Government’s attempt to free the garnisheed account of the Minister of Food and Agriculture in the ISOFOTON SA case, hit a snag yesterday as an Accra High Court rejected an application filed by the Attorney-General in connection with it. The application for a stay of execution in respect of the garnisheed Ministry of Agriculture’s Engineering Department Account, following government’s failure to pay to the Spanish firm, the remaining of a l.3million dollar judgement debt, was rejected by the court because there were no special conditions to merit the granting of the application.
It means the account would remain garnisheed until the government settled the debt owed ISOFOTON, a situation which would hamper the operations of the Agriculture Ministry. Justice Ernest Obimpeh, the trial judge, ruling on the application, noted that there were no special circumstances to warrant the granting of the application.
The judgement debt resulted from the NPP government’s abrogation of a contract with ISOFOTON SA. So far, the State has paid 400,000 dollars out of the 1,3million dollars owed ISOFOTON SA, but had defaulted in the payment of the three remaining tranches.
The Accra High Court, in a garnishee order issued on May 2, this year, froze the Ministry’s Engineering Department’s Accounts for nonpayment of the remaining part of a 1.3 million dollar judgement debt owed ISOFOTON SA.
The government, through the Ministries of Food and Agriculture, and Energy, and ISOFOTON entered into a formal agreement on September 22, 2005 for the supply and installation of solar-powered water pumping irrigation systems and solar electrification projects in remote areas of the country, under the second Ghana-Spanish Financial Protocol.
However, the then Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani, allegedly abrogated the irrigation and solar electrification contracts in March 2006, and awarded them to other Spanish firms, Incatema Indema and Elecnor respectively, for unknown reasons.
Not satisfied with such mistreatment, ISOFOTON consequently sued the government in January 2007, and won a default judgement of 1.3million dollars.
The State in 2009, filed processes in court in an attempt to set aside that default judgement, but ended up reaching an out-of-court settlement with the company to pay an amount of $I.3 million.
On September 28, 2010, the settlement agreement was filed and adopted by the court on September 29, 2010.
However, the State failed to honour the payment obligation, prompting ISOFOTON to file for the Agriculture Ministry’s Engineering Department accounts to be garnisheed.
On April 20, this year, the A-G tried to set aside the garnishee process but failed, and on June 5, applied for a stay of execution which the court rejected yesterday