Ghanaweb.com Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe,
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
March 5, 2015
I have still not forgotten how those Ghanaian military rulers on the verge of handing over the reins of governance to a democratically elected civilian government and either return to the barracks or retire from the Ghana Armed Forces were summarily executed by firing squad at the Teshie Military Range, near Accra. Several of them, we would be later informed, had taken out housing bank loans to the pedestrian tune of GHC 50,000 apiece and had, at the time of their savage executions, not fully paid back those loans. If memory serves yours truly accurately, none of them was 50 years old then; and nearly each and every one of them had young children and relatively young wives. Some of these wives may well have been sexually molested by Mr. Rawlings and/or his AK-47-toting men.
It was with this inexcusably bloody story in the back of my mind, dating back to June 1979, that I read about the latest bloody trail of corruption that the Chairman Jerry John Rawlings-led erstwhile Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) junta, and subsequently the so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), and presently the National Democratic Congress (PNDC) has wrought for the overburdened Ghanaian taxpayer in the name of IMF-World Bank-induced Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) and its attendant destruction of our national industrial entrepreneurship in the name of divestiture.
In the latest instance of wanton corruption, dating from the Mills-Mahama administration between 2009 and 2013, we are told that five (5) hitherto state-owned companies were sold to five individual and corporate buyers for a total amount of $32.4 million (US Dollars), but to-date only $9.8 million has been collected in the form of payments from these apparently fraudulent buyers (See “$22.6 M Left Unpaid for 5 Divested State Firms” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 3/4/15). Let no rascally cynic write to me sneering about yours truly’s living comfortably in America and feeding his gullible audiences both at home and abroad with dreamily concocted poppycock largely culled from the hardly credible Ghanaweb.com website.
Well this one is coming from the mouth of the National Democratic Congress’ cabinet appointee who is at least theoretically best positioned to know what he is talking about. And that personality, of course, is none other than Mahama Finance Minister Seth Tekper. And on the latter score must also be significantly highlighted the fact that the preceding criminal and scandalous facts were contained in an address that the Finance Minister presented to the country’s Parliament just this past Wednesday, March 4, 2015.
Well, the logical question to ask here obviously seems to be as follows: How can Ghanaians count on a government that puts up taxpayer-purchased property for sale but is only able to collect just under one-third of the sales price, to be able to wisely and effectively appropriate an IMF-World Bank economic bailout loan of a whopping $1 billion (One-Billion US Dollars)? The companies sold by the Mills-Mahama government have been named as follows: Tema Printing Press, sold for $3 million (Three-Million US Dollars), with nearly $2 million still locked up in outstanding arrears. Then we also have a state-owned company called the Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Company, which was sold for $17 million (Seventeen-Million US Dollars) with only $3.2 million in payments recovered, with just under $14 million still in arrears.
Then there is the Subri Industrial Plantation Limited, which was sold for $10 million and only about half the purchasing price has so far been recovered. The GIHOC Footwear Company Limited was also “divested” to the tune of $700,000 (Seven-Hundred-Thousand Dollars) but to date, only 10-percent of the sale amount or $70,000 has been paid. And then another state-owned enterprise called GAMA Film Company was reportedly sold for $1.7 million but to-date less than $500,000 (or a half-million dollars) has been recovered.
Dear reader, if you think, for even a split-second, that common sense and competence are among the salient requirements for securing a cabinet appointment or even any senior managerial position with the Mahama and Amissah-Arthur government, you better think again!