You are here: HomeNews2009 02 06Article 157346

General News of Friday, 6 February 2009

Source: Chronicle

Chaos as Mills halts payments to JAK


A storm has erupted over the payment of ex-gratia award to ex-President J.A. Kufuor in the last few days,on the blind side of President Atta Mills. The Chronicle learnt that the authorization for the release of funds through the Accountant General had been authorized by Togbe Afede and has sparked off massive tongue-wagging within the corridors of power.

The man known in private life as Mr. James Akpo currently chairs the Transition Team Committee on the economy, and has been given powers to release monies for urgent disbursements, but this action of the man has incurred suspicion about the man whose personal relations with the former President is widely known to be chummy especially.

He went on to the Board of the Bank of Ghana along with other presidential friends like Messrs Nick Amartefio and Kwabena Darko, a strong member of the NPP and the latter, a former Presidential candidate of the National independent Party, and a Reverend Minister.

Togbe Afede’s membership of the NDC has remained clearly private, but he was a prime mover in the formation of Databank which was with current chairman Mr. Ken Ofori Atta in 1990, but split up with him going on to form Strategic African Securities(SAS) around 1994.

While Mr. Ofori Atta had remained a bulwark in the NPP, Togbe Afede had remained very aloof with his political proclivities, spawning a rash of papers on macro economics and calculations of gross domestic Product.

In 2008, he touched off a massive row with Dr. Charles Mensah and the Volta River Authority (VRA) over the citing of an energy plant from China on land he believed had been ceded him by the chief and people of Kpong. President Kufuor waded in the matter and had him relocate his plant to a suitable location, thus earning the friendship of President Kufuor.

‘Maybe it was this gesture which has endeared him to Kufuor, and influenced his decision to single-handedly authorize the payment of the award which is the single most important issue that is awaiting decision by the President’.

‘This places the President in an awkward position’, said a source close to the transition team which is now dissolved but still functions at the conference centre,’’ there is a lot of commotion over this ex-grazia award and the president is waiting to take a decision on it, what impression will be created in the mind of people if he is known to have taken a decision such as this’.

On Tuesday the Committee of Joint Action, a Kwesi Pratt sponsored organ, hit the streets demanding a Presidential review of the award. Some MPs have come out to say they will review the package, and Hon P.C Ofori has threatened legal action.

In the midst of this President Mills has put a freeze on all such payments, ex-gratia or not while things are sorted out.

At the same time Mr. Frank Agyekum, the director of Communications of the Office former President President Kufuor was quoted in the Ghanaian Times of Tuesday as saying that since January 2006, both ex-President Kufuor and ex-President Rawlings have been drawing the enhanced emoluments and the associated benefits.

But this was contradicted by Mr. Kofi Adams special aide to the former President who noted that as much Rawlings drew his regular pension, he has rejected the special package awarded under the Chinery Hesse committee.

The freeze on payments appeared to have affected the MPs as well as the directive was said to have been issued by the Bank of Ghana on behalf of the Transition team.

Dr. Kwabena Dufuor was said to be locked in a series a meeting with a visiting delegation from the International Monetary Fund.

Togbe Afede who is in the storm over the release of funds has been cited to be in the running for the job of Governor of the Central Bank.

Sources say that his temperamental attitude does not sit well with most people. The current Governor whose term of office draws nigh does not seem to be on the best of terms with him.

The soft spoken Governor, according to sources who know them, say that Acquah been every so laid back in releasing timely internal information of the Bank’s data to him because of fears that SAS, Afede’s company could be a potential arbitrageur. His company trades on the Ghana Stock Exchange, and he could be a beneficiary of such sensitive banking information.

Suspicions abound around him because of his obvious conflict of interest situation he find himself in as an investment banker whose insider knowledge of financial information from the Bank of Ghana will give advantage over others who dabble in stocks and shares on the Ghanaian bourse