“It is not my fault that I do what I do so well but the truth is that I have the approval of my bosses in everything I do,” he said on Metro TV Good Morning Ghana current affairs show.
The Deputy Minister was responding to a claim by Former Attorney-General Martin Amidu that he (Okudzeto) called him and begged him to sanction the payment of a judgement debt of $1.5million to Isofoton SA.
Martin Amidu had said that call from the Deputy Minister defied due process because it should have come from his boss the Minister of Information; and secondly it was totally out of order for the Deputy Minister to plead for Isofoton SA to be paid.
Meanwhile during the four years of this government, Information Ministers have been changed three times, and even other deputies have been changed a number of times, but Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has remained in at post throughout the four years.
But Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said he is 'shocked' at the outburst of Martin Amidu because he never begged him to pay Isofoton, adding that he seems to be the unfortunate victim of Mr. Amidu because someone else said something that he (Amidu) did not like.
"Mr. Amidu is fond of that because the other day someone compared him to Dr. Benjamin Kumbour and the next moment he was attacking Dr. Kumbour instead of the one who made the comparison," he said.
The Deputy Minister said he does not do anything, including calling Martin Amidu, without the approval of his boss the Minister of Information, adding that the claim that he undermines his bosses is also not true because he is good friends with his two previous bosses and the current one, Fritz Baffuor.
“My boss always says I am his favorite and John Tia AKolugu is one of my best friends and as for Miss Zita Okaikoi, I was the special guest of honour at the launch of her campaign for the Dome-Kwabenya seat, so it is not true that undermined any of them,” he said.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has for some weeks now been on a crusade to disclose judgement debts owed to some companies due to “the recklessness of the previous government”, and he has been making a case for why those moneys must be paid.
He is now telling the public that he has the approval of his boss, the Minister of Information to embark on that crusade.
But Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is not alone in this claim to approval from bosses to do things which lots of Ghanaians are worried about.
Former Attorney-General Betty Mould Iddrisu, who is credited for the payment of several of the controversial judgement debts and settlements, also told the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that she also had “executive approval” for everything she did as a Minister of State.
Meanwhile, the head of the executive, President John Evans Ata Mills has said he had no knowledge of the payment of the gargantuan GHS51 million judgement debt to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, so the question has been asked as to what Madam Mould-Iddrisu meant by ‘executive approval’.
Touching on that matter, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa rubbished the public discussion on whether due process was followed in paying those debts as peripheral, saying that Ghanaians should rather focus on the more important issue of how the debts were incurred in the first place.
He also said it is petty for people to raise question about what Madam Mould-Iddrisu meant by ‘executive approval’ because the most important issues was whether the former president John Agyekum Kufuor was also aware of the piling interests on those judgement debts and whether he approved of their non-payment at the expense of the country.
“Some of the companies we owed money to went for international arbitration and threatened to sell our assets abroad to defray the cost, so we saved this country a great deal in interest accruing and from the loss of our overseas assets by paying the relatively meager out of court settlements,” he said.
The point has also been raised that those paid the huge judgement debts did not pay the taxes due on those moneys as itemized by the Ghana Revenue Authority, but the Deputy Minister said it is also petty to focus on meager taxes when “we could have avoided the debt in the first place but for the recklessness of the previous NPP government.”
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