General News of Sat, 20 Jan 2007138
I Was Not Responsible For IFC, CNTCI Scam Loans - Osafo-Maafo
Just as Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver in the Bible, so Yaw Osafo-Maafo, NPP Presidential candidate aspirant, has betrayed his colleague competitor aspirant Alan Kyeremateng for the NPP Presidential candidacy slot by washing his hands clean off the scandalous IFC and CNTCI scam loans which nearly brought down the Kufuor administration on two separate occasions.
Speaking in a Radio Gold interview, Mr. Osafo-Maafo stated categorically that he was not responsible for arranging those two scandalous loans but that he had to present and defend them in Parliament as Minister of Finance in accordance with the principle of collective responsibility.
Answering a question by Radio Gold’s James Agyenim-Boateng, that: “Your detractors are likely to say that—CNTCI is a baggage for you, IFC is a baggage for you”, Mr. Osafo-Maafo, who was Minister of Finance at the time the two scandalous loans were contracted by the NPP Government and aborted by the NDC opposition, stated as follows:
“People do not understand how Government functions and the role of the Finance Minister and therefore let me explain them further to you. The Minister of Finance is responsible for mobilizing financial resources to run the country. We have three types of resources.
We have bilateral resources, i.e., between Ghana and Germany, Ghana and France, country to country and we have multilateral resources, between a country and groups of countries, like Ghana and the World Bank of Ghana and the IMF. When you are borrowing bilateral or multilateral, it is the responsibility of the Minister of Finance to go and do the borrowing and nobody else can.
Now there are a number of projects which require financing outside bilateral and multilateral resources. Indeed there are much more resources outside the bilateral and multilateral resources than we have there. For example in Ghana, there are about 18 banks and only 4 of those banks are state banks. The rest are all private banks and they are much bigger than the state banks and that’s how the world of financing is.
There is a lot of money in the private sector apart from bilateral and multilateral. Now when you need money from the private sector for instance you need money to do the Bui dam.
The Minister of Energy can go and look for money from the private source and bring to cabinet for consideration and approval and therefore any borrowing outside bilateral and multilateral can be initiated by Ministers other than the Minister of Finance and indeed the IFC loan was never initiated by me. Indeed the IFC loan when it was taken to cabinet, I was outside the country.
The records are there, I was at the World Bank but cabinet approved it. Once Cabinet approved it, it is the collective responsibility of all of us because Cabinet, about 35 people have said yes. Now according to the rules, it is only the Minister of Finance who can send a loan application to Parliament.
This is very important and you don’t understand it. And therefore when I come and Cabinet has approved a loan, I cannot say I cannot take it to Parliament because I am the Minister of Finance; otherwise I should resign. If I am the Minister of Finance and I should remain as that then I should send it to parliament.
So I sent both the IFC and the CNTCI to parliament purely as the Minister of Finance but none of the two was initiated by me.
Ghana Palaver is however aware that both the IFC and CNTCI loans were initiated by Mr. Alan Kyeremateng, Minister of Trade, Industries and PSI when he was Ghana’s Ambassador in Washington, and involved persons like Professor Eddie Ayensu, a garrulous Ghanaian academic on the international circuit who is known to be an adviser to President Kufuor.
At the time of the IFC and CNTCI loans however, Mr. Osafo-Maafo and Senior Minister J.H. Mensah not only look responsibility for them but stoutly defended them as the best things that ever happened to Ghana.
Observers of the political scene are certain that Mr. Osafo-Maafo has opened a can of worms and that as the campaign rolls by, IFC and CNTCI will be baggage for him until he has truthfully answered the question—--”Who initiated the IFC and CNTCI loans”?
If he should confirm it to be Alan Kyeremateng, that will be the end of the latter’s Presidential ambitions.