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Attorney General’s Department hot over GHS67m Judgement debt

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The office of the Attorney General’s Department (AG) has come under severe scrutiny for paying a judgement debt of over GHS67 million to Construction Pioneers, a firm in construction without Cabinet’s approval.

The Auditors General in its Report covering the year 2016 on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s ) caught the AG ‘Red Handed’ for paying such a huge amount without cabinet approval.

Current Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Akuffo tried to defend the payment by showing a Cabinet Decision Note authorizing the said payments, however, members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) were not impressed with such a document outside an explicit cabinet approval.

The Audit Report titled, “Failure to seek cabinet approval before paying judgement debt of GH¢67,380,718.20,” stated that, “a review of the bank statement of the Ministry disclosed that a payment of GHc67, 380,718.20 (direct debit) was made to Construction Pioneers as judgement debt on behalf of the state without any reference to Cabinet.”

“The Ministry could not provide any documentation with regards to the Court Judgement. Management’s failure to investigate the cause of the direct debit for appropriate action resulted in the anomaly. We recommended that all payment above the threshold be referred to cabinet for approval. Management should also obtain the court judgement and all relevant documents to authenticate the payment,” the Audit Report read.

The payment was made in two tranches. On February 20, 2015, the Attorney General paid Construction Pioneers an amount of. GHS 42,820,418.48 and on April 1, 2015, Construction Pioneers was again paid GHS 24,560,299.72, making a total GHS67, 380,718.20.

These payments were made despite regulations that all Judgement Debt claims exceeding GH¢10,000,000.00 should first be submitted to cabinet for approval.

Nevertheless, the PAC Committee advised that all payment above the GHc10 million threshold be referred to Cabinet for approval and that management should also obtain the court judgement and all relevant documents to authenticate the payment.

Dr James Klutse Avedzi, stressed the need for reduction of debt as well as taking into consideration to the root causes, so the nation do not unnecessarily plunge into debt.

Source: Whatsupnews Ghana

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