08.06.2004 General News

Finance Minister did not address main issues of CNT loan - CPP

08.06.2004 LISTEN

Accra, June 8, GNA - The United Kingdom and Ireland Branch of the Conventions People's Party (CPP) says Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, failed to address the main issues at the heart of the China New Techniques and Construction Limited (CNTCL) loan at his press conference last Thursday.

A press release signed by Nii Armah Akomfrah, Chairman of the Branch, said after weeks of muddle and chaos surrounding the CNTCL's 300 million dollars loan and weeks during which all Government business and activity was overshadowed by the issue, Mr Osafo-Marfo called a press conference and had an opportunity to lift the doubts and uncertainty and to restore credibility but he failed miserably in that task and did not address the main issues.

The release said Mr Osafo-Maafo did not explain why the Government of Ghana was seeking loans from apartment bedrooms in London and whether after joining the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative the country could not secure loans from reputable banks or finance houses. The release said the Finance Minister neither established whether the transaction was not a loan or supplier's agreement nor did he show the clear identity, location and ownership of CNTC GROUP HOLDINGS LTD. It asked why the due diligence assessment did not churn out the basics of wrong addresses and telephone numbers and why the Minister did not categorically assure the nation that it was not in breach of any international laws on money laundering.

The release said Mr Osafo-Maafo did not clarify whether the Management Fee of 4 per cent was competitive against similar loans and what appeared to be a double counting of fund allocation against construction projects.

It asked whether the Ghana High Commission in London was involved in the due diligence assessment and why it appeared that Journalists had more information than the Minister on the issue.

The release said the Government should now realize that it was in danger of becoming a "lame duck" government since any initiative, announcement or policy had been completely drowned by this issue. It said Ghana's development was intrinsically linked to the proper management of the country's financial and economic affairs and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning's handling of this issue made it the main election issue.

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