The former Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng has said that he rejected a $5 million bribe to approve a judgment debt of over $88 million.
In an interview with the AFRICAWATCH magazine, Prof Frimpong narrated that how he refused to approve the payment of the judgement debt because he could not believe the claim of the private company, Apex Pollution Company Limited.
He added that it was a government official who decided to engage the company in the payment of the judgement debt even though the company had done no work.
“Sometime in July 2020, when I was at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, I received a letter from the Ministry of Finance, requesting my approval for the payment of a judgment debt to the tune of US$88,247,246.63, please let me repeat it, US$88,247,246.63, to Apex Pollution Control Company. I could not believe my eyes. It had a lot of red flags. The Ministry of Environment had signed an agreement with the company in 2014 to carry out monitoring of vehicle emissions, but the project was not implemented at all.
“The company claimed it invested $6,613,520.63 in the project and sought a judgment debt. Somebody somewhere decided to engage the company in arbitration for the government, and in addition to its alleged initial investment of $6,613,520.63, offered the company $20,006,226 for a return on investment and $61,627,500 for the loss of income for 13 years. And this came up to a whopping $88,247,246.63,” he is quoted to have said in the October/November 2023 edition of the AFRICAWATCH magazine.
He added, “The Apex Pollution Control Company was going to get about $82 million for doing no work. So shocking! To me, there were several irregularities about it. I could see that a huge scandal was staring us right in the face. And I didn’t want to be part of it”.
The former science and technology minister further stated that he was told that the former Minister of State (in-charge of finance), Charles Adu Boahene, was behind the move when he confronted the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, on the matter.
“The whole thing was too shady. I confronted Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta about it and he told me Charles Adu Boahen, the then deputy minister of finance was probably behind it. Soon after some people from Apex Pollution Control Company came to see me in my office and offered me a US$ 5 million bribe to approve the judgment debt for them. I rejected it and told them to disappear from my office,” he added.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng made these revelations while answering a question on him being investigated by the Office of the Special Prosecutor for misappropriating funds of the dissolved Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), which he chaired.
He said that if he was able to reject a $5 million bribe why would he turn back and steal funds meant for the committee.
“This special prosecutor doesn’t really know the calibre of the man called Prof. Frimpong-Boateng. If nothing at all, I rejected a bribe of US$5 million to save the nation a whopping US$88 million in the Apex Pollution Control Company Limited judgment debt matter. So how could I turn around and misappropriate petty cash at the IMCIM? Does it make any sense to you?” he quizzed.
It can be recalled that the Member of Parliament for North Tongu Constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, mounted a spirited defence against the integrity of embattled former Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.
Amidst backlash following the leak of his 36-page report on illegal small-scale mining by Prof Frimpong-Boateng, Mr Ablakwa shared some documents revealing how the former minister stopped the payment of some US$ 88.24 million in judgement debt by the state.
Describing the attacks on the renowned surgeon as a clear case of “organised crime fighting back,” Mr Ablakwa in a Facebook post sighted by GhanaWeb said the former minister brought his patriotism to bear when he stopped the said payment to a pollution control company.
“I can today reveal that it is to the credit of Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng’s exemplary integrity and commendable vigilance that the Ghanaian taxpayer was saved from paying a staggering US$88.24million in a controversial judgment debt to a company known as Apex Pollution Control Company Limited (APCCL) in 2020.
“Volumes of intercepted documents show that Ghana’s Attorney-General reached the controversial settlement in President Akufo-Addo’s first term after arbitration with Apex Pollution Control Company Limited,” the MP wrote.