Bank of Ghana denies owing ASTEK Food Processing

Mrs Elly Ohene-Adu, Director and Head of Banking Department at the Bank of Ghana, on Wednesday denied the central bank’s indebtedness to ASTEK Food Processing Company Limited.

Appearing before the Judgement Debt Commission sitting in Accra, Mrs Ohene-Adu said the central bank had fully paid the judgement debt owed to ASTEK Food Processing Company and expressed shock over the new demand by the company.

The Head of Banking Department was appearing before the Commission to testify over a petition against the Bank of Ghana filed by the Managing Director of ASTEK Food Processing Company over unpaid judgement debt interest.

She explained that, the government in the early 1990’s entered into a trade relationship with Libya to export horticulture products to the country in exchange of crude oil.

She said, ASTEK Food Processing Company was therefore contracted as one of the exporters of the horticulture products, with the agreement that Ghana would pay them company.

She said, in 1995 however, a dispute arose out of the trade agreement and the whole arrangement was suspended.

She said, ASTEK had before the suspension of the trade agreements shipped two products to Libya and therefore sued the central bank at the court to get paid.

She said judgement was delivered in favour of ASTEK and the central bank was ordered to pay the total amount demanded by the plaintiff which was in excess of one million dollars, including a three year interest and cost.

She said the central bank filed for stay of execution and notice of appeal but it later reached an agreement with the management of ASTEK in 1999 to pay the total sum of 1.7 million dollars, an interest of 241,164.17 dollars and a cost of GH₵ 350,000,000.

Mrs Ohene-Adu said, even though the court ruled that the money owed to ASTEC was paid in Cedis at the prevailing bank rate, there was a compromised between the central bank and management of ASTEK for the money to be paid in dollars.

She said, there has been no dispute over the payment and wondered why management of ASTEK would after more than 10 years of payment re-appear to demand claim of an unpaid interest.

Dr Albert Ababio Owusu, Founder and former Managing Director of ASTEK Food Processing Company however insisted at the Commission’s sitting that the central bank owed it some interest over the judgement debt paid in 1999.

He said, the central bank owed it an interest which is in excess of three billion cedis, as it did not pay all in 1999.

Mr Justice Yaw Appau, Sole Commissioner at the Judgement Debt Commission asked why after receiving the total sum and the interest in dollars, Dr Ababio would be demanding another interest to be paid in cedis.

Dr Ababio answered that, he accepted the payment arrangement by the central bank because the company was then facing financial challenges and needed money to settle its debtors.

He, however, insisted that the central bank still owed it some money which was as a result of the unfinished payment of interest.

The Eastern Regional Lands Commission officer was also to appear before the Commission in connection with compensation paid to the flooded area of the Volta Basin such PAI, Apaaso, Makango, Ahemandi and Kete Krachi but it was adjourned indefinitely, as it was discovered that, the areas mentioned do not fall into the domain of the Regional Manager. GNA

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