08.02.2003 Feature Article

Finance Minister Must Pay For His Blunder

Finance Minister Must Pay For His Blunder
08.02.2003 LISTEN

Before any country contracts a loan, several groundbreaking home work is done to check the background of the company giving out the loan. This is to ensure that good money is not thrown away after the deal is signed. Reason being that, once the deal is signed it costs more to back out. Ghana is blessed with many professionals both inside and outside the country who can investigate the background of any company wanting to do business with Ghana. Therefore, it was very strange when Kuffour’s government went ahead with preparations of securing the IFC loan without any credible background check on IFC. The situation even looked odd when after some Ghanaians had done their own investigations and pointed to the Finance Minister, Mr. Osafo-Mafo that the whole deal smacks fishy, he still insisted that it was a genuine deal. What baffled many Ghanaians was the way so-called presidential spokespersons including my own professor, Mr. Amponsah-Bediako came on air to defend the authenticity of the loan and vouched for IFC when they in fact knew nothing about IFC. But when the IFC deal fell apart, sleeping dogs are being made to lie down. Ghanaians including journalists like Kwaku Baako have all kept quiet and the whole fuzzy deal is being treated as a footnote. Ghanaians have forgotten that in preparation for the fuzzy IFC loan the finance minister and his entourage made several trips outside Ghana, at the expense of Ghana, to work out the deal. Ironically these trips were paid for with the tax payers money. More than four months after Kuffour’s government shut the door on the IFC deal, many have thought the finance minister and the so-called senior prefect, J. H. Mensah who took Ghanaians for a ride will be taken to task by the president. But the opposite is the situation. As usual everything is being treated as if nothing ever happened. I remember Tsatsu Tsikata and others being dragged to court for causing financial loss to Ghana. Now the big question is “Did Osafo-Marfo and the big prefect also cause any financial loss to Ghana with their fuzzy deal”. If the answer is yes, then they have to reimburse the country. Ghana as a country is bleeding from bad judgement and costly experimentation by people placed at positions of trust. Therefore, if a person placed at a position of trust fumbles that person must pay for it. I need not remind President Kuffour that Osafo-Mafo and his brother-in-law Mr. Mensah took him for a wide ride. Ghana lost face in the eyes of the international community when it came out that her leaders do not have any credible background information on IFC. I urge the president to ask the finance minister to reimburse Ghana for all expenses incurred in connection with the IFC deal. Some precedent has to be set. The president should not be fooled that the 2004 elections would be a walkover contest. He should remember that even in the 2000 elections when all the other smaller parties rallied behind him he did not win a landslide. Ghana has come a long way. Many people are watching with critical eyes as they continue to go over the tall list of promises that the Kuffour administration has not been able to fulfill ever since they took office. The usual answer his cronies always give is “He has not been in power for long.” Time, like tide waits for no man. And a rolling stone they say gather no moss. Therefore, the president needs to cut down on his weekly travels, stay home, watch events in Ghana with critical eyes and help solve the numerous problems confronting Ghana. Nobody forced him to power. He said he wanted to and Ghanaians gave him the mantle so he should deliver. The era of speechifying and empty promises is over. 04 is just around the corner.

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