By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Flashback: In 2001, the NPP administration under Kufuor furtively sold the GNPC’s drill ship and hid the deal from the public. In 2012, the NDC administration appointed the Sole Judgement Debt Commissioner to investigate matters related to the payment of judgement debts.
Now pinned to the wall, those involved in the stinking deal claimed the deal fetched 24 million Dollars and 19.5 million Dollars was doled out to the French company, Societe Generale as judgement debt (the exact amount is even in doubt).
Where did the rest of the money go? That’s the paramount question that the Sole Commission seeks answers for—assuming that what is claimed to have been paid the French company is even out of question yet.
It’s a number of simple questions: Where is the rest of the money? How did the sale of the drill ship serve Ghana’s interests?
Suddenly, those involved in the deal are shaking all over the place, overstretching their tempers and seeking moral support here and there as if the matter is between the NPP and the NDC. Phew!!
The 2001 deal is in focus for investigation and the NPP people have begun accusing the Commission of political bias. Really? Did K.T. Hammond sell the drill ship under the banner of the NPP? Or is the matter being investigated under the banner of the NDC? No!! The national interest is what matters.
That is why I truly love this statement from the Sole Judgement Debt Commission: “Don’t politicize investigations into GNPC drill ship saga”.
Nothing satisfies me more than this strong statement, cautioning against the politicization of the ongoing investigation into the murky circumstances surrounding the sale of the GNPC’s drill ship (Discoverer 511) by the Kufuor administration in 2001.
No other statement is more welcome at this time than this very one because the matter being investigated needs no “political colorization” whatsoever.
It is a transaction carried out in secrecy and that hasn’t featured in any official discourse on the handling of state affairs nor did the Kufuor government inform Ghanaians about it. We didn't know anything about this deal for more than 12 years until its exposure and the need for it to be investigated.
Politicizing the matter will take away its criminal element and feed it into the senseless polarization that has characterized contemporary Ghanaian politics, featuring the two dominant political parties—the NDC and its bitter rival, the NPP.
The matter has nothing to do with either party. It has a lot to do with the national interests, which is why the warning from the Commission is appropriate and befitting.
Here are clear aspects explained by Dometi Kofi-Sokpor (the lead Counsel for the Sole Commissioner) that every reasonable Ghanaian must understand:
• Tsikata, Kan-Dapaah and K.T. Hammond played different roles in the matter and so “certainly, the questions wouldn’t be the same.”
• “The politicization of this matter will not help the country in any way.”
• Attention should rather be focused on the system failure which led to the sale of the drill ship and the untraceable money because “the Commission is not targeting any group of persons in a particular political party. What we are doing is to unearth and unravel whatever surrounds this particular drill ship that has been sold.”
• The investigation by the Commission “has nothing to do with any political party whatsoever.”
• “Persons who are politicizing this whole issue must put a stop to it and save the country the bother of running into some abyss that you will never be able to recover it any longer”.
Clearly, the first hints that the matter was being politicized came from the camp of the NPP when they accused the Commission of treating Tsatsu Tsikata with “a kid’s gloves” or not asking him serious questions to push him to the wall as it did K.T. Hammond and Kan Dapaah when they appeared before the Commission.
Then, they followed up to accuse the Commission of bias, seeking to incite hatred against the Commission and to water down the force its work. Cheap “book politics” as usual.
That was not all. They also accused the Commission of endorsing Tsatsu’s characterization of former President Kufuor as the “Chief Debt Collector” for the French beneficiary company, Societe Generale. The Commission has dissociated itself from that characterization, but the NPP people don’t seem convinced of its neutrality. They are chafing at being brought under the telescope for scrutiny as if they don’t see the need to submit themselves for that scrutiny to take issues beyond the party line to the overarching national wellbeing.
What do these NPP people consider as more important: their party’s interests or the national one?
By attempting to discredit the Commission, they have set the stage for the investigation of this pure fraudulent transaction to be tainted with bitter political sentiments and to portray the Commission as a witch-hunter, acting in concert with the government to damage the NPP’s political interests.
Any attempt to skew issues this way won’t change the parameters at all. The matter is of so much public interest that no matter how much political colour anybody splashes on it, nothing will be allowed to change it or reduce it into the useless NDC-NPP hassle.
Those genuinely interested in promoting national interests will support efforts at cleaning the stables. Do we have such people in all these political parties? Or do we have only party fanatics and not patriots? Obviously, the national interests supersede those of a political party. Ghana can be rebuilt by patriots, not party fanatics!
If those being investigated have nothing to hide or fear, why are they attempting to run away from the truth? Or to wear their political garb and intensify their masquerading acts? Such “fancy-dress politics” won’t solve any problem, which is why the warming given by the Commission is timely and must be heeded.
Oh, how I wish the Commission had that constitutional power to punish anybody making irresponsible comments on its activities just as the Supreme Court did to draw the line between sanity and the influence of “Gbeshie” (thanks to the NPP’s Nii Ayikoi Otoo)!!
When irresponsible behaviour is punished, it should help curb the arrant disregard for law and order in the country.
I shall return…
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