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Feature Article of Monday, 9 July 2012

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

Judgment Debts, Gallopé, Gallopé

Critical News, 8th July 2012

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I have to thank Nana Boroo for the inspired heading this week. I was browsing You Tube for local content and found a 2010 Ghana Music Awards clip, with Nana and his team of dancers. Refreshing recollections. Aha aye butu butu this week.

Nana Addo and “All die be die”. Once again the NPP Presidential candidate felt compelled to go open this can of worms. This time we have more elaboration. All die be die now means the NPP will not sit down and allow the NDC to cheat them out of their mite and they will respond if provoked. However, they do not believe in violence and will go to any length to protect the peace of elections. I have always accepted that the NDC was created from the (P)NDC, which was a stepchild of the AFRC, which was a violent junta bent on taking revenge on the officer corps of the military. The NPP is of the UP party, which roots go back to the era of violent secession from the Colony and assassination attempts on Kwame Nkrumah. The CPP traces its violent roots to the days of preventive detention, chieftaincy upheaval, terror brigades and a one party dictatorship. Each party has its excuses for violence and has at one time or the other engaged in a fight for its right to vote without interference. Now we have that voting right. I don’t see those times as promoting violence. One person’s, terrorist is another’s freedom fighter and our politicians have to get over this stigma and move on. We have the right to cast a ballot once every four years. It is our ultimate universal suffrage. What we are clamoring for is fairness and no manipulation of the registers. And we have a biometric register in place as a first step to get this done. All Nana succeeded in doing was give the NDC’s Asiedu Nketia another opportunity to confuse issues.
The Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank say the cedi depreciation will be stemmed in October. Previously they said it would be stable at the end of June. I suppose they can revise their deadlines. Here in Ghana, time is not a continuum, but a discreet unit that does not affect much. After all, what have we not postponed? The Representation of People’s Act (ROPA) and the Freedom to Information are my big beefs. Still waiting, Mssrs. Honorable Members of Parliament.
Predictions are the cedi could hit 2:1 by the end of the year. So far, it (cedi) is holding between 1.92 and 1.96, which is not too bad. Realistically, it should be more than that. Retailers need a strong cedi, exporters need a weaker cedi. What Ghana needs is a good economic team to hold the balancing act and neither the twain (Paa Kwesi and Kwabena Duffuor) are proving to be good actors.
Meanwhile, the oil wells at Cape Three Points are under-performing. This week, Imani Ghana issued a very scary projection of less than 60,000 barrels a day, roughly half of what was projected in the 2012 budget and far less than the targeted future output. Tullow Oil is not concerned much. Their management report in May shows output at 67,000bpd and their lead press release is full of praise for its zero lost time on the Kwame Nkrumah FPSO. At the same time they have upped their predictions and forecast for the rest of the year and into 2013.
Grace v Philomina, joined in with the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). Dr. Grace Bediako was the previous head of the GSS, who was asked to go on a 5-month leave for poorly executing a Donor’s project. She was replaced with Dr. Philomina Nyarko (who is more malleable?). So this week, Grace returned to her desk, I suppose hoping for re-instatement. After the GSS Board stepped in, we did not get the kind of power sharing arrangement that compromises Africa governance when the incumbent does not want to leave. The cat-fight was halted when Grace was instead appointed as a consultant to the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to work with PV Obeng, who was sacked by Rawlings in a previous government and now chairs the NDPC. This position can work well for the Grace, she needs not do anything, in which the NDPC has a specialty. You go Grace, but bear in mind that consulting for Government can change anytime with a change in Government. Now, some group in the NDC decided to break away and form their separate party. The National Democratic Party (NDP). Same umbrella, same colors, same bird, but this time the bird has found God and is bringing a Gye Nyame back in its beak. Surely this is plain mischief and not a serious development. The NDP Founders want to break away, yet they won’t? Will the EC agree to have symbols so close to an existing party? Nana Konadu and JJ have so far not identified with the party and I say it is just an attempt to scare the NDC gurus, which is a waste of time, because they are fearless. Even with all the turmoil, some NDC Ministers and MPs and especially the Vice President say they will win a landslide victory in December. How are they going to do this? President Mills has gone quiet again. Campaign strategizing? Behind closed doors? Praying? Too many guesses these days.
We had mega “Ablakwabbish” (for those who are new to this column - Okudzeto Ablakwa Rubbish) on Joy Fm Newsfile this Saturday. There is no point recounting what he had to say, let me concentrate on the new threat from Kwamena Ahwoi who will join with Mrs. Cecelia Johnson to turn rogue witness against Government. These two “very powerful” people will enable Africa Automobile Limited (AAL) to extract from Government, a sum of $1.5 billion if we do not accept that they can have an out of court settlement.
Professor Kwamena Ahwoi is a learned man. Many letters and much experience as a politician. He has also served this country in many roles, from PNDC through NDC and I think he played a significant role during the AFRC time, though I am not sure what he did then.
In his writing, he informs that he negotiated the transaction with AAL and Mrs. Johnson authorized the payments. I suppose this makes it all valid and above board, which would be ok if we were still in the PNDC days when I could not have written this piece.
The number of Gallopers (some high-tailed away to someplace) is now between 110 and 70. Forgetting all the nonsense, what Prof. Ahwoi is saying is, he is prepared to speak for AAL who claim they have incurred losses of $13.6 million per galloper ($1.5 billion divided by 110). He is also threatening to defend AAL, a company that has had problems with the tax authorities, CEPS, ECG and a few others, from who we are yet to hear. The Directors of AAL are barely visible and I have heard stories that they had a friendship going with JJ at some point.
But why would Prof. Ahwoi issue this statement and threaten to break with Ghanaians after he has served us for so long? Does he really accept that a Galloper vehicle purchased in 1999 for $30,200 can now be claimed at $13.6 million each? This means the value has gone up 450 times, which is 41times (450/11) a year, which is 3.4 times every month. I accept that during the PNDC era, interest rates could cause that kind of transaction. If I borrowed ghc1,000, I would have to pay back ghc3,400 at the end of the month. 340%?
Does Prof. Ahwoi realize that he wants to exchange 110 Gallopers for the supply of all the crude from the Jubilee Fields for more than one year?
Come again Prof., where lies your sting? Let’s go to court. This deal stinks and there is enough, (even with the kind of A-G’s department we have to retrieve our money), and we have Martin Amidu to assist, to take this all the way. No judgment debt settlement Prof., we want the courts to decide. We are no longer fools as we were in 1983.
This week, the People’s Vigilante had his say on this issue. It never came to the A-G for an out-of-court settlement to be considered, and he was the A-G at the time. The man is repaying the taxpayer for education well obtained.
Ghana, aha a ye de papa! alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

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