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24.05.2004 General News

Chinese Salon Loan: NDC Knocked Down

By The Daily Guide
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…Over $300m Chinese 'Barber Loan' Until Saturday almost the whole of Ghana was resigned to the news that Ghana has been embarrassed by a fraudulent company, promising to give us a fake loan from a hairdressing saloon in London.

But that was before Mr. Kweku Baako, Editor-In-Chief of the Crusading Guide, when the extra mile to do a thorough research on the $300million loan facility from the China New Techniques and Construction Investment Ltd. (CCNTI)

Joy FM in particular had sent a correspondent to 150 Hammersmith Road, London, the address provided on the documents on the loan sent to Parliament, to confirm that it was a saloon called Wish. However, on Joy FM's News file programmed last Saturday, Kweku Baako stressed that CCNTI has indeed an address on Hammersmith Road but a saloon. He promised to give details of the tendency agreement and other details of the tenancy agreement. But Daily Guide can reveal that there was an omission in the address submitted to Parliament. The post code, W6 7JZ, of the address, refers to 150 Latymer court Hammersmith Road. Further checks indicate that to be a property owned by CCNTI.

Also, Joy FM says it hired a 'top' auditing firm in London, which reported back that the registered address of CCNTI was in fact a Chinese supermarket in Cardiff, Wales. The Accra station sent another of its correspondence to Wales who reported back, deepening the ridicule and embarrassment heaped on the Kufuor administration.

Ironically, as pointed out by one of the panelists, Asare Otchere-Darko, on the Saturday Joy FM programme, the United Kingdom's version of registrar-general's office Companies House has its headquarters at Cardiff. However Joy FM claims it chose to employ the services of an auditor to check with companies house and sent a reporter to an address close to companies house, but apparently without making the extra walk, to cross check for themselves.

According to documents read by Baako on Saturday, evidence from Companies House confirms that the registered address of CCNTI was rather Barlow House, W2, Central London, but not Cardiff.

Baako has tasked the critics and especially Joy FM to take its investigations of the office of the registrar of companies in England, for proof of the existence of the CCNTI and its directors, instead of playing to the gallery by knocking on the doors of a hairdresser, scarring her and other workers, and trying to ridicule the Kufuor Government. He indicated that all information about the CNTCI and its major shareholders can be easily accessed from the Registrar at the company's house, Cardiff, by anybody who is serious, and wishes to find out the facts in good faith.

Joy FM's Komla Dumor who has been enthusiastically running a daily report on the $300m facility also challenged the authenticity of one of the people connected with CCNTI, David Wilmer, who describes himself as a former aide of the White House. Komla Dumor rubbished Wilmer's credentials by saying that he Dumor studied for one year at the Harvard and his professor who is a veteran of the White House, never heard of Wilmer. So the journalist of the year jumped to conclude that Wilmer never served under any US presidents.

But as the findings of a former journalist of the year, Baako, show, a simple search on the internet could have yielded a more factual accurate result. According to Mr. Baako, Mr. Wilmer is a living person who had worked with the President Nixon administration in 1974 and has been part of several transitions of a couple of administrations in the United States in highly placed positions, he stressed, quoting conspicuously the authoritative Washington Post and the Atlanta Journal both highly regarded newspaper in the US.

According to Baako, he had his own and with his personal resources, spoken to the Ghana Embassy in China, representatives of the company in Hong Kong, London and the United States of America, and had assistance from an international investigative organization that he has been associated with, to fish out the facts on an issue which has taken centre state for the past few days.

He expressed regret that it is bad journalistic practices for some one to merely go and stand by the Hammersmith block and speak to a hairdresser, and after this claim that this is the company's offices, arguing to the effect that this is not a good way to conduct investigation into such an important national matter. The loan is to among other things, develop Ghana's railway network, left to collapse over the year by previous governments.

Baako's presentation at the Newsfile appears to have silenced the critics and put the ball squarely in the court of the critics to salvage their image, or put their tails in between their legs.

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