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The attempt by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to accuse the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) of making a ‘dubious’ payment to Special Prosecutor Martin A.B.K. Amidu has backfired.
This is because documents available to DAILY GUIDE show that when the NDC was in office, it initiated and completed all processes leading to the payments of GH¢212,545.71 and later GH¢108,935.00 by the NPP administration to Mr. Amidu for his service as Attorney General in the Mills/Mahama government.
Last week, the Minority NDC in Parliament accused the NPP government of paying what it called ‘dubious’ judgment debts to Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu and others.
It was Minority spokesperson on Finance and former Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Forson, who appeared to impute sinister motive in the payment to Mr. Amidu when he insisted that the government must give a breakdown of the payments made and also reveal the identities of the individuals and the companies who had received the judgment debts during the tenure of the NPP.
After the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta revealed that the Akufo-Addo administration had paid over GH¢280 million as judgment debts since it took office in 2017, Mr. Ato Forson told journalists that “on authority we are hearing that they have paid the likes of McDan; they have paid Bankswitch and they have paid even the Special Prosecutor an amount of judgment debt. As to whether they qualify to receive that amount, it is something we will have to investigate.”
“And that is why I requested the minister responsible for finance to give us a breakdown…I don’t think that in the case of the Special Prosecutor…I hear he went to court; there was a default judgment and the Special Prosecutor has been paid some amount for the fact that he was wrongfully sacked as minister of state.”
Mr. Amidu after being removed from his position as Attorney General by then President JEA Mills when the Woyome judgement debt scandal broke, filed a suit against the government on July 30, 2013, asking among other reliefs, for damages for breach of contract of employment as well as an order directed at the government to pay his entitlement to terminal benefits of four months’ salary for every completed year of service or part plus the allocation of one official vehicle to be paid for by himself.
He also sought an order for the payment of 20% of basic salary in lieu of official accommodation from October 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012 together with interest and an order of cost of transportation from January 20, 2012 to April 30, 2012 to date of payment.
The NDC government, through then Attorney General, filed a statement of defence, admitting and denying some of the reliefs sought by Mr. Amidu and said his entitlement had since been calculated and a cheque was issued by the government to the then Citizen Vigilante.
On November 19, 2013, Mr. Amidu filed a reply, challenging some of the averments in the statement of defence that the NDC government filed.
The parties on September 2, 2014, came to terms of settlement and an entry of judgement was filed in the court presided over by Justcie K.A. Ofori Atta on September 11, 2014.
In the entry of judgement, the court had said among other things that “the defendant (government) undertakes to pay all salary arrears due the plaintiff (Mr. Amidu) from the last engagement, July 1, 2009 to January 2012, which was based on the level of a minister (MP) after making all the allowable deductions for social security, income and others.”
The court then awarded a cost of GH¢6,000 to Mr. Amidu.
Former Chief of Staff
In compliance with the court’s order, a letter to the Minister of Finance signed by then Chief of Staff Julius Debrah in 2015 said that their checks showed that a first instalment of GH¢108,935 was paid by the Ministry of Justice to Mr. Amidu’s account in December 2014 through the GIFMIS and a second instalment of GH¢212,545.71 was paid to the Chief of Staff’s office in September 2015 and they subsequently issued a cheque in the name of Mr. Amidu which was forwarded to the A-G’s Department to be forwarded to him.
“Unfortunately, the first instalment payment of GH¢108,935 could not be completed because the payee rejected (Mr. Amidu) the payment on grounds that the matter was pending in court,” adding “therefore, the payment of GH¢108,935 is still outstanding.”
“With the final determination of the case, it will be appreciated if you could release the sum of GH¢108,935 to Mr. Amidu to end the matter.”
On January 9, 2019, Mr. Amidu caused his lawyers to write to the current Chief of Staff acknowledging receipt of GH¢21,027.22 being remainder of his SSF deductions in line with the court’s ruling, saying “I signed for them personally on the evening of December 24, 2018.”
His only concern was that an aspect of the ruling regarding the payment of interest on accruing salaries, rent allowance, arrears and other payments owed him in accordance with Court Rule C.I. 52, had not been complied with and hoped it would be done to bring the matter to finality.
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