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General News of Friday, 3 May 2002

Source: Network Herald

'The NPP's Shady International Deals

The mounting evidence of shady financial deals by the Government, have not even persuaded President Kufuor and his spin-doctors to abandon their empty slogans of "transparency," "zero-tolerance for corruption," and other falsehood. They are obviously oblivious to the growing public criticisms of their fraudulent international transactions in procurement, award of contracts and loan acquisitions.

Unconstitutional International Acquisitions

On GTV News of the 22nd of April 2002, Ghanaians and the whole world saw the most pathetic exhibition of dishonesty by President Kufuor when, at the GIMPA meeting with his Ministers, he tried to rationalize the Government's unconstitutional acquisition of loans and cars from Nigeria. According to him, his Government did not see the need to seek Parliamentary approval for the acquisition of 100 Peugeot cars for the Police because 50,000 tons of cocoa has been smuggled to Togo and the Police needed the cars quickly to combat such smuggling.

Earlier this month his bungling chief-spin-doctor, Information Minister Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey had explained the source of funding for the cars as "the Provisional Estimates." This statement was revealed by the NDC Minority in Parliament to be both contradictory and false. Contradictory because of Jake's own claim that "the acquisition was governed by a 3-year payment duration at 0% interest for the first consignment of 50 cars and 2.5% for the second consignment." How can items that have been bought with Ghana's own allocated money attract a 3-year repayment schedule with interest?

Jake's explanation was also false in two senses. On the one hand, the Provisional Estimates or Votes on Account approved by Parliament in December 2001 for the Police Service Budget for investment was only 820 million cedis; a sum that could purchase only 8 of the 100 procured cars. On the other hand, Nigerian Members of Parliament had let the cat out of the bag with the criticism of their own Government for failing to get Nigerian Parliamentary approval for a loan of $13 million to Ghana for the purchase of Peugeot saloon cars from Nigeria to the Ghana Police.

So, the NPP Government had, without Parliamentary approval as prescribed by Article 181 of our Constitution, contracted an international loan of $13 million ostensibly for the purchase of 100 Peugeot cars that cost a total of $1.3 million? Where are the much-trumpeted NPP transparency and zero-tolerance for corruption?

Well, as it turned out last Friday at GIMPA, Mr. Kufuor was not only at his incoherent and fumbling best but "the gentle giant" was also lamentably vulgar. Like a wounded animal, his angry and flailing tail swiped at his critics with the not so gentle phrase "evil forces." And all because his government's current tragedy of errors and crisis of financial mismanagement are reminiscent of last year's scandalous SAHARA deal in which the NPP government apparently set up a crude oil supply company fronted by its Party functionaries and Nigerain collaborators.