Countdown To The Pink Sheet Count

Mon, 3 Jun 2013 Source: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

Critical News, 1st June 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

This is so frustrating and I wonder if I can ever get over it. Institutions in Ghana commit to delivering solutions without a care to a promise. We citizens are beholden to this unique group of handicapped managers who know they are incapable of delivering what they promise. Deep down, we also know they are not capable, but we hang on to a string of hope that just mayhaps, some unknown phenomenon will enable ECG to meet a timetable for load shedding scheduled to end this week (my week ends on Saturday). I am not as gullible, so I woke up at 4am Sunday, noted a few points pending a switch on, which went out at 6.30pm last night. Since then, four flickers of light, thirty seconds each. From experience we switch off all appliances soon as the lights go out, cheaper than buying a new fridge or deep freezer. But should I have to live this way? This is the twenty-first century for Christ sake and I am competing with other parties interested in supporting the same international clients I am courting. The damage control I have to go through just to maintain the client does not leave any space to do the work itself. I am constantly emotionally exhausted, clinically fatigued and mentally sapped at the end of every week. My Sundays used to be leisurely, easy, calm and relaxing, looking forward to the occasional visitor dropping in unexpectedly and making life a worthwhile trip. But this? This is just “knaff”, to borrow a very Cockney expression.

The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the bastion of my democratic rights refuses to share the state of progress on the Asongtaba Akonfem investigation. In an interview with Joyfm during the week, a Deputy Director assertively declared that CHRAJ would tell us when they were ready, in the medium they choose and how they consider Ghanaians should hear where their cedis went. And there is no deadline to this investigation. It might be next year before we hear anything. Remember that the Economic Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) is still pending the final report on the Woyome case, which is now sitting somewhere between PAC, Fast Track Court, Apau Commission, Supreme Court, Commercial Court and wherever else court there is. Look at what passes for a CHRAJ website?

CEO of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Alex Mould, wearing his usual dour face, announced an increase in core retail prices. This time Government has tacitly agreed to the adjustment and fuel prices were upped with no forewarning. I support the adjustment though, I even say the NPA should stay out of all this; Government should stop interfering with the market forces and allow private investment to settle the pricing. We have oil in our backyard, it is a natural hedge to our fuel security, but I just take exception that it has been foisted on us with a day’s notice and we have to live with the rounding up effect by trotro, taxi and long-haul trucks, stretching an already food-expensive city beyond peri-urban survival boundaries.

My GLO data service never works on a weekend when I have most deliverables to make, my MTN voice service grants me a call when it is does not drop out or restrict my service calls and when I have complained, they are “having some challenges, but it will be resolved soon”. GWSC finally piped some water through the taps after five weeks, we breathed a tentative sigh of relief. And tentative it was. What we thought was a final revival, fizzled like a TB Joshua holy water jihad. In two hours the euphoria was over and we are back to “bankoma”. Thank you R2Bees.

Oil exploration from the “TEN” fields, Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme went through a mild face-off between the GNPC and explorers. But it turned out a non-story. Government capitulated and signed off for the fields to be drilled. There is $6billion involved, an initial output of 100,000 barrels a day by 2016 and 216million barrels at stake. You see, when you don’t have six billion to work with, you just shut up and move on. We still have 10% carried interest via GNPC, whose financial statements and expenditures are not for the public to know. Those who are putting in all the borrowed money have decided to quote on the Ghana Stock Exchange to enable more transparency. Our national company, run on our taxes refuses to make its statements public.

And my President is away some place in Africa and Japan, talking about Africa’s renaissance. I think that statement has irked more than I realize. Where is the upward trajectory when so much is wrong with the basics? It is raining, come check out the sidewalks in Accra. NADMO says it is better and the Mayor says this year, virtually no flooding. We live in different cities and dominions of mediocrity. We have no redress this way, we have traded our option to stamp out corruption for pretence at democracy and in the process joined a bandwagon of ineptitude. Vulture politicians mass down, one day they will supervise this system that not only guarantees them disproportionate ex-gratis payments, but also opens out their net to garner cash over a four-year term. Well, we clearly have come a long way, behaving properly, when decisions that were deemed unpopular and fodder for a coup have turned, and putsch graduates at nearly seventy congratulate politicians for sound administrative policies. Nobody heard JJ when he mewed sentiments about President Mahama last week. Hilla Limann et al were victims of such political undertones.

But Joyfm’s running saga on the rLG and Zoomlion involvement in GYEEDA, might be a way for resolution. Good investigative reporting, (not for the first time by Joyfm), has taken this gratuitous disregard for spending and sited it in the public face, second only to the Petition Election challenge. This GYEEDA investigation should run until we find a means to lug Government to the table to explain questionable contracts. It should be exhausted no matter the consequences because we need to know where the money trail ends.

KPMG must be gearing up to declare the almighty count sometime this week or early next week. The initial rumored count of 13,900 did not tract, I am not even sure how it came to the media. What is the real impact of all this? I think the Respondents are hopeful the count will be more or less than the 11,842 put out by the NPP side. I am not too sure where Tsatsu and his team are heading with this. If the count is different, what did the Court Registrar sign as received from the Petitioners? What did they send to the Respondents? Could they have sent something different from what they received? And so what if it is different? Surely part of the Supreme Court’s ruling must be to determine how much error is in play and instruct the Electoral Commissioner to ascertain the real vote and declare new results? If it is all-frivolous we move on to ensuring better governance and more accountable government. When EC Afari Gyan took the stand, his performance could have opened a new door for cross-examination next week. The Petitioners objected and were overruled that he did not swear to the affidavit. The overrule might be a gift horse. I am biased in this case, I am sure our election process has been compromised in every election and I would love to see major reform, maybe a proportionally representative parliament, which I believe will fit well with our community “nkosuo” approach.

This case can only go on to end of July. Next week, we continue cross-examination of Afari Gyan, say it goes on for 4 days. KPMG count is declared, another day each from both sides; me I will save a day and leave it between Tsatsu and the Registrar if I were the NPP side. Another day each for summing up, that will take us to mid-June. Under C.I.74, the Court must arrive at a decision within 15 days. Now we are at the end of June if they take the max 15 days. The EC will then be instructed what to include and not if the NPP wins the case, if not we are finished and back to normalcy. If the Petitioners win, the EC can have two weeks to do a recount and announce the results and we return to court for the Judges to wrap up. July has ended. That’s my take. The NPP suspended Charles “Tarzan” Wereko Brobbey from the party, so what does it matter? He was always out when he started his United Ghana Movement. If you form a political party and compete as its presidential candidate can you still belong to another party? And Kweku Baako offered partial advice to the NPP on how to handle the matter. Don’t throw a bone to your competition if you can handle it differently.

We nearly closed the mental asylums and then we didn’t, someone convinced the managers that cash was available. Cash? Some dey be! We just raised $400million from a bond, oversubscribed, mainly by outside investors. Why not? International money is offering 5.5% max and we are offering 19%.

Doreen Andoh has won this too often, all the same I would have counted her in the running for the female presenter award, she still has that engaging smile and warmth for all at the Fanofaa home. Well done, she certainly deserves the accolade.

Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney