Feature Article of Friday, 17 July 2015
Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
July 11, 2015
How long this running battle with the TNCs – the Trokosi Nationalist Critics, that is – will last, it is hard to say. One thing, though, is surefire as hell certain: the TNCs will never succeed in their systematic and seemingly sustained attempt to character-assassinate the noble and patriotic Ghanaian leaders they are so dead-set on attempting to destroy every little chance they get, so as to ensure the perennial and cutthroat entrenchment of the hopelessly corrupt and incurably criminal political machine that is the so-called National Democratic Congress on our national political landscape.
Trust me, we shall continue to be hot on their trail and systematically render them functionally effete and otiose…. Anyway, there is a desultory article doing the rounds on media websites falsely claiming that the one-man Apau Commission, charged with investigating judgment-debt misprision/malfeasance has “indicted” the three-time Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). Well, we have gone to the reference source of that patently false and scandalous article and can confidently report that, predictably, there is absolutely no truth to this allegation. The seminal article in reference is sensationally captioned “Nana Akufo-Addo Accused of Causing Financial Loss to the State” MyJoyOnline.com 6/30/15). We have thoroughly read, digested and analyzed the preceding posting and find absolutely no indictment of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo anywhere therein.
What we read is widely assumed to be the salient contents of the Apau Commission Report verging on the role that the extant Ghana’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice is alleged to have played in the sale of the drill ship purchased in the name and on behalf of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) by then-Managing-Director, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata. In essence, we learn that the aforesaid drill ship had been put to absolutely no profitable use under the stewardship of Mr. Tsikata, the notorious mastermind of the death squads operated under the faux-revolutionary regime of Tsikata clansman, Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, during most of the 1980s. The former University of Ghana law lecturer had entered into a contractual agreement with a France-based firm called Societe-General (SG). The latter firm, under the Tsikata-initialled agreement, was also to provide some unspecified advisory services pertaining to the use of the drill ship.
Sometime before the Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) assumed reins of governance, in 2001, we are told that the man who would later spend several months, cooling his heels and searching for Divine Providence (he claims to found Him/Her), at the Nsawam Medium-Security Prison unilaterally abrogated the GNPC’s contract with SG. SG sued in a London High Court for $40 million. Back then, Mr. Tsikata claimed that SG had provided “negligible” advisory services to the GNPC. In sum, this was where matters stood when President John Agyekum-Kufuor took office.
A fervidly patriotic and business-savvy NPP government, seeing no clean break or easy way out of Mr. Tsikata’s apocalyptic mess, decided that the most intelligent route to settling matters with a livid SG was to drastically haggle down the damages then being demanded in court by the plaintiff. True to form and character, the Kufuor administration managed to whittle down the debt to between $10 and $14 million. What is quite curious here is that sometime before initialling a settlement with SG for damages pegged between the two preceding figures, the French-owned company appears to have capriciously and deviously acted in bad faith by going back to the London High Court where the suit against Mr. Tsikata and GNPC was initially lodged and securing a $47 million judgment debt against the Government of Ghana.
Mr. Kobina Tahir Hammond, the outspoken Adansi-Asoka NPP-MP, then Deputy Energy Minister, would shrewdly negotiate down SG’s damages to $19.5 million. What those mischievously faulting Nana Akufo-Addo for purportedly causing financia loss to the state, the crime for which Mr. Tsikata received a kid-glove prison sentence, is that on two occasions the extant Justice Minister failed to appear before the London High Court where SG deviously secured the humongous $47 million judgment-debt damages. The fact of the matter, however, as clearly pointed out in the Apau Commission Report, is that SG had acted in bad faith by misleading the Kufuor government into believing that the settlement of between $10 and $14 million was actively on the table.
Now, where the Apau Commission Report gets a bit stultifying regards the sale of the aforementioned drill ship by President Kufuor, who is alleged to have personally initialled some aspect of the SG settlement deal for $24 million. And here must also emphatically be observed that nowhere in this section of the Apau Report is Nana Akufo-Addo minuted as having personally appended his signature to any aspect of the deal. Having paid off the $19.5 million debt owed SG, we are told that, somehow, the balance of $4.5 million, a remarkable chunk of which went into the payment of the salaries of GNPC employees, with $1 million going to a firm called Constant and Constant for some vestigial micro-debts emanating from the SG settlement, is not adding up. A nitpicky Justice Apau claims that some $1.6 million of the remaining $3.5 million has yet to be accounted for.
Justice Apau also notes that since the GNPC was an independent corporate entity, (very likely the ten-percentile piggybank of the National Democratic Congress, parading as a limited liability company), the Kufuor government ought not have intervened. The fact of the matter, though, is that as a statutory establishment, any losses resulting from the operation of the GNPC inescapably had to be defrayed by the Ghanaian taxpayer. Something does not ring right here.
Not to make light of taxpayers’ money here, but here we are with supporters and hirelings of the very government that facilitated the mega-scamming of our country in the $20 million Aveyime Rice Plantation Scandal presuming to occupy a higher moral ground than the government whose key operatives have been unsuccessfully dragged to court for causing financial loss to the state, to-date. Well, I don’t know how much of taxpayers’ money President Mahama paid to the Apau Commission operatives; but if this section of the report constitutes a representative sampling of the brain-work of Justice Apau, then one can almost be certain that it was a darn waste of money and a total waste of time. Moreso, since the findings of the Judgment-Debt Commission cannot be used as justiciable or punitive judicial instrument.