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30.05.2012 Politics

Kunbuor Faces Betty’s Mess

By Daily Guide
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ATTORNEY-GENERAL and Minister of Justice, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor and his team of lawyers at the Attorney-General's Department would be facing the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament today for the second time over the controversial €94 million judgment debt payment to Construction Pioneers (CP).

The PAC Chairman, Albert Kan-Dapaah told DAILY GUIDE that Attorney-General was meeting the parliamentary committee for them to 'tie up some few knots' on the contentious issue.

President Atta Mills' cabinet, in a letter written by Chief of Staff Henry M. Newman, had already indicated it had not given approval for the payment, which was spearheaded by former Attorney-General, Betty Mould-Iddrisu.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Kunbuor appeared before the PAC, during which he virtually parried most of the questions thrown at him with legal jargons, an interaction members of the committee believed did not adequately clarify the issues concerning the CP's cash receipts.

Another person to re-appear before the PAC, according Mr. Kan-Dapaah, is Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, who is at the center of the whole judgment debt controversy.

Betty, who was said to have unilaterally negotiated the payment settlement in March 2010 and committed government to pay the whopping amount of €94,000,000 to CP for alleged wrongful abrogation of some contracts by the State in 2003, had already appeared before the PAC on the issue with her lawyer, Nana Ato Dadzie.

It was revealed that even before the agreement was reached, the embattled former Attorney-General authorized the payment of €14million to the construction firm as part payment of the negotiated settlement claims of €94 million.

Following this, a payment schedule was further approved by Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu for the settlement of the remaining amount of €80 million by the end of June 2012.

DAILY GUIDE has learnt that more money had been paid to CP per the settlement agreement reached with Betty, and it is likely to be captured in the 2011 Auditor General's report to Parliament.

The former Attorney-General committed the State to the payment at the time CP owed the state several millions in unpaid taxes.

However, her troubles have since been far from over in the controversial judgment debt saga as Castle, the seat of government, recently indicated it had no knowledge about the payments made to CP.

It would be recalled that last week, the DAILY GUIDE published the latest twist to the controversial saga in which the presidency officially indicated that cabinet had not approved the payment, leaving the former Attorney-General in the cold.

In a letter dated March 22, 2012, signed by the Chief of Staff, Henry M. Newman to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, the presidency washed its hands off the deal, stating, 'I regret to inform you that we have not found any information in respect of Cabinet Approval of the Settlement Agreement referred to in your said letter'.

The letter was in response to an earlier one dated March 5, 2012 from the PAC Chairman, Mr. Kan-Dapaah, asking the presidency to furnish the parliamentary committee with information on whether or not cabinet had approved the payment of €80million to Construction Pioneers as part of the €94 million.

By Awudu Mahama

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