Tuesday, 23 November 2010


When the candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), won the run-off of the December 2008 presidential election, he was under the false impression, that he was inheriting an economy, which would make it possible for his party to: “hit the ground running” as the then candidate Mills put it whiles campaigning for the presidency in 2008. Alas, little did H.E. Professor Mills and his party colleagues, know, that in reality, they had inherited what amounted to the economic equivalent, of a poisoned chalice. The painful truth is that Ghana, under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of the profligate President Kufuor, developed a full-blown bubble economy. It was fueled by corruption and widespread white-collar crime – and enabled scores of politically well-connected individuals, countrywide, to grow super-rich: through the siphoning off of public revenue, and the laundering of the proceeds of criminal activity (including drug-dealing). An example is how the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was turned into a cash-cow. It was milked dry by sundry white-collar criminals who were fraudulently paid zillions of old cedis for goods and services that they never actually delivered.

No one who has any knowledge of economics, and is a sincere individual, will deny the need for the cuts in public spending instituted by the Mills regime. It will prevent even greater pain in future. For, a future Government will have to adopt even more drastic measures, than we are currently having to cope with: in dealing with the consequences of a complete cessation of economic growth – which is what would inevitably occur, if the present regime had failed to adopt the austerity measures it took when it first came into office, and is currently taking. A direct consequence of zero growth would be a resultant loss of confidence in Ghana’s economic prospects – amongst both local and overseas investors. The tragedy for our country, is that those who left our economy in tatters, have been left free to engage in a relentless propaganda war – characterized by a pretense that somehow there is some other way to re-balance our nation’s finances, other than the course the Mills administration has been forced by our nation’s economic circumstances to adopt (as have governments of other nations with large budget deficits, such as the UK, Ireland, Greece, Spain, and Portugal).

What primary school child in Ghana does not know that in order to re-balance our nation’s finances, the necessary first steps would have to involve a regime of cuts in public spending, and broad measures taken to raise more public revenue through increased taxation – and that it is intellectually dishonest to label what we have had to go through to make growth possible again, as an enkoyie economic situation? Of course, some of us believe that abolishing personal income tax would raise productivity, whiles bringing down the corporate tax rate to make it the lowest in Africa, and passing stiff laws prescribing mandatory prison terms, to penalize all tax-dodgers without exception, will help widen the tax net considerably, and bring in additional revenues: as well as help create an enterprise culture in our homeland Ghana as an added bonus. The unfortunate conundrum facing those who love Ghana passionately, is what to do about the abiding inability of the present administration to spell out clearly to ordinary Ghanaians, why a so-called enkoyie economic situation evolved after December 2008.

It is an intolerable situation, which threatens to enable those self-seekers and ruthless plutocrats who dominate the NPP (ace-hypocrites who masquerade as believers in democracy and the rule of law), to successfully return to power again in 2013. Sadly, for our nation, those greedy and powerful rogues who control the NPP, have succeeded brilliantly in hiding their asset-strip-Ghana-for-personal-gain political agenda from most ordinary Ghanaians. It is enabling them gain traction and respectability amongst ordinary folk nationwide. Although they are smart enough themselves to understand perfectly that to ensure a prosperous tomorrow for all Ghanaians, our country must, of necessity, go through a painful period of austerity (during which there would have to be drastic cuts in public spending), from the word go, they have given ordinary Ghanaians the completely false impression, that no positive outcome is possible for our nation and its people going forward, from such a policy (for which, incidentally, there is no viable alternative!).

Ordinary Ghanaians have to be made to understand clearly that a period of sustained growth will be possible, only when such tough measures have been taken, to make us stop living beyond our means as a nation – and that it is only when that has been achieved that Government will finally be able to re-balance Ghana’s public finances. A nation with balanced finances inspires confidence in its real economy amongst investors (both local and foreign). An era of sustained growth will be ushered in, only when Ghana has a relatively balanced budget. It is vital that the administration of President Mills stops being diffident about telling Ghanaians about the terrible legacy of the NPP administration. Let them take a leaf from the book of British Prime Minister David Cameron: who never ceases to mention what he says is the Labour Party's dreadful economic legacy, when out campaigning to get the British people, to accept the Coalition government's swingeing public spending cuts. Ghanaians must be told the real truth about how Kufuor & Co. destroyed our national economy with their short-sighted economic policy decisions: the dreadful result of a combination of unfathomable greed and utter ruthlessness in leveraging the power of the Ghanaian nation-state in furtherance of their personal wealth-creation agendas.

