Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Ablakwa
Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has stated that he feels “vindicated by the two judgments that our Supreme Court has so far handed down in the Waterville and Isofoton cases…”
He however pointed accusing fingers to his political detractors for making attempts to draw him into the payment of over $300,000 to Isofoton SA as judgment debt.
A statement signed by the Deputy Minister mentioned that his political opponents seek to vilify him “because I had honestly confirmed earlier that I called the former Attorney General on a specific petition brought to the Ministry of Information by Isofoton SA ought to realize that no matter how hard they try, they cannot succeed in changing the mandate of the Ministry of Information as it has always been and their mud will not stick on me no matter how many times they throw it.”
Below is the full statement
I have become aware of the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court today, Friday the 21st of June, 2013 on the Isofoton case and matters relating to my person that have arisen in the aftermath in media discussions.
I have also observed that despite that fact that I wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the judgment and that though I was not a party in this case neither do I have any personal interest whatsoever in this case, it has been the agenda of political detractors to make this case about me.
These political detractors failed ahead of the 2012 elections and they have failed again.
I feel vindicated by the two judgments that our Supreme Court have so far handed down in the Waterville and Isofoton cases as they have highlighted the recklessness with which contracts were entered into without Parliamentary approval as required by Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and thereby rendering subsequent payments wrongful.
When we launched what became known as the sunlight campaign on judgment debts a year ago, we made the point that Ghanaians deserve to know the whole truth and that in the final analysis they will agree with us that public officials could have done better to protect scarce national resources.
It is rather ironic and indeed shameful that politicians who have been indicted in both judgments for failing to seek parliamentary approval in such international financial transactions hence actively contributing to the losses Ghana has incurred are rather seeking cheap political profit from these judgments.
One would have thought that this was a time for sober reflection amongst former and present public officials including the educated class in Ghana but it will appear that there is still a misdirected army out there determined to obfuscate and spin the obvious to achieve selfish ends
Political opponents who seek to vilify me because I had honestly confirmed earlier that I called the former Attorney General on a specific petition brought to the Ministry of Information by Isofoton SA ought to realize that no matter how hard they try, they cannot succeed in changing the mandate of the Ministry of Information as it has always been and their mud will not stick on me no matter how many times they throw it.
As I have always maintained, I placed that call within the mandate of the Ministry of Information which is to provide information to the public and to provide feedback to Government and that such two-way communication is a very common feature within any Government communication all over the world.
People have asked if there was any additional motivation for this particular call. My answer is in the affirmative.
My additional motivation was the hope that the feedback I was providing based on the petition brought to the Ministry of Information might lead to the prosecution of political leaders whose actions and inactions had brought about the situation where all manner of claims were being made by companies and individuals against the government.
It was my considered view that those who created the conditions for these claims to be made on government by all manner of companies and individuals ought to be held accountable. Current developments from these two Supreme Court judgments have proven that I had justification for my motivation then.
This is why I still hold the humble view that we must go beyond retrievals of wrongfully paid judgment debts which per the records available accounts for a fewer percentage of overall judgment debts paid and ensure that public officials whose conduct have brought all of us to this disgraceful juncture are held accountable.
We must not be afraid to utilize the laws on causing financial loss to the State. I have always believed that that is the only way we can stop the saga of no parliamentary approval, illegal abrogation, wrongful payments and general capriciousness.
I still hold the view that this judgment debt phenomenon is too important an issue to be left in the realm of political spin and that is why when on the 16th of July 2012 during the Sunlight Campaign press briefing at which we made public a letter NPP Flag bearer Nana Akufo-Addo had written to Government requesting that Government pays the Great Cape Company and that it will be “unconscionable” if Government did not pay, we refrained from attacking Nana Addo and calling him names such as “judgment debt engineer” as we were being tagged.
Indeed, our posture was that we will not engage in naked hypocrisy and empty name calling. Indeed at that press conference, I stated that “This Judgment Debt issue presents a challenge to the nation.
It stretches from arbitrary exercise of power, illegal abrogation of contractual obligations, vindictive and petty politics, wrongful payments, weak institutional capacity and its attendant dire consequences for the Ghanaian taxpayer.”
It is amazing that principle and logic seems to have eluded those who seek to hang me because I brought a petition to the attention of the Attorney General and yet find nothing wrong with Nana Addo’s 3rd October 2011 letter to Government in which he categorically demands that the Great Cape Company of Switzerland be paid $1,117,818.45 (one million, one hundred and seventeen thousand eight hundred and eighteen dollars and forty five cents).”
I know deep down my heart that I have and continue to serve my country and the good people of North Tongu honorably.
I have and do remain faithful to my oath of office as a Deputy Minister and a Member of Parliament and for which I shall keep my head up.
I have confidence in the judgment of discerning Ghanaians and most importantly I am exceedingly humbled by the fact that I have a clear conscience before my maker.
Good will triumph over evil and Ghana shall prevail.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
Deputy Minister of Education (Tertiary)