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Feature Article of Friday, 20 July 2012

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Betty-Mould’s Counsel Was Not Necessarily Wise

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The apparently facile concessions being granted contractors who claim to have had their contracts with the Ghana Government, under different administrations, abruptly and illegitimately revoked must not have their alleged claims taken at face value. As hinted elsewhere in a recent article, Parliament needs to establish a bi-partisan and/or an independent panel of experts to reexamine each of these contracts, in order to ensure that, indeed, the legion plaintiffs have legitimate grievances (See “Judgment Debt: AMA Should’ve Listened to Betty’s Wise Counsel – Ato Dadzie” Ghanaweb.com 7/13/12).
Where the abrogation of a contract is deemed to be warranted, the necessary prompt action must be taken to ensure that any moneys that may have been wrongfully paid to a contractual complainant are recovered and, where deemed legitimate, the requisite punitive damages in favor of the State awarded. If the foregoing is not promptly done, the country could be mired in regressive judgment-debt payments for the foreseeable future. And the latter temporal span could be anywhere from the next ten to twenty years. And if that happens, any talk of substantive national development agenda, on the part of any political party, would be tantamount to sheer hogwash.
In the case of Construction Pioneers (CP), in which the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) is reported to be on the verge of losing at least GH¢41 million, in the form of having several landed properties being attached and scheduled for auctioning to defray debt payments owed the CP group, something more constructive and creative, by way of reparative initiative, could be put in place, such as re-negotiating another agreement with the CP group, if the latter is proven to be professionally competent, and then drawing up an installment plan which would enable the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to keep the properties presently scheduled for auctioning. For, what needs to be readily and significantly borne in mind is that AMA property is public property and ought not to be treated like the ill-gotten wealth, or pelf, of an individual citizen convicted of graft or willfully causing financial loss to the State.
In the case of City and Country Waste Limited (CCWL), whose contract was allegedly terminated by the Kufuor administration, the competence of the company ought to be investigated, as well as the motives and circumstances under which Mr. Kufuor’s government decided to abrogate the waste-management company’s contract. This measure, of course, must be gauged within the context of the generally poor sanitation services in our nation’s capital and the extent to which the City and Country Waste Limited liability company remarkably contributed to such unsavory state of affairs.
Of course, the complicity and/or administrative negligence of public officials charged with keeping our environment clean, safe and sound will also have to be squarely factored into the equation. In all the preceding, though, what needs to promptly happen is for our politicians and leaders to move fast and farther away from the rancorous political divisiveness into the salutary realm of statesmanship, even while, like many an advanced Western democracy, maintaining our respective ideological suasions. In other words, as a country, Ghanaians need to start applying the discrete and core tenets of our ideologies as instruments of national development, rather than weapons of untold socioeconomic mayhem.
Needless to say, this is the no-nonsense, fast-paced age of the I-phone; and the sooner we wise up to the reality of our collective and inextricable inter-linkage of destiny, the better positioned we shall be in this brave tech-centered world of creative brinkmanship.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Sounds of Sirens: Essays in African Politics and Culture” (iUniverse.com, 2004). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net.
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