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21.06.2005 General News

Spin-off from the "Hotel Kufuor" Affair ...

By Palaver

Palaver -- Whilst the "Hotel Kufuor" Affair continues to provide very negative fallouts for the NPP such as the exposure of their financing strategies as reported in our issue of last Friday, it is also yielding very positive spin-offs for the opposition NDC.

One of such spin-offs is the revelation by Ms. Giselle Yazji that NPP Ministers used to privately applaud the zest and aplomb with which the NDC Ministers performed, and the very positive results that they achieved in their time.

Confirmation of this is contained in one of the several documents in the possession of Ms. Giselle Yazji, which she has put in the media domain in support of her claim that she is what she claims she was.

In a letter titled "Application for a Loan to Finance the Rehabilitation of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital – Maternity and Children's Blocks", reference KUW/L/KBMCB – 03 dated 14th May 2003 and signed by Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, MP, as Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and addressed to the "Director General, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, P. O. Box 2921, Safat, 13030 Kuwait", the Minister stated as follows:

"In 1996 as part of reforms in the health sector, a Sector Wide Approach (SWAP) was embarked upon. This is a sector programme supported by donors, based on an agreed set of management arrangements and memorandum of understanding. It anticipates that the sector's plans are prioritised within the resource envelope. Over the decade the resultant effect of the reforms has been a significant improvement in the health status of Ghanaians".

Of course Mr. Osafo-Maafo does not mention the NDC by name, but "judicial notice" is taken of the fact that the NDC was the Government in power between 1996 – 2001, and therefore any reference to governance in that period can only be a reference to the NDC Government.

This confession or admission is in sharp contrast to official NPP position and the cacophonous noises constantly made by the NPP that the PNDC/NDC Governments did nothing in their 19 years in office, and that they "left a mess behind".

Mr. Osafo-Maafo's letter however goes on to state that despite this achievement, "in terms of health attainment", Ghana ranks 144th amongst 191 countries assessed by World Health Organisation (WHO Report 2000), and uses this as a basis to request the Kuwait Fund "to provide funds——to provide a concessional loan of twenty million US dollars (US$20 million) to finance the rehabilitation of the Maternity and Children's Blocks of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra".

This is the loan that Ms. Giselle Yazji claims she worked on with then Minister of Health Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, but which failed when the Government decided that it preferred instead to use it to build a new Children's Hospital.

Observers believe that the envisaged new Children's Hospital was none other than the "Hotel Kufuor" which the Kufuor family agreed to convert into a Children's Hospital at one time, for which they wanted to divert the money from the Kuwaiti Fund.

In an e-mail from Mr. Al Hashim of the Kuwaiti Fund ([email protected]_FUND.ORG) to Ms. Giselle Yazji ([email protected]) dated 9/29/2004 (29th September 2004), time at 12:04:22 Eastern Standard Time, the Kuwait Fund stated as follows:

"Subj: RE: (no subject)

Date: 9/29/2004 12:04:22 AM Eastern Standard Time

From: [email protected]_FUND.ORG

To: [email protected]

Dear Mrs. Yazji,

—Last week our team who visited Accra came back without initialling the loan agreement for the hospital by the Ghanian authorities as they said that they want to reconsider the whole matter. They are thinking of building a new hospital instead of rehabilitating the existing one which means extra feasibility studies and more time delay.

Wish you all the success and please accept my best greetings.

A. Alhashim"

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