Kweku Baako replies Ato Forson

Malik Kwaaku Baako (left) and Cassiel Ato Forson (right)
Malik Kwaaku Baako (left) and Cassiel Ato Forson (right)

Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Abdul-Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, has attributed the collapse of the nine indigenous banks during the banking sector clean-up exercise to former president John Dramani Mahama.

Mr Baako’s assertion follows comments by former Deputy Finance Minister and Board Member of Bank of Ghana (BoG), Cassiel Ato Forson, that Mr Mahama as President provided the needed leadership that conceptualised and established the BoG Hospital which has now become one of the centres in the country for managing COVID-19 patients.

Mr Forson was of view that the veteran journalist ought to stop denying the credit due Mr Mahama for the establishment of the health post.

As a former Deputy Minister responsible for Finance and one who served on the board of the BoG from 2013 to 2017, I confirm, without equivocation that the Bank Hospital is a President John Mahama legacy, Mr Forson stated.

Deputy Finance Minsiter, Cassiel Ato Forson
Cassiel Ato Forson

The Bank Hospital was built using public funds at the time H.E. John Mahama was President of the Republic. President Mahama provided the leadership and vision that was needed at the time to conceptualise and establish the hospital.

Mr Baako needs to understand that the Central Bank has functional autonomy and that autonomy does not apply when it comes to the use of public funds.

It must be made clear that the Central Bank makes profit through its operations. The profits of the BoG are public funds, hence, the use of these funds are subject to the directives of the government of the day under the laws of Ghana, the opposition Member of Parliament said.

Having served on the Board of the BoG, I can impeccably confirm that it was the vision and policy directive of President Mahama during that era which informed the construction of the Bank Hospital, he added.

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako

But to Mr Baako, the former Deputy Finance Minister’s insistence that Mr Mahama directed the use of operational resources at BoG, shows the degree of interference Mr Mahama had at the BoG, which then explains why Ghana had so many bank failures.

It is very clear if (And that’s a VERY BIG IF) Mr Forson insists the President directed the use of operational resources at BoG, then it shows the degree of interference the President had at the BoG, which then shows why Ghana had so many bank failures and macro-economic instability during the times Mr Forson was a member of the Board/Authority of BoG and a Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Kwaku Baako pointed out.

Read full statement of Mr Malik Kwaku Baako:

I was thinking that as a former Deputy Minister of Finance and a member of the previous Board/Authority of BoG, Mr Ato Forson, would have produced something of evidential value to back up his/their case.

He produces no minutes of Board meetings which may illustrate either ministerial or presidential directives to the Management and Board of BoG relative to the conception and execution of TBH; he produces no Cabinet or ministerial records or documentation to underscore any governmental involvement or directives in the project under reference.

All Mr Forson sought to do was to recollect the fact that he was a member of the previous Board/Authority of BoG and a former Deputy Minister of Finance. How does that recollection sustain his/their case that TBH was inspired by the vision and leadership of President Mahama?

Mr Forson includes the construction of the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) as part of President Mahama’s Health Infrastructural legacy.

The conception and construction history of IMaH does not support his assertion. The conception of IMaH crystallised in 2008.

The plot for a new medical facility for GPHA was purchased in 2008. And there are official GPHA records to support that fact.

Initial designs were done in 2009/10. Actual construction commenced in April 2012 and completed in October 2016. The project was fully-funded by the GPHA.

His reference to the upgrading and rehabilitation of the Ridge Hospital and the construction of the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) were irrelevant in the context of my submissions relative to TBH and IMaH.

Indeed, I am on record as indicating that the conception and execution of those two projects can and should be credited to the Mills and Mahama Administrations! This is public record!

There is abundant official/public record to show that both Cabinet (including ministerial) and parliamentary approvals for the construction of the two medical facilities, transpired during the tenure of the two administrations.

In the case of the Upper West Regional Hospital (Wa), I want to believe Mr Forson knows that Cabinet and parliamentary approvals for the loan agreements were effected in April, August, October and November 2008, respectively.

Interestingly, when President Akufo-Addo was commissioning that hospital in November 2019, he underscored the fact that the construction trajectory and history of that hospital had travelled through the reigns of 4 Presidents; starting with Kufuor through to Mills, Mahama and himself (Akufo-Addo).

How that project becomes the exclusive achievement of President Mahama is rather puzzling! The records do not support his point.

Somebody should call the former Deputy Minister of Finance’s attention to the fact that the Bank of Ghana Act is clear on how BoG profits are distributed.

The retained profits after distribution to the Consolidated Funds, if any, are used for operational purposes, for which the Bank of Ghana has operational independence.

That said, it is very clear if (And that’s a VERY BIG IF) Mr Forson insists the President directed the use of operational resources at BoG, then it shows the degree of interference the President had at the Bank of Ghana (BoG), which then shows why Ghana had so many bank failures and macro-economic instability during the times Mr Forson was a member of the Board/Authority of BoG and a Deputy Minister for Finance!

The poverty of Mr Forson’s intrusion should be manifest to all discerning Ghanaians! Propaganda yaamutu!

Good morning Ghana!