The NPP MP for the Asokwa constituency, Maxwell Kofi Jumah is asking the government to arrest the deputy minister of information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and charged with fraud over what he described as active connivance by the minister with African Automobile Limited (AAL) to defraud the state.
According to him, if the said the $1.5bn looming judgment debt to be paid to African Automobile Limited (AAL) was approved by cabinet, then any member who sat in the meeting should also be arrested and charged with fraud.
To him, there is no basis for the payment of such an amount to the African Automobile Limited for no work done.
The Asokwa MP has ignited the controversy surrounding the $1.5bn looming judgment debt to be paid to African Automobile Limited (AAL) for the delivery of 86 cross country vehicle to Ghana in 200,1 saying it is a fraudulent deal.
The company is said to have imported about 86 cross country vehicles which were ordered by the NDC in 1999 and delivered in 2001 for distribution to local assemblies but have been left to rot in a bonded warehouse.
African Automobile Limited is claiming $1.5 billion due to interest accrued on the initial amount of $17 million.
However speaking on Asempa Fm's Ekosii-Sen on Thursday, Maxwell Kofi Jumah noted that there was no official contract between the state and African Automobile Limited which should warrant the payment of such a huge amount of money.
He accused the Deputy Minister and government of deliberately conniving with the company to steal from the ordinary Ghanaian.
The former deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development said though at the time the issue pooped up during the Kufour regime, he was not a minister, upon assuming work at the ministry, he later read more about it. “I read more on the gallopers but found no agreement between the company and government”.
“The late Baah Wiredu was the first minister at the local government ministry and the first challenge he faced was this issue. At the time Baah Wiredu saw that the former minister, Kwamena Ahwoi had arranged with the company to furnish the various assemblies with vehicles but there was no agreement to that effect.
Though there was no agreement, the deal would have been brokered but Baah Wiredu saw that the vehicles (gallopers) were bad and lacked the agreed specifications so he asked them to do the right thing. We never heard from the company till the Mills government came into office”.
Kofi Jumah asserted that the way Mr. Ablakwa is defending the African Automobile Limited on the “so called” judgment debt could suggest there is some level of connivance to defraud the state.
He stressed that the erstwhile Kufour-led administration realized that the deal was bad so “I am wondering why such a bad deal can attract the so called debt. What work did they do?”
Mr. Jumah debunked claims that the Kufour administration took delivery of some of the vehicles before rejecting the others saying “anybody who says we took even one of the vehicles, then I don't know what is wrong with that person because we rejected all of them. We rather asked the company to take the gallopers and furnish us with the agreed ones but didn't hear from them again till now. It is very glaring that this is fraud”.
The former KMA Boss is calling for the arrest and prosecution of the owners of African Automobile Limited for attempting to defraud the state. “It is even the company that should pay the said amount for taking part of the money and doing a shoddy job”.
He admonished government not to do any out of court settlement with the African Automobile Limited because it will amount to financial loss to the state.
“What is out of court settlement? It is bogus venture because it is the people who are trying to rob us so why negotiate with them. It is even amazing to hear the amount accruing up to $1.5bn. It is simply fraudulent”, Mr. Jumah bellowed.
Story by Twum Barima/Asempa news/Ghana