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Friday, July 13, 2012

"Okudzeto begged for Isofoton to be paid" - Amidu

Is Ghana heading for disaster?
Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa Morose
A former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Martin Amidu, has implicated deputy Information Minister, Okudzeto Ablakwa, in the Isofoton SA judgement debt matter, claiming the junior minister “pleaded for them to be paid.”

According to Mr. Amidu, the deputy minister asked him while in office to pay the $1.3 million being demanded by the company as damages for the abrogation of its contract with government.

It will be recalled that Mr. Ablakwa broke the Isofoton judgment debt issue to the media on Tuesday, adding that some past government officials, particularly the former Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani, could be held liable for causing financial loss to the State.

However, Mr. Amidu has accused the deputy minister of double standards.

“Okudzeto Ablakwa spoke to me when I was in office to pay this money,” Mr. Amidu disclosed on Accra-based Oman FM. “I told him I won’t pay even if he knew the people and went to court.”

He stressed: “He [Ablakwa] called me to say why didn’t we pay the money to Isotofon... as far as I’m concerned he was [pleading on their behalf].”

“They decided to pay it when the case was in court. Who removed the case from court? Is it not their Attorney General? Why didn’t they contest it in court? So what legal basis have they to talk about a debt when they didn’t give the court the chance to decide it.

“A judgment debt which was in court before the change of government, you decided to write to the plaintiff to come for settlement. And then you agreed to pay them $1.3 million; you can’t turn round and accuse somebody, why didn’t you let the court decide? ” Mr. Amidu probed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ablakwa has confirmed he called Mr. Amidu on the issue, however, the crux of their conversation was not to front for the Spanish company.

Isotofon has secured a garnishee order on one of the accounts of the Ministry of Agriculture at the ADM following the “unlawful” termination of their contract to provide irrigation pumping machines under the Ghana-Spanish Protocol.

Although they began the pilot project, Mr. Mpiani wrote to the Agriculture Ministry that there have been a change of company hence Isotofon will no longer be in charge of the project leading to the legal case that led to the settlement.**

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