Why, for example, is no one pointing out some of the negative results of the foolish and shortsighted decision to hand over as much as 70 percent of Ghana Telecom (GT) to Vodafone at that absurd price of some US$900 millions? Today, Vodafone is embarking on an asset-stripping programme – presumably to claw back some of that paltry US$900 millions. The question is: Why should they be allowed to sell buildings from GT’s property portfolio (a move in which the word "sale" is cleverly avoided and the word “lease” deployed instead – because it is clearly less emotive)? If the over-pampered and over-paid British executives of Vodafone want a more salubrious and leafy place to work from, why should that result in the sale of its Accra headquarters building (and others countrywide), I ask, dear reader? It will also be illuminating to know just how many other companies put in bids to manage the 750 telephone masts of the erstwhile GT - now outsourced to Eaton Telecom for a period of ten years.

Interestingly, it is at around just that time that most of today's nearly-new generators, which now power those masts, would need replacing: at which point Eaton Towers will conveniently hand their management back to Vodafone (if it is still here, i.e.) and presumably move on to greener pastures elsewhere. Why did those anti-Mills regime officials in the communications ministry, not think of advising the minister to get Parliament to pass a local-content law, that will force all companies, to which telecom towers in Ghana are outsourced, to work with the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), in joint-venture partnerships: so as to prepare the GAF for eventually taking over that aspect of the telecoms industry, and secure them for strategic national security reasons? Why have questions not also been posed to the NPP’s big-wigs, asking them precisely how they would have explained and justified any allocation of an oil-block, in one of the oil fields off our coastline, to the maverick Mr. Ayisi Boateng – to whom one was promised to placate him and stop him from forming the breakaway party he threatened to form – should they come to power again (God forbid!) after the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections?

Why have Ghanaians not been told how as a result of patronage of the most egregious kind, a timber concession was granted to the selfsame Mr. Ayisi-Boateng during the NPP’s tenure – just so that he could make money waa-waa-waa and stop rocking the NPP’s golden-boat-of-riches, as it were? Can the point not then be made that that is the template, of how the bulk of our oil and natural gas revenues, will eventually end up in the private pockets of politically well-connected, dishonest, and unpatriotic individuals – should the NPP ever be returned to power again? Why have ordinary people not been told that it will be a grave error of judgment on their part, to allow such selfish individuals to come to power again, in the next presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2012: because they will end up appropriating our collective wealth, yet again? Ordinary Ghanaians ought to be made to understand clearly the dire consequences of voting such individuals into office – and must be informed, for example, that the outrageous and scandalous sale of state lands is one such consequence.

Why, does the 1992 constitution not imply, that those whom we elect to govern our country, have a fiduciary duty to protect what belongs to all of us, at all material times during their tenure? Has the enterprise Ghana come to an end to justify the sale of public lands that future Governments can use for all manner of common-good projects, which need not necessarily be the original projects those lands were acquired for? Is it not a fact that many of the NPP’s leading lights grabbed state lands in Accra, for example, whiles cynically ensuring that state lands elsewhere went directly to their tribal Chiefs – so as to enrich those confounded elitist tribal-supremacists – and was it not part of their secret grand-plan to weaken the Ghanaian nation-state and create de facto tribal states within the Ghanaian nation-state in parts of Nkrumah’s Ghana? The NDC’s different factions must wake up and unite now – and work hard to prevent an NPP victory by default in December 2012. Ghana’s oil and natural gas revenues must never be allowed to fall into the grasping hands of Unfathomable Greed & Quislings Galore Incorporated (otherwise know as the controlling clique that 'owns' the New Patriotic Party!) under any circumstances. A word to the wise…

Tel (powered by Tigo – the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 745 3109.

Friday, 12 November 2010


The latest scandal, in which a British cocoa exporting company operating in Ghana, Amajaro, succeeded in using its political connections in the UK, to get the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to rescind a decision to ban it from buying cocoa beans in Ghana (as a result of its agents being caught red-handed smuggling bags of cocoa beans to the Ivory Coast – in a video-recording by Ghana’s leading investigative journalist, Anas Ameriyaw), illustrates perfectly, the incredible naiveté and ignorance, of the many third-rate individuals who surround our leaders, and the baleful influence of some foreign powers, on so many of the members, of our largely-unimaginative political class. Before I proceed any further, dear reader, let me say emphatically, that I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever, that contrary to what some of his political opponents allege, Vice President John Mahama, did not personally receive any financial reward for any assistance, which he might have rendered Amajaro, as a result of appeals from a number of UK politicians and senior officials. Knowing the culture in Ghana, however, it is stretching credulity, for anyone to say that he knew nothing about the decision by the COCOBOD, to rescind its decision to ban Amajaro, from exporting cocoa beans from Ghana.

