Justice Yaw Apau and Akoto Ampaw
The Sole Commissioner investigating the payment of judgement debts, on Wednesday, advised a private company that says the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) owed it to go to court to pursue the claims.
The commission presided over by Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal therefore declined to look into the petition filed by Megrey Construction Ghana Limited against the GCAA following testimony by the GCAA that the case was pending before a High Court in Accra.
The ?Commission of Enquiry into the payment of Judgement Debt and Akin? under C.I. 79 to investigate the frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and companies, was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama after public uproar over the payments in what has now come to be termed as Judgement Debts (JD).
Notable among them were payments made to CP (?94 million) and the never-ending case of GH?51.2million parted to the self-styled National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, both of which many believed were dubious and frivolous.
The Commission of Enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debts might be forced to cease hearing of a petition brought before it against the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) by a private construction firm.
Megrey Construction Ghana Limited wanted the commission to get the GCAA to pay them about ?28.5billion which is an accrued interest on ?1.1billion charge for a landscaping contract it executed at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra on the orders of GCAA.
According to Megrey Construction, apart from about ?393million out of the contract sum of ?1.7 billion paid to them by the authority they never received the balance.
GCAA officials, including Joyce A. Thompson assisted by Abdulai Alhassan appeared before the commission last week to explain their position but because their external solicitor, Akoto Ampaw as well as Megrey Construction?s lawyers were not present, Justice Apau invited them to clear the issues.
Akoto Ampaw appeared and told the commission that Megrey Construction had sued the GCAA and the authority had filed a defence as well as a counter claim and the case was at the directions stage.
It was the case of Prince John Baidoo, assisted by Francis Lokko both from Megery Construction that, because a High Court had garnisheed the account of GCAA (after one Paul Boateng whom Megrey Construction sublet the contract to supply black soil for the landscaping had sued Megrey Construction), the authority needed to pay them the balance.
But Mr. Akoto Ampaw said the GCAA was never joined in the initial suit but when Paul Boateng won the case against Megrey Construction, Megrey Construction initiated the garnishee process.
?The matter is pending before a court. It borders on what they consider to be the balance of money due them from GCAA after a sub-contractor had taken judgement against them.?
He said ?once the garnishee application was granted they mounted a civil action to get the balance. We filed a defence and they filed for summary judgement but we opposed it successfully,? Mr. Akoto Ampaw explained.
He said once the account of the GCAA was garnisheed and the amount paid to Paul Boateng without the authority?s input, they decided to join the sub-contractor to get a legal forum to solve the matter once and for all.
?I was surprised that a matter that is before the court could come to this commission. I think they are not in the right forum. The proper forum is the High Court,? counsel said.
Justice Apau after perusing the documents said ?the matter that went on appeal was between Paul Boateng and Megrey and it is clear that the case between Megrey and GCAA is pending.?
He said, ?I will advise you to go back to the court and file a defence against the GCAA?s counter claims and application for direction.?
By William Yaw Owusu