Feature Article of Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Columnist: Ibrahim, Patriot Faisal

Is this another scheme to steal?

Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa must be regretting for throwing into the fray the 1.5Billion Galloper scam.

The NDC Government is always looking for "political equalization".

Apparently the agreement was between Kwamena Ahwoi (as a person) and African Automobile Limited (AAL). No contract was signed for and on behalf of government.

This was a time the NDC 19 years reign was coming to an end. That was the culture then, government officials committed the nation to huge financial responsibilities without proper care and documentation. Many of those officials who were thrown in jail committed such blunders. They treated government business with high recklessness. I don’t believe any of them will do same with their personal company.

How on earth were they expecting the NPP Government to pay more than 2,000,000,000 Cedis for a second-hand Hyundai Galloper in 2001? The NPP government, fortunately, was not that reckless.

What is worse, they left Ghana impoverished. The economy was in a very bad state. The AFP reported "Ghana's next president, to be elected Thursday, will face a deepening economic crisis marked by high unemployment, spiralling inflation and a dangerously weakening currency." (6 December 2000). How could they expect the NPP pay such an amount when they left the coffers empty?

Apart from that, the price of those used vehicles were also offensively high.

So: 1. There was no contract. 2. The economy was collapsed. 3. The price was offensively high.

There was no way any serious government will carry such an unnecessary burden.

After more than 12 years, the same group of people who initiated this scam against the state has resurrected it. They have expressed interest in paying the amount with a gargantuan interest.

According to Okudjeto Ablakwa, their "baby" has ballooned from $17Million to $1.5Billion. Our government seems more committed to the payment of judgment debts and settlements than improving the life of ordinary Ghanaians. In the said interview he granted Daily Graphic, he said government was "negotiating" to beat down the amount.

It is interesting to know that, throughout the 8 year rule of the NPP, African Automobile Limited did not bother to pursue the matter in court. I believe that is an admission of guilt on their part. Which serious business organization will be this lax in such a manner for all these years? So, AAL has not taken the matter to court but the deputy minister says this is a “judgment debt”. How can it be a judgment debt when there is no court judgment in AAL’s favor for the payments?

Unfortunately, the NDC Government has paid GHC 8.4Million already according to reports.

What sin have we committed to deserve this wanton misuse and misappropriation of public funds?

The judgment debt cases are so messy, just as they are complicated.

Ghanaians must resist this scam being carried out by the NDC Government.