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24.09.2018 Feature Article

Mahama Regime Set a Judgment-Debt Trap for NPP with StarTimes

Mahama Regime Set a Judgment-Debt Trap for NPP with StarTimes
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The suggestion by the National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Tamale-North that President Akufo-Addo may have been compromised into handing over Ghana’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform or network space to the Chinese firm called StarTimes, lacks both common sense and credibility. This is because Mr. Alhassan Suhuyini’s contention is purely based on the speculative guesswork that during his most recent official visit to China, Nana Akufo-Addo conferred with the Chief Executive Officer of StarTimes (See “Controversial StarTimes Deal: I Suspect Akufo-Addo Compromised – MP” / 9/23/18).

What we know thus far is that it was, in fact, the Mills-Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that first entered into a contractual pact with StarTimes, going as relatively far back as 2012, and may have actually introduced StarTimes into the country. Well, there is a clear element of sophistry here because it was an NDC government that signed the $ 95 Million digital migration deal with the Chinese firm, which the NDC later unilaterally abandoned or abrogated on grounds that StarTimes had failed to promptly secure the requisite funding support from China’s Exim Bank for the project.

As was to be expected, StarTimes would later sue the Mahama government in an Accra court and have its suit almost immediately thrown out, after which the company reportedly sought relief from the International Court of Justice. Now, Mr. Suhuyini claims, rather irresponsibly and vacuously that the newly elected Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – actually, it was a close associate of Mr. Suhuyini’s, to wit, Mr. Samuel George Nettey, the NDC’s MP for Ningo-Prampram, in the Greater-Accra Region, who made the following claim – that the defendant, by virtue of electoral inheritance, walked away from a lawsuit that it was clearly poised to winning at the International Court, because of “fears of not being able to access a $19 Billion loan facility from China for the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) [migration] infrastructure.”

Now, such claim is rather farcical because neither Monsieur Suhuyini nor Monsieur Nettey (aka Sam George), unlike the President of the Democratic Republic of Ghana, is known to be qualified to practice law either in Ghana or before the International Court. It is more credible, however, going by the scandalous track-record of the National Democratic Congress vis-à-vis Judgment-Debt suits brought against it, in both Ghana and abroad, that the Akufo-Addo government stood at least a 75-percent chance of losing its NDC-fangled Judgment-Debt Suit with StarTimes. Under such predictable circumstances, the Akufo-Addo-led government made the wisest decision, thereby saving Ghanaian taxpayers millions of dollars that would have gone down the Judgment-Debt Sewer System.

Of course, unwisely walking into the obvious Judgment-Debt trap rigged up by the Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress would have filled up the wallets and bank accounts of these professional scam-artists through the proverbial backdoor, as they are globally infamous for. Even assuming that, indeed, the Akufo-Addo government chose to do a $19 Billion worth of business with StarTimes or the Chinese government, rather than fatuously dole out millions of dollars in free Judgment-Debt money, the former choice was still the wisest, if not the most brilliant, thing to do under the preceding circumstances.

And so while I may, indeed, have my own qualms with the patently unbecoming official conduct of business by the Communications Minister, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, especially regarding her insufferably imperious and undiplomatic treatment of the operatives of GIBA, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, it still clearly holds that left to the democratically and auspiciously ousted Mahama Posse, Ghanaians would still be slavishly and perhaps even perpetually stuck with the interminable payment of Judgment Debts. This is where matters stand on the DTT controversy, as far as I have been able to learn and verify.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
September 23, 2018
E-mail: [email protected]

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2018

The author has 5451 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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