General News of Wed, 30 Jun 20041
Parliament rejects minority motion on CNT
Accra, June 30, GNA-Parliament on Wednesday after a four-hour debate rejected the rescission motion by the Minority against the CNT 300 million US dollars loan.
The Majority carried 96 votes while the Minority had 52.
The Minority tabled the motion that: "this house rescinds its decision on the 13th day of April, 2004 approving the loan agreement between the Republic of Ghana and CNT Group Holdings Limited and CNT Construction Investment Limited for an amount of US 300 million."
Finance Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo, in his submissions, had called on the house to "reject with contempt the recession motion," adding that "it was politically motivated".
He said the motion brought by the minority had no merit. The House on April 13, by 130 votes, approved the CNTCI loan, which raised a lot of debate in the media and among civil society bringing the reputation of Parliament into question.
Mr. Alban Bagbin, the Minority leader, moving the motion, called on Parliament to rescind its decision on the 300 million US dollar loan agreement saying there were "too many inconsistencies".
He said the House "erred when it gave approval to the government of Ghana to continue to process documents to access credit from a lender variously referred to as CNT Group Holdings limited and CNT Construction Investment limited."
He said following the approval granted to the CNT loan agreement by this house, scrutiny of the transaction by civil society groups and the media houses have revealed many basic flaws and inconsistencies in documentation and information presented.
Mr Bagbin said even "information as basic as the true address of the lender has been clouded in murky controversy."
"Mr. Speaker, aside from the mystery about the true address of the lender, it is also unclear who the actual lender of the loan is." The Minority leader said the language of the documents that came before Parliament and the report of the Finance Committee give the impression of a loan of money.
"The investigations of civil society especially the media revealed that the agreement between the government of Ghana and the uncertain lender is for a Suppliers Credit," he added.
He said there were so many uncertainties including the real office or contact address of the alleged lenders.
"Mr. Speaker, there is sufficient evidence cautioning us as a country to be on our guard. It is my view that we rescind our decision approving these uncertainties and allow government to go back and do a good job before coming to us."
Meanwhile, the Majority had withdrawn its Amendment Proposal, which sought to urge the house to give the government the chance to conduct due diligence on the loan agreement in favour of the house settling on rescinding its decision over the loan agreement. Mr. Osei-Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the Majority Chief Whip, said an out right rescission over the loan was no child's play and said the rescission motion brought by the Minority side should be "thrown away and never to be resurrected in this house."
Mr. Jonh Mahama, NDC-Bole, urged the government to go back and re-package the loan since there was no need for the rush. Mr. Alan Kyerematen, the Trade Minister, said the Minority side should be rather seeking for clarification instead of out right rejection of the loan facility.
He said the facility was both a loan and a suppliers credit, adding that matters of the identity and address did not invalidate the loan agreement.