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14.01.2005 General News

Osafo Maafo Demoted - Palaver

By Palaver Reporter
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... According to 'Plan'

ALTHOUGH the removal of Mr Yao Osafo Maafo from the Ministry of Finance did not come as a surprise to top financial house experts, many were those who received the news with "open mouth".

According to close associates of Mr Maafo, the Minister, himself, was expecting a change, but he had placed his bet on that of being shifted to the Ministry of Agriculture, where, with his background, as an agronomist, he could have felt more comfortable there.

However, to the man in the street, especially those who had believed in the claims of Osafo Maafo, being the second best Finance Minister in the world and the best in Africa, the "transfer", to them, could prove counter-productive, since the President himself had described his economic programme, during his first term, as "successful".

Credit for that "success", it had been assumed, belonged to the Finance Minister, who the Government, itself, on some occasions, had told Ghanaians that he enjoyed the confidence of top officials of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as those from the Donor countries.

What many people might have lost sight of is the way Osafo Maafo misled the Government, in two instances, on the sourcing of huge international loans, which made headlines, but which turned out not only to be a hoax but also dubious in nature.

For, in both cases, if a section of the people had not been extra-vigilant and sounded the alarm bells, Ghana would have been robbed by some international crooks and fraudsters.

Those were in connection with transactions with a fraudulent "IFC" loan and a bizarre case of a wild-goose chase for another loan, which sent Ghanaians knocking at doors of a hair-dressing salon and a refugee home-that was the case of the embarrassing experience, in which the Government put its head on line, with an expected "windfull" form a CNTCI, a company whose head is now on the ran.

Meanwhile, some insiders have also hinted that the transfer, seen as a demotion, is an attempt to block his chances of pursuing his ambition to seek nomination as a presidential candidate for his party in the 2008 elections.

Meanwhile, Mr Baah Wiredu, into whose hands the national purse is being pushed into, is reported to be celebrating his promotion to the prestigeous Finance Ministry.

His only worry is whether he would be allowed to have his way, given the fact that the Ministry is already over-loaded with experts, advisers and special assistants, some of whom, have direct access to the President.

Besides, the tendency of Senior Minister J. H. Mensah, being always anxious to look over the shoulders of other ministers, especially that at the Minister of Finance, will be resisted by Mr Baah-Wiredu, who will like to enjoy his independence, regardless of age.

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