Attempts by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to manage the embarrassment suffered by government over Ghana’s inclusion on the Bank’s list of blacklisted countries has suffered another major setback.
A day after celebrated economist and vice presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, revealed at a public lecture that Ghana and countries like Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Djibouti had been suspended, the bank seemed to have been put under some pressure to put out a denial on its website saying, ‘We wish to state that Ghana is current on all its obligations with the AfDB.”
They insisted that ‘Ghana is not on the list of countries under sanctions by the AfDB,” suggesting that ‘on 18th February, 2015, due to an administrative oversight, Ghana was erroneously included in the list of countries under sanctions by the AfDB and the error was detected that same day and a corrected list was immediately issued in replacement,’ attributing it to an administrative error.
However, an internal memo dated February 17, 2015 from the AfDB suggested that Ghana was at least on the list of sanctioned countries for many weeks before corrections, if any at all, were effected.
Yet another letter confirming the fact that Ghana was indeed sanctioned by the bank for defaulting in payment of debts was discovered over the weekend, despite earlier denials by officials from both government and the AfDB.
The letter, which was dated February 18, 2015 and signed by the manager of the Loans Accounting Division of the bank, Josselyne Ahogny, conveyed to government the sanctions imposed on Ghana for failing to settle its liabilities due January 1, 2015.
Attached to the said document, which was addressed to the Director of Debt Management Division at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Samuel Donyina Ameyaw, was a detailed account of Ghana with the bank and the liabilities the country needed to settle before the sanctions could be lifted.
Contents of the said document were first made public by senior journalist Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr. over the weekend when he was on Joy Fm’s news analysis programme, Newsfile, on Saturday.
It came on the back of vehement denials by government on the issue.
Following the lecture delivered by Dr Bawumia last Tuesday, the AfDB issued a statement signed by one Joel Kibazo claiming that the country had never been sanctioned by the bank and that an administrative error caused the inclusion of Ghana in the list of sanctioned countries on its website – an error the bank claimed was rectified the same day.
Government officials subsequently went on rampage, attacking the image and credibility of the NPP strong man, with the Deputy Minister of Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, even asking him to render an apology to government.
The government, through its propagandists, claimed that there had never been any incident like Dr Bawumia had suggested and that government never received any correspondence from the bank on sanctions.
When everyone thought the issue was dying a natural death however, the bigger bomb was about to be dropped with the appearance of the letter from the AfDB, which basically settles the issues and provides all the details relating to Ghana’s indebtedness to the bank and completely shames the bank and the government over the lies in the past few days.
The letter, attached with various pages on Ghana’s indebtedness to the bank, indicates that as at February 18, 2015, Ghana was indebted to the bank to the tune of 968,620.73 UAC.
The UAC (Unit of Account) refers to a virtual currency which is used by the bank in its accounting with member states.
According to AfDB, one Unit of Account in February this year was equivalent to 1.4 US Dollars or GH¢4.6 – rates which have not changed much by March.
This meant that Ghana owed the bank to the tune of some US$1.35 million or GH¢4.45 million.
According to the detailed accounts attached, some of the loans which needed to be serviced included those for the Rural Financial Services Project, Northern Rural Growth Programme, Awoshie-Pokuase road, Rural Enterprises Project II and the Poverty Reduction & B.E. Support Programme.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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