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Trust me, there is no serious country on planet earth where Mahama can stage a presidential comeback(VII)

John Dramani Mahama Presidential Candidate(NDC) John Dramani Mahama

Wed, 26 Jul 2023 Source: Kwaku Badu

While it is true that the 1992 Constitution of Ghana duly gives every sound adult Ghanaian the right to compete for the president of the country, it is absolutely wrong for anybody to create the false impression that someone who ascended to the presidency previously, albeit voted out in 2016 and rejected again in 2020 and desperately seeking a return to the high position should not be scrutinised.

The crucial question we should be asking the exponents of former President Mahama is: if the former president indeed lived up to the expectations, why did over one million voters vote him out in 2016 and was rejected massively again in 2020?

Let us be honest, anybody who has passing familiarity with the outrageous events which took place during the erstwhile NDC administration will not insist that all was well.

In fact, some of us jumped for joy when the current Attorney General and the Minister of Justice decided to arraign some suspects in the botched Saglemi housing project before a competent court of jurisdiction.

If you may recall, in 2012, the Parliament of Ghana duly approved a loan of 200 million United States dollars, an equivalent of 1.2 billion Ghana Cedis at the time to build 5000 affordable housing units.

However, the erstwhile Mahama administration strangely readjusted the original contract on the blind side of the Parliament of Ghana and initially reduced the housing units to 1502 and further reduced to 1412.

What is more bizarre though, is that the outgone Mahama administration ridiculously used the 200 million United States dollars to build only 668 housing units instead of 5,000.

If we do a simple arithmetic, 668 into $200 million will give us around $299,400. Do you call that affordable?

In fact, the Saglemi scandal is not an isolated incident. Somewhere in 2009, the

Mills/Mahama administration promised that a certain STX Housing deal was going to provide about 200,000 affordable housing units to the country’s security agencies at an estimated cost of $10 billion.

However, due to irrevocable negligence on the part of Mills/Mahama administration and the boardroom tussle between the project supervisors– STX Korea and GKA Airports Company Limited (STX Ghana), the deal unfortunately hit a dead-end.

The late President Mills had this to say during a press conference: “we have some difficulties with the STX project and as a president I am eating a humble pie to say that we are looking for alternatives.”

It was later reported that Ghana had allegedly lost a staggering $300 million in spite of the fact that the deal did not materialise.

Interestingly, however, sources had it that at all material times, it was the then vice president, John Dramani Mahama’s office that handled issues concerning the STX Housing deal.

Strangely though, President Mills of blessed memory seemed apocalyptic about the whole deal, judging from his state of the nation address in 2010, when he had this to say: “the Vice President had travelled to Seoul, Korea, to nail the coffin' of STX.”

We can, recollect, albeit with extreme sadness, that although the STX Housing loan agreement which was supposed to provide affordable housing units to the security agencies did not materialise, yet the then vice president, John Dramani Mahama, is alleged to have given us a bill in excess of $300 million. How strange?

In a related development, after the failed deal with STX to build 200,000 housing units for the nation's security agencies, the NDC government entered into another deal with the GUMA Group for the construction of 500 housing units.

The deal which was alleged to have negotiated by the then vice president, John Dramani Mahama, was widely criticised by various stakeholders, just as the STX deal, following the decision to side-line local construction firms in favour of the foreign company. The unusually high cost of the project was also a source of concern to many.

Some observers thus believe that it was due to the countless dubious agreements which made Ghana’s debt ballooned from an arguable meagre GH9.5 billion in 2009 to an incredible GH122.4 billion by December 2016 with a little to show for.

There is absolutely nothing wrong to borrow money and invest it prudently. However, there is everything wrong with reckless borrowing.

Indeed, it is irresponsible for public officials to secure loans in the name of Ghana and would end up stashing, misappropriating and embezzling the funds to the detriment of the poor and disadvantaged Ghanaians.

Columnist: Kwaku Badu
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