Judgment Debts Commission Sweats To See Mahama

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And Handover Report

Just like the fate, suffered by the Commission of Inquiry sanctioned by the President to investigate the shambolic performance of the senior national team, the Black Stars in last year’s World Cup fiesta in Brazil, the Judgment Debt Commission, is facing a similar predicament.

The Herald is learning that the Sole Commissioner, Justice Yaw Appau, sworn-in October 2012 and charged with the responsibility of investigating issues related to judgment debt payments from 1992, is finding it very difficult to see President John Dramani Mahama, to present the final report which includes, recommendations for his consideration and possible implementation.

It is not clear why the handlers of President Mahama, have brushed aside the need to make way for the report to be presented to him, but rather allowed the appointment of Justice Yaw Appau, a court of appeals judge, and a one-time Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister and Gabriel Pwamang of the People’s National Convention (PNC) as Supreme Court judges, to precede the submission of the all-important report.

The Commission, ended its public hearing on Thursday, November 6, 2014, but over six months after the announcement by the respected jurist, Justice Appau, that it was ending it hearing and was retiring to prepare its final report, access is yet to be created for him to handover the document to President Mahama.

Interestingly, President Mahama, had on countless occasion mentioned the commission as the situation towards the payment of unnecessary judgment debt payment arising out of the reckless behaviors of the government appointees, civil and public servants.

Justice Appau, had earlier announced that the Commission was going to end its sitting at the end of October, 2014, but explained that the postponement of the sitting was necessitated by the pendency of some cases before the commission.

Insiders say, the report has neatly been printed and bind for onward submission to President Mahama, they is no date yet in sight to do so.

The Sole Commissioner at the time said, the commission continued to receive petitions, but could not delve into them. While indicating that some of the petitions, had serious questions, he said the commission would capture their essence in its final report

The Commission began its public sitting on November 28, 2012 at the Old Parliament House in Accra, but after more than a year of sitting, fire gutted the building in December, 2013. Most of the documents that the commission had accumulated during the period were destroyed by the fire.

Following the fire and its effects, the Commission had to suspend sitting for some months and was later relocated to the current venue near the US embassy in Accra in July, 2014.

Prominent personalities who appeared before the Commission included, a former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, a former Energy Minister under the Kufuor administration, Albert Kan-Dapaah, his former Deputy, Kwabena Tahir Hammond and Tsatsu Tsikata, formerly of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

Nana Konadu, was at the commission to answer questions relating to the payment of GH¢4.9 million compensation to Calf Cocoa International Ghana Limited.

The company, was a joint venture between Caridem Development Ghana Limited and the Chinese International Company for Agriculture and Fisheries.

One of the cases that made waves at the Commission was the sale of a drillship belonging to the GNPC.

Messrs Kan-Dapaah, Hammond and others, appeared before the Commission to answer questions about their involvement in the sale of the ship.

Tsatsu Tsikata, gave evidence on the acquisition of the ship, a case the GNPC had with the French Bank, Societe Generale, and how Nana Akufo-Addo, failed to defend Ghana as Attoney General and Minster Justice, but settled on the cheaper option of selling the national asset to a questionable claim which was under litigation in a UK high court.

The GNPC drillship, Discoverer 511, was sold to pay off a $19.5 million judgment debt owed to French multinational bank, Societe Generale.
Mr. Hammond, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi-Asokwa in the Ashanti Region’s appearance, was with drama on live television at the Commission’s sitting.

The MP, had sought to draw the attention of the Sole Commissioner to the many reports on him in the media that he squandered the money realized from the sale of the drillship and that the accusation according to him, had led to his aging and ailing mother asking questions. But long before he could complete his narration, the MP broke down in tears.

It is not clear what is holding back attempts by the Commission to present its findings and recommendations to the president, but it would be recall that barely a month ago, similar issue cropped up as the Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the issues surrounding the participation of the Black Stars at the World cup in 2014, had to go through so much hustle, before it was able to present it report to the president.

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