Obviously, if any money was collected by anyone for the eventual outcome, it probably ended up in the very deep pockets, of some of the small greedy group of ace-hypocrites and super-crooks, who lurk amongst the many fine and honest individuals (who serve our nation diligently, on a daily basis!), at Ghana's seat of power: the Osu Castle. However, the question that all well-meaning, independent-minded, and patriotic individuals in Ghana must ask, is: Why did no one in his circle (including those given cushy sinecures by his regime at the Ghana High Commission in London!) alert the vice president, of the existence of the new Bribery Act in the UK – so that he could point that out to the UK politicians and officials who asked him to intervene on Amajaro’s behalf: and politely tell them that unfortunately there was nothing much that he could do about it, as such was the degree of political awareness amongst ordinary Ghanaians, today, that any intervention on his part, would immediately elicit a response from some clever fellow from one of the opposition parties, who would most likely point out the existence of the UK Bribery Act, and demand that his intervention be brought to the notice of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ)?

Surely, the time has come for members of our political class, and the senior public officials who advise them, to understand clearly, that once the U.K. Bribery Act comes into force in April 2011, they could end up being personally charged, together with executives of UK companies involved in bribery in Ghana, whose companies have not taken adequate steps to ensure that third parties do not pay bribes on their behalf – if any acts of omission or commission, resulting in dereliction of duty, and occasioned by offered advantage of any kind, can be traced directly to them? The days of impunity are clearly over for those accepting bribes from the agents of UK companies operating here. To digress a little: For the over-ambitious Mrs. Nana Kunadu Agyemang Rawlings' information, if her past secret dealings with Mabey & Johnson and Biwater took place a year hence, she would be charged together with their executives, and probably receive a long prison term from a UK judge: outraged that Ghana could be robbed in broad daylight, by some members of its ruling elite, in such callous fashion. The harsh outcome for Ghanaian officials and politicians who bend over backwards to please UK businesses, is, alas, also no different from that, which they can expect, from their dealings with U.S. companies operating here, too.

Unluckily for them, the reach of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other anti-bribery laws, such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, passed in July 2010, extend here. If they are not yet aware of it, they must understand that any whistle-blowing individuals from Ghana, who submit “original information” to the U.S. authorities, which ends up in a U.S. company being penalized for an FCPA violation in excess of US$1 million, will receive anything from between 10 to 30 percent of any penalty collected. Is that not incentive enough, for example, for those politically well-connected individuals in Ghana, who know the dark secrets of the powerful crooks amongst our political class, who siphon off taxpayers’ funds from sundry contracts, I ask – especially when they are allowed to provide such information anonymously through a lawyer? Incidentally, some of the cynics and conspiracy theorists in our midst, say that the fact that U.S. companies that acquire U.S. domiciled businesses operating overseas, can inherit liability for a FCPA violation, which was committed before a takeover, by the acquired company’s employees or agents, might have a bearing on the withdrawal of ExxonMobil from takeover talks with Kosmos Oil.

Let the many clever white-collar criminals in our country, and elsewhere around the globe, who are ripping Mother Ghana off daily, be informed that some of the agents of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (F.B.I.), now focus exclusively on FCPA cases. The Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) has also set up a dedicated FCPA unit. One hopes the Ghanaian vice president and other government officials will now take note of the increasing trend in which Western nations are charging executives of companies from their countries, whose businesses offer bribes to public officials overseas, as well as those local public officials themselves, in law courts in the U.S., the U.K., and other nations in the E.U. Henceforth, they must simply ignore all pleas from government ministers and officials from those selfsame Western nations (which often accuse African nations of being corrupt!) to bend the rules in favour of errant businesses domiciled in their countries, which break our laws, to enable them get away with their crimes against our homeland Ghana.

Finally, dear reader, one's humble advice to Ghana's vice president, is that he ought to ponder awhile, and ask himself whether if the boot had been on the other foot, the UK government ministers who approached him to help Amajaro, would have agreed to any request from him to help a Ghanaian company operating in the U.K., which had been caught on a video tape-recording by a top British journalist, smuggling goods in or out of the U.K. Henceforth, the vice president of Ghana must never do any foreign politicians or officials, unwarranted favours, which go against the constitutional edict, which enjoins all Ghanaians to fight corruption, whenever and wherever they chance upon it. This shabby story has dented his image somewhat – the dissimulation of his over-pampered and clueless aides notwithstanding. It was a grave error of judgment on his part to seek to please the ownership of a foreign company whose actions were damaging to our nation’s economy – and it is crucial therefore that he learns important lessons from this most unfortunate of affairs. A word to the wise…

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.