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Opinions of Sunday, 18 April 2010

Columnist: Amoako, Kwadwo

Raymond Archer¹S Cowardly Attack On The Rawlingses

I have read with trepidation a series of publications alleging that the
Mills Administration has paid an amount of USD $5 million to former
President Rawlings and his wife.
The Daily Searchlight reported that the Editor of the Enquirer, Raymond
Archer had said on the Saturday April 10 edition of the ³Alhaji and Alhaji²
programme on ³Radio Gold² that though the former First Couple had received
an amount of $5 million dollars from the Mills Administration they had
proceeded to champion the cause of disgruntled foot soldiers who are
accusing the government of not attending to their welfare by way of
employment opportunities.
Mr Archer then proceeded to disassociate himself from the Daily Searchlight
report in widely circulated rebuttals accuse the Searchlight editor of
ŒBigfoot¹ journalism.
Commenting on the issue of foot soldiers agitating against the Mills
administration on the Radio Gold programme Archer did question why those who
had taken $5 million dollars from government had not used that opportunity
to employ some of the aggrieved supporters in their factory.
There is clear inference in the statement by Mr Archer and it is pure
cowardice and indeed ³bigfoot¹ journalism for him to run away from the fact.
Inferences and innuendoes are dangerous areas competent journalists dare not
thread because of the legal minefield they pose and the fact that affected
persons can sue for libel or slander whether their names are mentioned or
not. All that matters is for right-thinking members of the public to
recognise who or what is being referred to.
It is public knowledge that Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings is associated with
Caridem Development Company Limited, which is a minority shareholder in Calf
Cocoa. It is public knowledge that in December 2009 the Attorney General
publicly stated at a press conference that the latter organisation had been
paid monies being a judgement debt awarded by the courts during the previous
administration.
It is also public knowledge that the former First Couple have been critical
of the Mills Administration in as much as its management of party foot
soldiers are concerned.
My investigations indicate that the payment to Calf Cocoa was in lieu of a
ruling by the Accra High Court on March 5, 2008 which ordered the government
of Ghana to pay an amount of USD$ 3,550,000.00 plus accrued interest to Calf
Cocoa following the brazen refusal of the then government to pay an amount
of $1,800,000.00 to Calf Cocoa being the final tranche of a Subsidiary Loan
Agreement (SLA) between Calf Cocoa and the Ghana Government for the
establishment of the Cocoa Factory.
In fact the Attorney-General, Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu said in a statement of
December 22, 2009 said that: ³That case arose simply because NPP Government
refused to honour a contractual agreement between the Government of Ghana
and Calf Cocoa for the payment of the sum of US$1,800,000.00 as working
capital, after the construction of the cocoa processing factory. When it
became clear, after the exchange of correspondence, that the NPP Government
did not intend to pay the sum, Calf Cocoa took the matter to court.²
According to the judgement the factory was set up to process Ghana¹s raw
cocoa into cocoa oil, cakes and aromatic products. Following the Kufuor
government¹s failure to pay the working capital of USD $1,800,000.00 the
factory¹s machinery deteriorated.
Indeed during the pendency of the case, a witness described the state of the
project as follows:
³The buildings are there, running down, the equipment installed. The
rubbers, the covers etc are getting worn out and there are thefts also. Just
this February the Chinese representative there sent us a message that the
motors had been removed.²
This is a factory that can employ thousands of Ghanaians when it is fully
operational but was prevented from doing so due to political expediency. Now
that efforts are being made to resuscitate it, is it not unfortunate to try
and denigrate the Rawlingses when in fact it is not their personal project,
and even if it was there is no way one can begrudge them for conceiving such
a great idea. I commend 31st December through Caridem for such a good
project.
The judge in her ruling on the matter stated that:
³Value addition to raw cocoa beans has always been on the economic agenda of
this country. The objective of this company is to process Cocoa Beans into
Butter and other value added products. The country has recently commissioned
cocoa processing plants such as Barry Callibaut and Cadbury and Fry in
furtherance of this objective. So why should this project not meet the light
of day? Whose fault is it? What went wrong?
It is clear the loose remarks by Mr Archer were calculated to sow
disaffection for the former First Couple by creating an impression that they
were quietly benefiting from some largesse from government.
I think Raymond Archer¹s should get off his high horse and apologise to the
former First Couple for his irresponsible comments. Why create an impression
that the Mills administration had given a $5 million gift to the Rawlingses
when in fact it was a judgement debt to a company they do not even own? And
he should stop his lame argument about not having mentioned their names. He
should know better.
If the agenda of Raymond Archer and his cohorts and sponsors is to sow
disaffection for the Former First Couple then they have a lot of work to do.
Kufuor did so and failed miserably. So Raymond, gird your loins.

By Kwadwo Amoako
Kwadwo.amoakogh@gmail.com