A deputy Information Minister has hinted another judgment scandal may soon rock the nation. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said this new scandal is “terrible” and “will soon become the next major discussion point after the gallopers.” The deputy Minister made the revelation on Joy FM and MultiTV news analysis programme Newsfile, Saturday.
He was commenting on the potential judgment debt scandal over the importation of some 87 galloper vehicles by Africa Automobile Ltd. Head of Communications of the NPP, Nana Akomea questioned why the government had agreed to an out of court settlement with Africa Automobile Ltd when it safely could have won the case through litigation.
Citing the infamous Woyome scandal, Nana Akomea said it is a worrying trend for government to quickly agree to an out of court settlement. He said the government is “too happy to settle” imploring rather for the government to allow the court to give judgment. But Okudzeto Ablakwa said the comments by Akomea are misleading.
According to him, it cannot be the case that it is only officials of the NDC who seek out of court settlement with companies threatening court action for alleged breach of contract.
He quoted a letter, purported to have been written by former Attorney General under the Kufuor Administration, Joe Ghartey in which he (Ghantey) was advising government to opt for an out of court settlement having breached a contract with a Spanish company.
Ablakwa said that case could potentially become another albatross on the country’s neck.
“I hold in my hands, and this is just to buttress the point that it is not only Attorney Generals or lawyers in the NDC fraternity who see the wisdom sometimes in talking and settling.
“4th June 2008, this is an advice by Joe Ghartey and this is in another very terrible Aesofoton case which I am sure will become the next discussion point after the gallopers,” he stated.
The letter in part read that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture breached an agreement with the Aesofoton SA under the second Spanish protocol in 2005 only to sign another agreement with another Spanish company in respect of the same project.
“Aesofoton SA has notified this office of its intention to sue on the contract,’ the letter indicated.
Joe Ghartey then advised there was a breach of a binding contract which entitled the company to special damages, general damages and interest at the prevailing bank rate from time of breach till date of payment. Quoting the then Attorney General, Ablakwa said if Aesofoton SA is allowed to sue it will be detrimental to government and a substantial financial burden will be imposed on government and therefore Ghartey advised for an out of court settlement.
It is not clear, if the then government successfully concluded the matter with the Spanish company, but if what the deputy Minister of Information said is anything to go by, the country may well be bracing itself for another judgment debt scandal