Trade Minsitry to pay GHS1,081,000.00 judgement debt to former CEO of GTFA

By Clement Edward Kumsah

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has offered to settle a judgement debt of GHS1,081,000.00 incurred by the Ghana Trade Fair Authority (GTFA) following an action brought against the company by its former CEO, Esther Ofori.

According to the Ministry, an amount of GHS320,000.00 out of GHS1,081,000.00 has been paid and the Ministry is now waiting for the court to reconcile the figures to take care of what is left.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry  Carlos Ahenkorah, disclosed this when he appeared before the Public Account Committee (PAC) to respond to questions on the 2016 Auditor General’s Report.

Esther Ofori had brought the action against GTFA for refusing to pay her benefits at the end of her tenure of office.

The court ordered the seizure of some properties of the company and blocked its account.

The Deputy Minister said the Ministry had engaged the court to determine the cost of the properties including vehicles which were auctioned.

This was to enable them to do the necessary reconciliation to pave way for payment of any outstanding debt.

Carlos Ahenkorah added that the Ministry had taken over the debt of the company and would do everything to prevent such occurrences in the future.

In some related judgement debt payment, the 2016 Auditor-General’s report has disclosed that the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice made payments to the tune of GHS 67,380,718.20 to Construction Pioneers (CP) as judgement debt without Cabinet’s approval.

The audit report stated that the Ministry “could not provide any documentation with regards to the court judgement” The report said: “Management’s failure to investigate the cause of the direct debit for appropriate action resulted in the anomaly.”

In 2012, the then-government, led by later president John Evans Atta Mills directed that judgements debts in excess of GHS10,000,000 be approved by Cabinet before settlement.

However, a review of bank documents of the ministry suggested that the 67 million was paid in two instalments: GHS42,820,418.48 on 20 February 2015 and GHS24,560,299.72 on 1 April 2015, even though no documentation points to approval by Cabinet at the time.

Also, The Ministry of Gender and Social Protection says it has repaid its judgment debt of GHS 236,000 owed to PC Doors Company following a court action by the company against the Ministry.

The judgement debt was incurred as a result of delay payment by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to PC Doors Company, which had supplied vocational tools to the Ministry for a skill development project.

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