Government Pays GH¢283m Judgement Debt Since 2017

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. 

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 Jnr

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