Ken Ofori Atta – Finance Minister
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has so far paid a total of GH¢283 million judgement debt since it took over power in January 2017 out of the GH¢482.4 million judgement debt inherited from the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, who made this known in parliament last week in response to a question by a Member of Parliament (MP), said since the NPP government took over power, it has presided over a number of judgement debt cases pending in courts, which have crystallised into an additional amount of GH¢197 million, bringing the total debt to GH¢679.4 million from which the GH¢283 million has been paid so far.
The question of how much judgement debt has been paid by the present NPP government since January 2017 stood in the name of the NDC MP for Mion, Mohammed Abdul-Aziz.
According to the minister, the NPP administration is committed to protecting the public purse and ensuring value for money and has, therefore, made it a policy to renegotiate as much as possible judgement debts with beneficiaries.
He indicated that through renegotiation of judgement debts, the NPP government has been able to save a whopping GH¢90 million for the nation.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said, for instance, that in one case, the government was supposed to pay a judgement debt of GH¢180 million but through government’s efforts, the judgement debts was renegotiated to GH¢130 million, saving the nation an amount of GH¢50 million.
The minister explained that the payments of judgement debts have been made at a huge cost to the taxpayer and in most cases have distorted government budgets.
He said these have occurred as a result of unpredictable breaches in contracts and unethical behaviour of public officers who have been entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of the public purse.
Mr. Ofori-Atta added that when these breaches occur, the government is forced to pay these judgements through court orders.
“Mr. Speaker, the issue of judgement debts is a horrible situation in our country which is seriously affecting our public purse and, therefore, the Akufo-Addo government is very much committed to minimising the incidents of judgement debts in the system basically through renegotiation process,” he mentioned.
He added that the NPP government will prioritise all judgement debts with the legal offices at the various ministries, departments and agencies and start any renegotiation and when there is need to go to court, the government will be attending courts regularly to defend such cases.
The ranking member of the Finance Committee and NDC MP for Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam, Ato Forson, said the amount of judgement debts paid by the present NPP government so far will be interrogated by the minority in parliament as to who and who have benefitted from the GH¢283 million paid so far.
By Thomas Fosu JnrRead Full Story