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Opinions of Thursday, 27 October 2005

Columnist: Ampofo, Ofori

Save Ghana Now Politically And Economically (5)

Fellow Ghanaians, on October 6th 2005, a Ghana web general news headline GHANA BLEEDING FROM CRONY CAPITALISM, brought my natural faculties to a stand still. I was motionless for sometime after a run-down of the news item. I will recommend to all concerned Ghanaians and friends of Ghana to take some cool time off after a day?s hard work and search for this news Item above and read. It tells all about how Politicians under the Rawlings administration, duped our Nation with their cronies. However I will equally blame the NPP administration for incompetent dispensation of Justice resulting to huge losses of needed revenue to the country.

1) According to the report, 8trillion Cedis(882 million )US dollars of PNDC/NDC sponsored Loans are yet to be recovered by the state , with some dating far back to 1987. Several of the arrears are considered as bad debts. 2) A SENIOR SOURCE AT THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE TOLD THE Statesman reporter that 100million US dollars loan was contracted by the Rawlings administration which was not sent to parliament for approval.

3) Frandesco & partners, a construction company owed by Fancied Doe NDC Financier, was granted DM, 17.1million (184 billion Cedis) and 27.2 pound steeling (430.6 billion Cedis) under the ECGD facility, guaranteed by the Government.

4) 25.6million pounds sterling (102.7 billion Cedis) of ECGD facility advanced to 15 companies is still outstanding.

5) Kamara Ltd. owed by Baba Kamara still owes 19 billion Cedis from the ECGD facility.

6) Pentrexx Ltd. has an outstanding debt of about 18.4 billion Cedis owed to the state.

7) Stanly Owusu and company a firm owed by a staunch NDC sympathizer at the time still owes 3.3 million Pounds Sterling (57 billion Cedis) to the state.

8) Apart from 25.6million, pound sterling, there is an additional balance of 80.6million Pounds Sterling approximately 1.8 Trillion Cedis of the GCGD facility owed by 7 companies Including Danielli Mabey ,owed by Danny Ofori Atta of Eagle Party and a leading member of the Wahala demonstrators. Fellow countrymen, the List goes on and on; Read the original article and get the rest of the published figures.

Ironically, Frandesco & Partners who are the major culprit is suing the government for breach of contract involving some construction work the report indicated. In July 2005, a frustrated Minister of Finance Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, the report indicated, sent a letter to the Attorney General and minister of Justice; quote, the ministry of finance is concerned about the high rate of inflow of requests to settle Judgment debts against the Government. The ministry is also however, aware that various judgments, including quality grain court computerization, in which former Government officials and investors respectively have been convicted, also made recommendations that government institutes action to recover its losses from those individuals. We are also concerned about the slow pace in dealing with C.P construction?s illegal transfer of DM117 million into its Liechtenstein account. I notice that we continue to pay fees to overseas Attorneys assisting Government in fighting CP?s claims in numerous arbitration cases in various international courts, while the alleged perpetrators continue to walk freely in Ghana. Mr. Kwadwo Baah -Wiredu?s letter, tells Mr. Ayikoi-Otoo that, while Frandesco and Partners are pursuing the Government in International courts, our own case initiated by his office since April 2002 continues to be in abeyance. The letter the report said, also mentioned of various investigated cases against former District Chief Executives (DCEs) in 2001, which continues to be in abeyance. He concluded, the lack of actions in our courts both Civil and Criminal is making the Government look bad in the eyes of our donor partners with respect to our commitment to fighting corruption, including ensuring that alleged corrupt officers are made to answer for their alleged crimes.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I can understand the Minister of Finance, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wirdu?s frustrations but, that does not solve the problem. An axe must fall on somebody to act decisively. It is unacceptable for a few greedy political cronies to hold Trillions of Cedis in delinquent Loans when Millions of poor and disadvantaged Ghanaians cannot afford the ordinarily necessities of life i.e., Food, School fees, Rent, Hospital and utilities.

