I am following this story because in the thick of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic-inflected ailing Ghanaian economy, quite a remarkable number of Ghanaians have, naturally, become too fixated with getting the economy back and moving on a sound footing to remember the fact that not very long ago, the greatest headache facing Ghanaian taxpayers was what I have decided to label as the Judgment-Debt Gravy Train, the criminal process of the arbitrary abrogation of contracts signed or entered into by the previous government by the new government of the day for any number of reasons, including sheer ideological differences over economic development agendas.
Sometimes, such abrogation was due to the fact of glaring economic wastefulness, although seeking a modification of the same could have saved the nation and the Ghanaian taxpayer humongous amounts of money that could have been directed towards other meaningful and quality-of-life-improvement projects. One such instance was a natural-gas supply contract which Mr. Alexander Mould, the former Mahama-appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), reportedly, entered into with the government of Equatorial Guinea, worth in excess of $ 2 billion (USD), that had to be more wisely and profitably renegotiated and significantly reduced to approximately half of the original amount or cost in public debt involved.
The preceding contractual scam, that is properly speaking, was revealed by Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for the Assin-Central Constituency, in the Central Region. Now, what is significant to note and highlight here is the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Ghanaian citizenry would never have come to knowledge of this most important act of criminality against their economic wellbeing, if the proprietor of the Oman Telecommunications Network, comprising of several radio and television stations, had not auspiciously revealed the same.
Which, of course, also brings up the issue of the imperative need for the relevant operatives of the Akufo-Addo Administration, in this sector of our national political economy, I hope I am using the proper terminology, to periodically publish some of these success stories of its achievements with the same level of intensity in zeal in the manner that National Democratic Congress’ propagandists like Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament for the North-Tongu Constituency, in the Volta Region, has made it a religious point or duty of never losing one breath or missing a heartbeat to create complete disaffection in the minds and hearts of Ghanaian voters, in hopes of ensuring that the clinically and pathologically kleptocratic leaders of the National Democratic Congress would be returned to power in the offing, so that they could callously and unconscionably continue to literally lay our national economy to waste, so that they and their relatives, cronies and foreign business partners could blindly and recklessly cream our national coffers raw till the proverbial Kingdom Come.
This kind of economic success story is not easily recognizable to the ordinary Ghanaian citizen because it is not physically palpable or tangible in the way that, for example, the Fee-Free Senior High School System can be experienced and demonstrably attested by both attendees and their parents and their guardians. The story that I have right here before me on the screen of my laptop is titled “Court Chases Alex Mould Over Missing Ex-Masloc Boss” (Modernghana.com 6/15/22), and it has to do with the persistent failure or flat refusal of Ms. Sedina Christine Tamakloe Ationu, the former Managing-Director of MASLOC, the small-loan issuing government-funded micro-banking establishment to show up in court to face justice. We are informed that Ms. Ationu was granted permission to travel outside the country for a medical checkup or treatment, shortly after she and a business associate had been indicted for causing financial loss to the State, to the humongous tune of GH₵ 93 million. There are other charges pending as well, in the main, related to illegal financial payouts.
But what I am especially interested in highlighting here is the fact that it was egregiously wrong for the judge of the Accra High Court presiding over the case of Ms. Ationu to have allowed the defendant or indicted criminal suspect to ship or fly out of the country for medical treatment, when hundreds of thousands and millions of hardworking and innocent and civically responsible Ghanaian citizens have absolutely no access to such privilege. Even more significant is the need for our jurists and the Government to highlight the need for every Ghanaian citizen to be content with the available health facilities and services in the country, especially citizens who are under criminal indictment like Ms. Ationu. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with civically responsible citizens with the means who decide to seek medical assistance and/or treatment abroad.
Now, Mr. Mould’s name appears in the afore-referenced news headline primarily because we learn from the news reporter that the former CEO of the GNPC was one of two persons who had literally stepped up to the plate, in American baseball parlance, to stand surety for Ms. Sedina Tamakloe Ationu in the handsome sum of GH₵ 5 million. The second guarantor goes by the name of Ms. Gavivina Tamakloe, presumably a relative of the no-show defendant. The long and short of it all is that these two guarantors risk losing their bail money, if by July 5, when they are scheduled to appear or reappear before the Accra High Court judge presiding over the case, Mr. Mould and Ms. Tamakloe are unable to provide reasonable evidence as to why they do not deserve to lose their money.
Personally, I sincerely believe that these surety guarantors are in cahoots with the absentee defendant and are highly unlikely to lose a wink of sleep over the forfeiture of the relatively diddly sum of GH₵ 5 million, which is approximately $ 40,000 (USD). It could be worth much less, presently, when one factors in the skyrocketing level of inflation in the country at the moment. But, of course, matters must not rest there or simply end with the forfeiture of the surety, should the prime defendant still not show up in court on the next scheduled date. The Government must place a lien on all known properties of the defendant and any accomplices who may be found to be equally liable. We need a progressive revolution in the manner in which the country’s laws are enforced, else, we will be marking time in perpetuity. And this is definitely not good for the kind of robust, salutary and functional democratic culture that Ghanaians fiercely fought the erstwhile Rawlings-Tsikata dictatorship, for which quite a remarkable number of our fellow citizens and freedom fighters paid the ultimate price.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
June 15, 2022
E-mail: [email protected]