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Friday, July 13, 2012

I Acted Professionally - Betty Mould-Iddrisu

Betty Mould-Iddrisu - Former Attorney-General
Betty Mould-Iddrisu - Former Attorney-General
A former Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, has told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament that she acted professionally and in the interest of Ghana in reducing the 162-million euro claim by Construction Pioneers (CP) to 94 million euros.

At her second appearance before the committee which is probing into the payment of the settlement debt of 94 million euros to CP, she explained that Ghana also secured a deal to freeze the interest of 12,700 euros which was being charged every day on the final award given to CP.

“I was bold to clear the mess left by the previous Attorney-General and Minister of Justice,” she declared, adding that the country was facing a grave financial implication because of the unsettled judgement debt.

She said the previous government had realised the danger and started the global settlement negotiation with CP before she assumed office in February 2009.

The about four-hour sitting was initially tense, with Mrs Mould-Iddrisu accusing some members of the committee, especially the MP for Atwima-Mponua, Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah, of saying that she conspired with CP to dupe the state and defraud the people of Ghana.

She also raised issue with the Chairman of the PAC, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, whom she accused of referring to the settlement agreement with CP as not being professional.

Led by her lead counsel, Nana Ato Dadzie, Mrs Mould-Iddrisu stated that all the correspondence from the Office of the President in 2008 and the previous Attorney-General pointed to the fact that a settlement process began with CP as far back as 2008.

She said a former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, issued a 14-million euro warrant to be paid to CP as a measure of building confidence for CP to negotiate with the government.

Before that, she added, the previous government had paid seven million euros in connection with Obuasi town roads and every correspondence pointed to the fact that settlement with CP was the way forward.

The former A-G explained that she would have misconducted herself not to have continued with the process initiated by the previous administration to negotiate with CP for a final settlement.

Mrs Mould-Iddrisu said notwithstanding those facts, she still wrote to the Chief of Staff to inform the Executive that she was entering into negotiations with CP.

She added that she also sought the advice of relevant government institutions on the composition of a team to negotiate with CP.

Asked whether she informed the Executive after the final negotiation and the financial implications to the country, she responded that the government was aware, since officials of the Ministry of Finance were involved at the various stages of the negotiation.

On whether she sought the permission of the Executive before forming the team to negotiate with CP, the former A-G stated that she had the constitutional mandate, as the A-G, to constitute a team for the negotiation.

Mrs Mould-Iddrisu maintained that she acted professionally and in the best interest of the country to reduce the amount which was being sought by CP.

About 300 NDC supporters who had besieged the entrance of the new Parliament House block where the sitting took place burst into a frenzy when Mrs Mould-Iddrisu came out of the four-hour hearing.

Wearing NDC T-shirts bearing the image of the President, the supporters chanted the Ga popular song, ‘Wole, Wole Noko’, amidst drumming and dancing, all in praise of the former A-G.

They carried placards, some of which read, “Betty acted in good faith”; “Bring NPP officials to book”; “Stop the baseless attack on Betty”; “Enough of the ill-informed attacks on Betty” and “We are with you, Auntie Betty”.

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