FELLOW GHANAIANS, the sum up of all the above is that, Ghanaian politicians and their cronies, have established a conclusion that, no matter what happens, they will go Scot free after committing economic crimes against the country. Period. As long as our political and justice system goes on protecting such criminals, corruption, greed and willful misappropriation of the national resources will go on till the end of this world. Unless Ghanaians decide by 2008 to vote for a God fearing, Sincere, Dedicated and Selfless leader, whose ultimate interest will be to develop the Socio-Economic and Political conditions for the benefit of generations to come.

Fellow Ghanaians, Let me first set the record straight; I am not for- NPP or NDC.I am expressing my opinion as a concerned citizen of Ghana, who worries and care about what goes on in the political arena of my country. I will not blame Rawlings and his NDC government for granting Loans to their Party functionaries because; there is every indication that NPP has been doing the same thing, granting loans and contracts to their Party members.

The NDC Policy I believe was probably well meant to revamp the economy if recipients of those loans invested their capitals in job creating ventures, like small scale industries. For the economy to grow fast, yes, we need to encourage but not discourage private entrepreneurship by granting guaranteed facilities to desired citizens. However, if recipients of such facilities default in payments as evidenced, then every available Legal path should be explored to hold them accountable. If under the nose of former President Rawlings these sums of national resources were erroneously dissipated to the cronies of his Government, and they defaulted payments, but were allowed to walk and still walk free in Ghana, what moral justification then, can he claim influenced him to seize some Ghanaian Entrepreneurs Life-time assets, typical example, Mr. B.A Mensah?s International tobacco I.T.G Ltd. in 1989; just for defaulting payment of 1.3million Cedis customs and excise taxes?

If Rawlings wasn?t aware of everything that happened under his Leadership, the chronology above shows him a bit of how some of his cronies milked the people of Ghana under his watch, with most of those huge sums, being considered bad debts to the country. Can he now make some reflections privately and decide to render apologies to the Nation and all those who his actions may have offended? There is every indication that under his watch, the same nefarious and criminal economic activities for which he launched his revolutions became more prevalent and manifested. I pray he reads this portion of my article or somebody reads it, and inform him to heed the suggestion. The good people of Ghana will surely forgive him. There is no doubt about that.

I have said it before in my article Save Ghana Now, Politically and Economically Part 2 on 04/01/05; And I repeat it here again that, if we don?t make it harder for corrupt politicians and Government officials to benefit from their crimes against the country, we can never ever eradicate the cancerous habits they have acquired over the years, and Ghana will keep on sinking deeper and deeper without salvation. In the same article, I questioned the rational behind President Agyekum Kufour, pardoning messes Kwame Pepera and Victor Selomey (deceased) the former finance and deputy finance ministers respectively, after they had been found guilty by a court of law for economic crimes against the country and imprisoned. What message did the President?s action convey to our politicians and their cronies; fellow Ghanaians? Answer--DON?T WORRY GO AHEAD AND STEAL; YOU WILL BE PARDONED SOMEDAY, REGARDLESS.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM. Fellow Ghanaians, what is wrong with our judicial system? Why is the Attorney general?s office holding on to cases initiated since April 2002? What has caused the delay in dispensing justice onto Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata and others, guilty or not guilty? Is it because of logistics? Manpower? Incompetent Attorney General?s staff? Or the Incompetence of the Attorney General himself?

The Minister of Finance Mr. Baah Wiwrdu?s Frustrations on the Attorney General Mr. Ayikoi-Otoo?s inaction to prosecute those criminals in his letter should squarely be placed on the office of the President; because, if any sector of the Government machinery does not function creditably, the President has the authority to reshuffle the sector for maximum efficiency. My sense is that, all what is going on may be Politics as usual. Three years from now the President will be gone and all those documents may never be traced; and his administration may also escape prosecution by the next Government. This is a calculated political maneuver to protect the Status-quo, at the expense of the poor. The NPPand NDC, ARE BED FELLOWS.THEY UNDERSTAND THE KIND OF POLITICAL GAMES THEY ARE PLAYING. THEY KNOW GHANIANS WILL RECYCLE THEM ANYWAY SO, WHAT DO THEY CARE?

