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The Controversial 3 Billion Dollar Chinese loan

The Controversial 3 Billion Dollar Chinese loan

Sat, 14 Jan 2012 Source: Tetteh, Ephraim

-Emerging Corruption Questions

In our quest to expose corrupt procurement transactions in Ghana ,especially under

this government which is becoming notorious for that matter (Woyome or no

Woyome), we have lately noticed two interesting situations where we think

transparency and due dillgence seem to have been sacrificed by President Mills govt

for ulterior motives.

In november last year, 2011, Dr Sipa Yankey, chief executive officer, of the Ghana

National Gas Company informed ghanaians that SINOPEC will be building Ghana"s first

gas processing plant which will be financed by the controversial 3 billion chinese

loan. But just as has been the modus operandi of this govt in particular, the

selection of SINOPEC appears not to have been by open tender, so that all

interested parties including serious international bidders from the USA and Europe

can take part in the bidding process. The construction of this gas plant(150

MMSCFD ) which will also include a 36 kilometre shallow water offshore pipeline

from the gas plant to FFPSO Kwame Nkrumah and a 150 kilometre onshore gas pipeline

from the plant to Aboadze is a huge facility by all standards and technically

unprecedented in Ghana. Without gainsaying it, the importance of the method of

selection of the contractor for this project is two

fold : firstly for a project of this size , ghanaians want to be sure the job is

done by the best company with a solid track record in this regard with the

necessary accomplishments and secondly, that this project is done at the cheapest

cost to the ghanaian taxpayer. And as the Procurement Act 663 indicates, the best

way to achieve the aforementioned two objectives is by open tender which method

also espouses transparency and accountability, at the very least.

We at the Ghana Public Procurement Observatory (GPPO) have done our rigorous

checks and it seems to us that the selection of SINOPEC was not by open tender and

perhaps even by due process,and we are probably being very charitable here. Aside

the numerous cases of sole sourcing situations monopolised by the ndc big wigs in

the various ministries and the assemblies (which we have had occasions to lament

about), it seems the govt has yet again failed the fairness and transparency test

with the selection of SINOPEC. Furthermore a number of disturbing revelations are

popping out of the SINOPEC selection and even though we have written to Ministry of

Energy and also GNPC for answers, it appears we have ran into a dead end. Wherever

you go in govt for clarifications on issues, then perhaps you are seen as a threat,

so where is the transparency President Mills is talking of.This is unacceptable. The

President therefore cannot be serious if he

says his govt is fighting corruption in Ghana. Infact this fighting corruption

mantra in the Atta Mills administration is turning out to be the biggest joke yet.

But i think we must say here and now that the govt depts involved here can only

run but they cannot hide. Sooner or later, the right to information bill, presently

at parliament will be passed into law and accordingly we shall demand answers on

all these shady transactions at the appropriate time..

The second issue is that, in febuary 2011, the govt of Ghana issued a license to

China Hasan International Holding of Hong Kong to become the main partner of the

western corridor infrastructure project (Sekondi Industrial Estate) with an

estimated contractural value of usd 100 million, with funds to be lent from the

controversial 3 billion dollar chinese loan. Imani of Ghana apparently has done a

lot of research work here and have developed serious doubts about China Hassan"s

capacity to do the job and their track record so far. Imani therefore has documented

elaborate reasons and compelling evidence why China Hassan may probably shortchange

Ghana but we doubt whether the govt is listening. For instance Imani states

"indeed,we have established that Hassan"s much touted project in Angola, the only

one that it claims to have INITIATED so far, has NOT progressed much beyond CONCEPT

stage." So why in God"s name should we entrust 100 million

dollars to a company which on its own has not developed anything beyond

paperwork. Even there are serious question marks regarding their address. Again

Imani writes "when a real estate agency in Hong kong was asked to send us a list

of tenants on the 2nd floor of the somewhat rundown Teng Fuh Commercial building

(picture on imani website) on Hong Kong Queen"s road (the address supplied on

Hassan"s websites and other documents we have sighted) the agency sent a catalogue

of SME export-import businesses dealing in items such as jewellery and textiles but

curiously did not include Hassan. The only conclusion to be drawn is that Hassan

is so small that its office in the commercial building has evaded the attention of

even a leading real estate research firm." Oyiwa . Here we are.

Again, if we are going to entrust usd 100million in the hands of a foreign

contractor, and we cannot even be sure of their stated address, then oyiwa.... this

govt will have a lot to answer some day.

We are not against this ndc govt or any other govt for that matter. but what we

are really against is a corrupt govt or a deceitful govt, and we will fight it any

day. Indeed the test for Pres Mills govt is not whether or not developments are

happening in the country(as his supporters claim), because with oil money at their

disposal, any body can do developments. We think that the barometre for measuring

President Mills record should be the degree of corruption in his governance, and

sadly to say ,his record here is disappointing..,very disappointing..

PS. Also we have information to the effect that up till now, less than 30% of Pres

Mills appointees have formally declared their assets. We have written several

letters to the Office of the President for confirmation, but to no avail. However we

believe our sources are right and still want to ask; why is it taking President

Mills appointees so long to formally declare their assets.But if the 30%

declaration figure is not accurate,they must come out boldly to tell the whole

nation. Some of us would love to be proved wrong.

Dr Epraim Tetteh

Anti corruption crusader

Biscayne Bay, Miami

Columnist: Tetteh, Ephraim