General News of Friday, 20 January 2017
Senior Minister designate Yaw Osafo-Marfo has described as a “frivolous propaganda” allegations that he superintended over two major financial scandals- CNT/CI loan and MacMillan- whilst in office as minister of state between 2001 and 2006.
Appearing before Parliament’s Appointment Committee, the Senior Minister designate appeared to be in no mood to entertain the “mischievous allegations” and sought to suggest that MP for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa was too young to understand the details of those two issues at the time.
Mr Ablakwa wanted the nominee to answer to the two scandals that rocked the Kufuor administration and what role the nominee played in all of it. “I think you were too young at the time to understand the issue,” Marfo fired, a statement which was considered unparliamentary and was asked to withdraw and apologise which he did.
In 2004, the Kufuor government with Osafo-Marfo as minister at the time solicited for an amount of US $300 million loan from the CNT Construction Investment Ltd.(CNTCI Ltd) to undertake major infrastructural projects.
The National Democratic Congress in opposition described the loan as fraudulent. The party also questioned the credibility of the company from which the loan was sought.
The then General Secretary of the NDC at the time said the loan was sought from an hairdressing salon not a company with the financial muscle to provide a loan to the Ghana government.
The then government mounted a defence for the loan but said there was an error in the telephone number of the company which may have been directed to the hairdressing salon. The government later backed down after major criticism.
A year after the CNTCI scandal came another one in 2005 in which the then minister was accused of fraudulently sole sourcing a US$ 27 million deal to Macmillan Company to provide text books to the Ghana Education Service. The then opposition did not understand why the minister had to sole source such a contract to Macmillan and without any parliamentary approval.
They accused the Osafo-Marfo of setting aside cheaper bids from Heinemann, Oxford and Longman in respect of the supply of the textbooks.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa wanted finality on the issue and demanded from the appointee to explain into details what role he played in the scandals Yaw Osafo-Marfo stated unequivocally that there was no wrong doing in those two scandals insisting they were only mischievous allegations.
He said on the CNTCI, the government needed money at the time for infrastructural projects and he received a proposal from CNTCI about the possibility of them providing the loan.
He said when he received the proposal they had to conduct due diligence on the company to know if the company was credit worthy.
He stated that when the scandal broke a press conference was organised at the time to explain the issue after which he went to Parliament to announce their withdrawal for the loan hunt.