It is now official that a reckless decision by ex-President John Kufuor to seize a US$1,800,000.00 Chinese Loan belonging to the 31st December Women’s Movement, led by ex-First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, led to the loss of nearly GH¢5 million, the equivalent of ¢50 billion (old cedi), to the state.
The huge loss to the country was largely fueled by a ferocious presidential greed.
It started in 2001, when newly elected President Kufuor instructed his first Finance Minister, Yaw Osarfo Maafo, not to release the US$1,800,000.00 loan to the wife of his arch-rival, Mrs. Rawlings. And nine years later, Ghanaians, who are crying for good drinking water, roads, hospitals, schools and other social amenities had to cough up a massive GH¢4, 991,655.00 by way of judgment debt.
According to documents intercepted by The Herald, the Mills administration, which succeeded the Kufuor regime, coughed up a massive GH¢4, 991,655.00 on June 3, 2009, to settle Calf Cocoa International Limited in which 31st December Women’s Movement, through Caridem, has 45 per cent stake.
In a judgment on the matter, Her Ladyship Justice Margaret Insaidoo of an Accra High Court, on March 5, 2008, said: “It is sad to say the least that Public Officials who are entrusted with the public good and who are expected to act with utmost good faith will so create a situation which will result in creating financial loss situations for this country.”
Insiders say the US$1,800,000.00 Chinese Loan was not only frozen by the Kufuor regime, but the ex-president also made several unsuccessful attempts to personally hijack the loan for his private benefit.
Mr. Kufuor, is said to have once summoned some Chinese officials of Calf Cocoa International Limited into his hotel room in China, during a visit to that country, and told them to abrogate their agreement with Caridem and give him the money to set up a private company which will process raw cocoa beans, and export the products to the Chinese market.
With the Chinese refusal, Mr. Kufuor also refused to release the money to the 31st December Women’s Movement, and instead deployed the state machinery by using lawyers in the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department to engage in a fight with Mrs. Rawlings’ Movement which had legal luminary, Tony Lithur, as its lawyer. While Joe Ghartey represented the state.
Inside an Accra High Court, it emerged that Mrs. Rawlings was linked because her Movement owns Caridem Development Company Limited, a shareholder in Calf Cocoa International Ghana Limited. But she had no personal stake in either Caridem or Calf Cocoa.
The Mills government made the payment to Calf Cocoa in respect of an order by the Accra High Court in March 2008, that the state pay an amount of US$3,550,000.00 as well as accumulated interest to Calf Cocoa over the decision of the Kufuor government not to pay the US$1,800,000.00 to Calf Cocoa being the working capital portion of a Subsidiary Loan Agreement (SLA) between Calf Cocoa and the Government of Ghana for the establishment of the cocoa factory.
The SLA was based on an agreement between the government of Ghana and the EXIM Bank of China in which the Chinese government agreed to give to the government of Ghana interest subsidised concessionary loan for the purpose of financing industrial projects in Ghana through joint ventures between Ghana and nominated Chinese companies in identified areas.
Calf Cocoa and two other companies were granted this facility. China International Cooperation Company for Agriculture Livestock and Fishery which was nominated by the Chinese Government is the majority shareholder in Calf Cocoa.
The factory was primarily established to add value to Ghana’s raw cocoa through the processing of cocoa beans into cocoa oil, cakes and aromatic products.
The judgment debt was used to replace obsolete equipment, stolen equipment and other materials required to make the company operational; the company is located at Kpone near Tema, with the capacity to employ thousands of Ghanaians when it is fully operational.
Her Ladyship Justice Margaret Insaidoo in her ruling on March 5, 2008 said:
“Value addition to raw cocoa beans has always been on the economic agenda of this country. The objective of this company is to process Cocoa Beans into Butter and other value added products. The country has recently commissioned cocoa processing plants such as Barry Callibaut and Cadbury and Fry in furtherance of this objective. So why should this project not meet the light of day? Whose fault is it? What went wrong?”
On page 16 of the same ruling, Her Ladyship states: Her Ladyship Justice Margaret Insaidoo in her ruling on March 5, 2008 said: “It is sad to say the least, that Public Officials who are entrusted with the public good and who are expected to act with utmost good faith will so create a situation which will result in creating financial loss situations for this country.”
Source: The Herald
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