Kunbuor Speaks On CP's â‚¬94 million Deal
6/12/2012 2:01:50 PM -
ATTORNEY-GENERAL and Minister for Justice Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor and his team of lawyers at the Attorney-General's Department would face the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament today to answer queries concerning the controversial â‚¬94 million judgment debt payment to Construction Pioneers (CP).
The PAC, chaired by Albert Kan-Dapaah, was supposed to have bantered with the Attorney-General on a number of issues on the CP deal yesterday, but the anticipated interaction could not come on due to unforeseen circumstances.
Journalists who had been waiting patiently in a conference room for the programme were later told by Jones Kugblenu, Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, that the event could not come on due to an 'unavoidable reason'.
According to him, there was a break in communication between Parliament and the Attorney-General's Department about yesterday's anticipated sitting, pointing out the hearing would rather start today, through to Friday, June 15.
Kunbuor is expected to answer questions relating to the Attorney-General's involvement in the negotiations with CP on the settlement agreement and the authorization process which led to the payment of the judgment debt to the construction firm.
He may also be required to substantiate some concerns raised in the documents his office had presented to the PAC.
It would be recalled that PAC could not sit on the controversial issue on May 30, 2012 because the state broadcaster, Ghana Television, failed to give live coverage.
Even though the event did not come on that day, Attorney-General Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor volunteered information that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) might dole out more of the taxpayers' money to Construction Pioneers in addition to the whopping â‚¬94million. He indicated that government had defaulted in its payment schedule of the â‚¬94million to CP, and therefore might be compelled to pay more cash to the construction company.
Dr. Kunbuor told members of the PAC that there could be more financial loss to the state through another judgment debt as government had failed to pay the March 2012 instalment of the cash.
Government had, in a negotiated settlement spearheaded by former Attorney-General Betty Mould-Iddrisu in March 2010, agreed to pay CP an amount of â‚¬94,000,000 for alleged wrongful abrogation of some contracts by the State in 2003.
Subsequently, a payment schedule was approved by the former Attorney-General for the settlement of a remaining amount of â‚¬80million by the end of June 2012 after she had authorized the payment of â‚¬14million to the construction firm as part payment of the â‚¬94million.
According to Dr. Kunbuor, government failed to pay the instalment for March because the matter was before the Parliamentary committee.
He said he wrote a letter to the PAC to find out whether the payment of the instalment could affect the matter before the committee but unfortunately he did not receive any response.
The Attorney-General indicated that government did not pay the money because it feared such a move could be prejudicial to the matter before the committee.
But the PAC Chairman, Albert Kan-Dapaah, pointed out the payment of the whole amount to CP was a government decision which did not concern the parliamentary committee.
By Awudu Mahama