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Editorial | Oct 2, 2012

Did Betty Mould-Iddrisu take the right decision?

By Ghanaian Chronicle

After 55 years of existence of Ghana as a state, the late President Fiifi Atta Mills appointed the first woman Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in the person of Madam Betty Mould Iddrisu in 2009.

Betty, as she is popularly known, was being supported by the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Jeremiah John Rawlings, and his wife, Nana Konadu, to become the running mate to the then NDC presidential candidate, John Mills, in 2008.

The late Ekumfi Otuam-born Law Professor, however, decided to practice the 'positive defiance' theory he learnt from the same NDC founder, and rejected the pressures on him to name Betty as his running mate.

When the late President ascended the presidency, he decided to reward Betty by appointing her to the enviable position of Attorney General and Minister of Justice.  Unfortunately, the former A-G lost a string of cases, which apparently forced the late President to reshuffle her to the Education Ministry, before she finally bid farewell to the government by resigning from her position.

Despite her poor show as A-G, it would be wrong for one to conclude that the state did not benefit from her expertise as a lawyer. At least, she was able to win some of the cases, and one of them was the action brought against the state by Hamester, owners of West Africa Mills Company Limited (WAMCO), a cocoa processing company based in Takoradi.

Hamester had dragged the government of Ghana to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), claiming breaches for aspects of the investment contracts it had in Ghana, and was demanding 100 million Euros as compensation.

The government's legal team, led by Betty Mould-Iddrisu, managed to punch holes in the claims made by Hamester, and subsequently, won the case on behalf of the state.

Unfortunately, she failed to submit documents detailing the amount the government had spent as legal fees in pursuing the case. As a result of this, the court failed to award any cost against Hamester, and the £2,326,712.84 her outfit spent in defending Ghana went down the drain.

Two million pounds can build a number classroom blocks for our pupils, therefore, to have left this money uncollected, because we failed to submit the relevant documents to the court, is very unfortunate.

The Chronicle is NOT imputing corruption against Madam Betty Mould-Iddrisu, but we are at sea as to why she failed to submit the relevant documents, as demanded by the court to enable the latter award cost against Hamester.

What we must not gloss over is the fact that if Hamester had won the case, the state would have been compelled to pay a whopping 100 million Euros as damages, plus other costs to the German company, yet we did not see it necessary to demand, at least, our legal cost from them.

The Chronicle is aware that the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) are investigating this particular case.  It is our hope that their findings would be made public for the ordinary man to also assess, whether the former A-G took the right decision on behalf of the state, in the case under reference, or not.

Any attempt to hide the report the two investigative bodies would come out with would not serve the interest of anybody, including Betty herself, because the case is already in the public domain.


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