Government on Monday released two letters written and signed by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) indicating his assistance in the settlement of government’s long standing indebtedness.
The money was paid to Great Cape Company of Switzerland.
The first letter written on April 18, 2001 in his capacity as Attorney General and Minister of Justice was titled: “SUPPLEMENTARY CLAIMS BY THE GREAT CAPE COMPANY” and the second on October 3, 2011 was titled “RE: LETTER AND SIGNATURE AUTHENTICATION: APPEAL FOR ASSISTANCE”.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information, addressing a press conference in Accra, said government had made reference to the two letters to reinforce its conviction on the need for a dispassionate and non-partisan discourse on judgment debt.
He said: “The two letters are revealing as they are interesting. They prove that Nana Akufo-Addo is no stranger to the payment of judgment debts. In other words, he is not exonerated in anyway.”
Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa said: “It is a fact that after assuming office as Attorney General and Minister of Justice in 2001, one of his first legal actions to the State was to recommend the payment of “settlement” as evidenced by a letter dated April 18 2001; he even went beyond settlements by simply agreeing with the petition from Solicitors of the company without any further negotiations of court processes”.
He said: “Nana Akufo-Addo and his acolytes tell the Ghanaian public that judgment debts connote corruption and that, in the most unlikely event as President, he will rather use judgment debts to finance his unrealistic free Senior High School pledge but unknown to the Ghanaian public as recent as only nine months ago, he had been busily advocating behind the scenes that the Great Cape Company of Switzerland be paid an additional $1,117,818.45 in what he calls Great Cape’s ‘legitimate claims.”
The Deputy Minister of Information said: “Even 10 years after Nana Akufo-Addo has left office; he believes fervently that the Great Cape Company of Switzerland has a legitimate claim against the State. Indeed he has not only been faithful to Great Cape, but also he states in writing, in the October 3, 2011 letter from his office, that it would be “unconscionable on the part of government” to “defeat legitimate claims of its creditors.”
He pointed out that government would not rush in passing judgment on the issue adding “It is our hope that the NPP will come to the realisation that pretence is not in their interest”.
Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa said judgment debts presented a challenge to the nation stressing that it stretched from arbitrary exercise of power, illegal abrogation of contractual obligations, vindictive and petty politics, wrongful payments, weak institutional capacity and attendant dire consequence for the Ghanaian taxpayer.
He said Cabinet had established clear guidelines for the management and handling of the issues on liabilities against the State, adding that the guidelines were expected to ensure that the State placed more priority on court challenges of claims as well as to manage liabilities in good time to cut losses and avoid spiralling interest.
Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa said: “These Cabinet guidelines have been as a result of President John Evans Atta Mills leadership and commitment at ensuring that there is improved transparency and clarity in dealing with such matters while ensuring that the public purse is prudently managed.
“Government will continue to pursue all judgment debt related cases in the courts and will be guided by the national interest, and would remain receptive to contributions to collectively develop better mechanisms and structures for safe-guarding the nation’s resources.”
Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa explained that the press conference was not to score cheap political equalisation but was inspired by the principles of full disclosure, transparency and accountability.
“The issue must be handled with certain candour or sincerity, not with partisan flavour,” he said.
Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa expressed worry that government had been “insulted, battered” for several months adding that some claimed that “Professor Mills had introduced judgment debt”.
Mr Fritz Baffour, Minister of Information, commended the media for being proactive on uncovering issues bordering on national interest for discourse and solutions.
However, he charged journalists to be guided by issue-based reportage devoid of passion.
There was no information on the activities of the company in the country.
The Ghana News Agency publishes the full contents of the two letters:
Office of Nana Akufo-Addo
3rd October, 2011
Dr Nat Tanoh
2, Third Rangoon Close
RE: LETTER AND SIGNATURE AUTHENTICATION: APPEAL FOR ASSISTANCE
This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 20th September, 2011, requesting my assistance in the settlement of Government’s longstanding to indebtedness to Great Cape Company of Switzerland.
I am somewhat disturbed by its contents, which have led to the unusual request contained in the letter. It is disconcerting to find that public record keeping has fallen into such straits that the files on this matter cannot be found either in the Ministry of Justice or in the Ministry of Finance. Be that as it may, it would be unconscionable on the part of Government if its own poor record keeping is used to defeat legitimate claims of its creditors.
I have a vague recollection of the transaction, and can readily confirm that the signature on the letter ILD/SCR/002 dated 18th April, 2001, addressed to the Ministry of Finance, attached to your letter, is indeed mine. I note from your letter that such a confirmation will satisfy the Attorney-General to whom I am addressing a copy of this letter. I am also sending a copy to the Minister of Finance.
I hope this is satisfactory for your purpose.
Cc: The Attorney-General & Minister of Justice
Attn: Hon. Martin Amidu
Minister of Finance
Attn: Hon Dr Kwabena Duffour
The Minister of Finance
Ministry of Finance
SUPPLEMENTARY CLAIMS BY THE GREAT CAPE COMPANY
It will be recalled that upon the recommendations of my predecessor in office, in his letter Ref: ILD/SCR/002 dated 8th May 1997, copy which is attached, your Ministry paid to the Great Cape Company of Switzerland an amount of US$927,000.00 intended to be the final settlement of a case involving a breach of contractual obligations of the government
Subsequently upon a petition by the company, our office, looked at the case again and upheld the representation of the company to the effect that the interest due them should have been computed to the time of payment in 1998 and not to 1987 which was the time the original calculation was due. The mistake occurred because when the matter came up after 1997, the company did not submit all the data which were subsequently incorporated in their letter of 6th September 1999.
The company, acting through its solicitors, has filed another petition to us. The contents are similar to the earlier petition dated 6th September, 1999. Having examined it, I agree with recommendations contained in the letter of the Solicitor General dated 10th November, 1999 copy of which is attached for ease of reference.
According, I recommend the payment of the difference between the 1987 figure and that of 1998. This amounts to $ 1, 117, 818, 45.