IN a remarkable about turn that can only be interpreted as a "retreat", the NPP Government is seeking to back away from the US$300 million CNT/CNTCI scam loan that it got Parliament to approve about two months ago.
Readers will recall that in the midst of the controversy generated over the loan sparked off by 'Ghana Palaver's' exposure that the loan might not be genuine, the NDC Parliamentary Minority filed a motion for the rescission of the loan approval decision.
That motion comes up for debate tomorrow, Wednesday June 30, 2004.
Twenty-four hours to the debate, however, 'Ghana Palaver' has intercepted a document that clearly shows that the NPP Government is now very uncomfortable with the loan.
Instead of standing up to resist the rescission motion and support the loan which was staunchly defended by four NPP Ministers and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance at a Press Conference held recently, the NPP MPs are now seeking to distance themselves from the loan and to support the rescission motion but in the form of a modified counter-motion that makes no sense at all.
The counter-motion, sponsored by Honourables Felix K. Owusu-Adjapong, Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Abraham Ossei-Aidoo, Deputy Majority Chief Whip, and Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, Majority Chief Whip, states as follows:
"That this House further to its approval of the Loan Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and CNT Construction Investment Ltd and CNT Group Holdings Ltd. for an amount of US$300 million for the Rehabilitation of the Eastern rail Line, Upgrading of the sections of the Achimota-Kumasi Road, setting up of a Garment village and the establishment of six cassava starch companies, calls on government to take note of the general concerns expressed on the matter and undertake deeper due diligence and Value for Money Audit in respect of the loan to safeguard national interest.
HON. FELIX K. OWUSU-ADJAPONG
HON. ABRAHAM OSSEI-AIDOOH
HON. OSEI KYEI-MENSAH-BONSU"
This is NPP propaganda comeback at its best. They are down, but they refuse to be out.
First, instead of stating their support for the rescission motion, which would mean victory for the NDC, the NPP is calling on the Government to undertake "deeper due diligence" and "Value for Money audit". What will be the status of the loan whilst this "deeper due diligence" is being undertaken, and how does one undertake a "Value for Money audit" of a loan that is still being processed? We can understand a "Value for Money audit" of the projects to be undertaken under the loan, but how does one undertake a "Value for Money audit" of the loan itself?
Second, by highlighting the four projects to be undertaken under the loan instead of the deficiencies and shortcomings associated with the loan and the bona fides of the lenders, the 3 NPP MPs are trying to tell Ghanaians that "these are the projects that we are trying to undertake with the loan, which the NDC "nation-wreckers" are trying to sabotage". It is typical propaganda, Goebbels-style, now NPP-style.
Reached for his comments, an NDC MP who said he was not aware of the proposed counter-motion stated nevertheless that "baabi a yegyina ara na yegyina. Bosea no, ebon kankaankan", meaning literally, "we stand where we stand, the loan really smells", that is "we remain firm with our rescission motion. The loan smells real bad!"