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20.05.2004 General News

Chinese Salon Loan: Mahama Blasts Colleagues

By Chronicle
Chinese Salon Loan: Mahama Blasts Colleagues
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... Bogus and fraudulent loan - Tony Aidoo ... Govt's Position: SILENCE! Hon. John Dramani Mahama, MP for Bole-Bamboi and NDC Communications Director, has censured the NDC members on the Finance Committee of Parliament for misleading the minority to approve the controversial CNT loan agreement. According to Mr. Mahama, the Minority members on the committee who were supposed to examine the loan agreement extensively, failed to do so before they recommended it to the rest of the group. Citing the IFC loan proposal as an example he said it was rejected by the minority and subsequently withdrawn by the government because the minority members on the committee had raised “the red flag” about some inconsistencies in the loan agreement. He said it was based on this that the minority opposed the loan. “Unfortunately this time round our members have failed us,” Mr. Mahama told The Chronicle in an interview, saying the only problem their members mentioned was the issue of the 8% management fee, which they said had been resolved. According to him, they were told that when the issue of the management fee was raised the government explained that it had negotiated with the CNT people who had agreed to reduce it to 4%, out of which 1.5% would be a commitment fee. The NDC communication Director said the committee members advised that with the issue of the management fee resolved, there was nothing wrong with the loan agreement, only for them to realize later that there were a lot of inconsistencies in it. He said addresses and registration of the company were not correct, because these numbers were traced to barbering saloons and supermarkets, which obviously raised doubts about the authenticity of the CNT group as moneylenders. Mr. Mahama indicated that in the national interest, the minority group in Parliament had decided to bring back the issue to the floor of the House for further debate. He said they had already tabled a motion and when Parliament re-convened the Finance Minister would have to answer questions on the new developments on the loan agreement. Mr. Mahama said the Minority had put a lot of trust in the government, but the government had failed the nation. To ensure that in future such lapses did not occur, he said the minority would suggest to the parliament to compel the ministry of finance and the Bank of Ghana to attach due diligence report to any loan agreement that would be brought before parliament. He accused the BoG and the Finance Ministry of not doing any background investigations about the CNT group. In a related development, Dr. Tony Aidoo, the NDC firebrand, who blasted Mr. Moses Asaga, the party's spokesman on finance and demanded his immediate resignation for his handling of the loan issue, has redirected his salvo to the government and Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.
Aidoo, a former deputy Minister of Defence who claimed that the NPP and the Minister had deceived Parliament and the public through what he termed “bogus and fraudulent CNT loan”, demanded further explanation from the minister.
“The information is that it was obvious that there are serious anomalies in the document covering the agreement. First parliament has asked that the approval of the loan be rescinded and there is also a motion on the floor and I think that it will be debated. Then after that whatever happens, Mr. Osafo Maafo has the burden to prove that this agreement is not very dubious or fraudulent.”
Speaking to The Chronicle in a telephone interview on Tuesday, he said, “My criticism of Mr. Asaga does not mean that I have let the NPP and Mr. Osafo Maafo off the hook because they bear the ultimate responsibility,” adding that Parliament has a constitutional duty to expose the incompetency in arranging “the bogus loan - at least what appears to be”.
He said Mr. Osafo Maafo must come out with a stronger evidence to show that the company was genuine. “He will have to bring stronger evidence showing the bonafide of this company and that it has the so called funds at its own disposal and not just getting Ghana government guarantee to go and fish for the loan so that it can give to the nation.”
According to him the three documents in addition to a memorandum of understanding which were attached to the feasibility study of the CNT loan to parliament, revealed various anomalies.
“How can a company that is presenting itself as the financier also propose that it is going to be the implementer of the project for which the loan is being contracted?” he asked, “I think what the CNT and the NPP government are up to is that they have formed a consortium and they are going to get a Ghana government guarantee which the new consortium will take to the market to search for funds. Those funds are to be given to the consortium to carry out projects,” he alleged.
The former deputy Minister early this week demanded the resignation of the Minority Spokesman for his inability to assess the credibility of the loan agreement considering the failure of the previous IFC loan.