Why has 328 billion Cedis of those loans guaranteed by the Rawlings administration, been written off by the Kufour administration as none recoverable Loans or bad debts?

Four simple questions come into mind.

1) Are those who contracted those Loans deceased?

2) If they are, what collaterals were offered against the loans?

3) If they are deceased, why can?t the state confiscate their assets?

4) If those loans were granted without collaterals, somebody authorized disbursement of such loans, and therefore, why cant the Government hold that somebody responsible?

What explanation will the Government give to the people of Ghana for writing off loans that were borrowed by some individuals, guaranteed by the then Government? That is willful misappropriation of funds and somebody should be held responsible for full restitution and not writing them off as bad and doubtful debt.

Whatever happened under Rawlings watch is happening under Kufour?s watch. The Akan proverb (ABOA NO WU A, NA YEHU NE TENTEN). Literally, you can only know the length of a reptile after it dies, really comes into play here. About a month ago the Deputy Minister of finance Mr. Osei Akoto before Parliament could not explain how 27.6 billion Cedis of the HIPC fund was disbursed; but the money was gone. That is a foregone conclusion and that chapter will be closed right there at the parliament house, just like others, we will never know about. Why? Oh Why? Republic of Ghana Why?

This willful and criminal dissipation of public funds goes on everyday all over the country, from the Districts, the Regions, and National and in Government. So nobody has the clean and untainted hands to talk of the prosecution of the other.

Fellow Ghanaians, until someday, when a Government of Ghana will see the wisdom to separate the Justice department from the attorney general?s office with a none political appointee as the head,(SPECIAL PROSECUTOR); dispensation of justice on economic criminals, and abuse of political power shall continue to remain as ineffective as we have known it under past and present Governments.

The President Mr.Agyekum Kufour must get tough with the system and hand over three years from now on a clean slate. We don?t have to be under Military dictatorship to be tough on economic criminals. After all, he has nothing to loose, but an enviable LEGACY. However, he cannot stand in a glass house and throw stones. Most of my articles have been very critical on the many PRIVILEGES Government officials enjoy under the consolidated fund, while the poor and unfortunate suffer in our society. Our forward march should start from somewhere, and in my opinion, all privileges to Government officials, Ministers and Parliamentarians, should be withdrawn, and applied to the benefit of all Ghanaians. NOT JUST A FEW.

GHANA educated most, if not all, Government officials FREE at the expense of the TAX PAYER so why can?t there be moral wisdom in our politicians to give in return to GHANA, at this critical period when they have made the whole world know that we are very poor? THIS IS THE TIME GHANA ALSO NEED OUR SACRIFICES.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF HIPC GHANA, THE WAY OUR POLITICIANS HAVE RUN OUR COUNTRY TO DATE, CALLS FOR TRUE SELFLESS AND DEVOTED LEADERSHIP. THAT KIND OF A LEADER HAS ELUDED US SINCE 1966. POOR AS THEY CLAIM WE ARE, WE DON?T NEED LEADERS WHO WOULD TRAVEL AND COLLECT PER DIEM PER DAY. FOR GHANA?S SALVATION, SOME CONCERNED GHAANAIANS HAVE FORMED, SAVE GHANA NOW ASSOCIATION, TO SAVE GHANA, POLITICALLY AND ECONOMICALLY. IF YOU THINK YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF GHANA AND THE SPRIT OF NATIONALISM IS YOU, THEN JOIN US. WE ARE A NON POLITICAL ASSOCIATION LOOKING FOR CHANGE IN THE POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DIRECTION OF OUR COUNTRY. THE MOMENTUM IS PHENOMINAL; SO JOIN US. TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE ALL GHANAIANS PROUD ONCE AGAIN; MAKING THE INDEPENDENCE DAY PROCLAMATION OF GHANA, OUR BELOVED COUNTRY IS FREE FOREVER, TRULY FREE FOREVER.POLITICALLY AND ECONOMICALLY. WE BELIVE IN NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH; ONLY THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE GHANA FREE FOREVER.

GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND AND OUR PEOPLE.

Ofori Ampofo (Save Ghana Now Association)
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