Former President Dramani Mahama while in office in 2014 refuted allegations that he played a role in a loan taken by Engineers & Planners (E&P) a company which is owned by his younger brother, Ibrahim Mahama which was believed to have crippled the Merchant Bank.
The indebtedness of Merchant Bank led to its proposed sale to FirstRand of South Africa. Speaking on the allegations, he mentioned that he did not owe a single share in the company and directed the Merchant Bank and SSNIT to send in a task force to retrieve their debts from his brother's company.
“The SSNIT and Merchant Bank should put in a taskforce to retrieve their debts. Engineers & Planners must pay their loans. If you owe a bank, go and pay!”
Engineers & Planners, however, settled its outstanding indebtedness of $28 million to Merchant Bank on January 31, 2014.
Read the full story originally published on January 8, 2014, on Ghanaweb
President Mahama has tasked Merchant Bank and SSNIT to retrieve the debt owed by Engineers & Planners (E&P), a company that is owned by his younger brother, Ibrahim Mahama.
The President vehemently denied allegations that he intervened as Vice President when Merchant Bank was trying to retrieve its debts from E&P and other debtors and subsequently parried accusations of conflict of interest.
“The SSNIT and Merchant Bank should put in a taskforce to retrieve their debts. Engineers & Planners must pay their loans. If you owe a bank go and pay!”
Addressing journalists at the Flagstaff House in Accra to mark the first anniversary of his election as President, Mr Mahama said, “Engineers and Planners is a corporate entity. Ibrahim, who is my junior brother, is the owner, but I do not own a single share in that company.”
The President admitted that when he was Vice President, the presidency’s attention was drawn to the Merchant Bank situation and he sat in a meeting arranged by then President John Atta Mills but no obstacle was placed in the way of the bank in its efforts to retrieve its debts from customers.
“I became President in July 2012 and I could have done things using executive power. I do not have any interest in Engineers and Planners,” added Mr. Mahama, who was dressed in a dark suit and a wine-coloured tie.
In an obvious attempt to ward off the various allegations levelled against him and his government, President Mahama dismissed criticisms that he was running a family government.
“I do not know where this family and friends is coming from. I have 18 siblings; we are 19, I am the 19th person but not one of them is in my government,” the President, who endeavoured to be frank with his answers, said.
‘Kofi Dubai’ Adventure
Justifying why he went on holidays to Dubai during the Christmas Holidays, President Mahama said, “It is important to take a rest from time to time. I believe everybody must take a leave just to recharge your batteries.”
He added humorously that some public officials feared to go on leave ‘because of what they are sitting on.’
“I received an invitation from the ruler of Dubai. It wasn’t a wasted occasion. We are putting in administrative measures to ensure that everyone goes on leave. It helps to promote good governance.”
The President said during the trip he was able to meet the ruler; they had strategic meetings and promised that based on the discussions, the United Arab Emirate was sending a team of investors to Ghana to assess investment opportunities, but did not mention which areas they were coming to focus on.
He also said he left Ghana in the capable hands of his Vice, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur and did not have any worries at all.
He said he could not rate his performance like his predecessor, the Late President Mills, did.
“I shy away from rating myself. It is for the people of Ghana to do.
“President Mills was a teacher and was used to awarding marks so maybe that was why he awarded himself 80 percent in his first year in office.”
He said it was up to the media to conduct what he called ‘scientific research’ to ascertain whether he performed to the satisfaction of the public.
On terrorism, the President said “we are all open to terror attacks. We have to continue to talk about it in order to find solutions to the problem.”
He said Ghana would continue to position itself in order to respond to eventual terror attacks.
The President admitted that the once-talked-about STX housing project that would have provided homes for security agencies, particularly the police, was abandoned.
Interestingly, the President did not mention any housing plans or schemes for the security agencies.
He rather said the government had tasked SSNIT to complete the affordable housing project left behind by the Kufuor Administration and put them on sale while he takes steps to build more houses for the people.
He said the government was not relenting in the fight against illegal mining popularly called galamsey and hinted that about 5,000 foreigners had been deported for engaging in illegal mining.
He said the government had plans to reclaim all lands as a result of illegal mining and also restore all polluted water bodies, adding that it was going to provide employment for the people.
President Mahama said the time had come for the public to make fire safety in homes and offices a priority.
“We must make fire prevention a part of our daily lives,” he said and added that it was not prudent for him to fire heads of the Ghana National Fire Service any time there was fire outbreak.