclosure last year that a GH¢51 million of state money had been paid to Mr. Woyome, createda huge furore. The Attorney-General went to the Accra Financial High Court to try and retrieve the amount. Mr. Woyome is also in court on a criminal charge of causing financial loss to the state.
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