Attempts by the “1999 Journalist Of The Year”, to cleanse the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Vice-Presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, from the African Development Bank (AfDB) tag, that he is a poor researcher has collapsed, with the owner of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, looking as an ace investigative journalist, who is also getting rusty.
Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, last Saturday produced a memo from the African Development Bank (AfDB), claiming the bank lied when it claimed that Ghana was not on any suspension list, because it had duly honoured its December 2014 debt obligations.
But events at that Finance Ministry, showing details of the transactions between the ministry and the AfDB, paint both Dr. Bawumia and Kweku Baako, as out and about to perpetuate political mischief to lower investor confidence in the Ghanaian economy.
In what Joy FM, an Accra-based radio station described as “a game-changing exposé”, Kweku Baako insisted that the continental bank on February 18, 2015, wrote a memo to the Ministry of Finance titled: “Application of Sanctions”.
In the memo, the Bank said full payment of arrears due on January 1, 2015, had not been met. We “wish to inform you that sanctions have been imposed 1st February, 2015”, Baako quoted from the memo.
Attached to the memo is a list of arrears on 13 loan agreements.
The memo from Mr. Baako, was to be an apparent vindication of a controversial lecture delivered by the NPP Vice-Presidential aspirant, in which the economist claimed that Ghana was on suspension.
However, details from the Ministry of Finance, reveal that “the processes for payment to the AfDB started on the 10th of December, 2014 when the Release letter of the Finance Ministry was signed. Warrants for payment were issued on 17th December and Dispatched to Controller and Accountant Generals Department on 23rd December, 2014”.
It said “Twenty-eight long days after honouring our obligations to the AfDB, the Bank mistakenly on the 18th of February, 2015 sent a notification to the Director of the Debt Management Division of the Ministry of Finance indicating that Ghana had been sanctioned because we had not met our Bank Group bills payments”.
The ministry disclosed that “upon receipt of this notification the AfDB’s attention was drawn to the fact that Ghana was not in arrears having paid up its bills well in advance”.
According to the Ministry, “the AfDB realizing their error a few hours after sent correspondence indicating that our name has been removed from the list on account of an update of their records which showed we should not have been on the list since we were in good standing. A letter was therefore sent on the same day 18th February, 2015 indicating this”.
“Most importantly in a memo to the AfDB Board and copied to the President of the Bank dated 18th February, 2015, the Secretary General of the Bank Cecelia Akintomide disclosed that the only countries in arrears as of 31st January, 2015 were Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. There was no mention of Ghana on this list. It is instructive to note that the effective date of the sanctions as contained in the memo being relied on by Bawumia and his supporters is 1st February, 2015”.
The ministry’s statement insisted that “for the avoidance of doubt Ghana had met its obligations before this deadline as indicated in the Board memo under reference. Ghana was not on any list of sanctioned countries. It is important to note that member countries have 30 days after the due date to make payment”.
It argued that “Dr. Bawumia had 34 clear days (800 hours) from the date of the 17th February memo and the date of his lecture to update the information he had been given which turned out to be false. Critically nine clear days before the lecture, the AfDB in an internal memo dated 13th March, 2015 had drawn up an updated list of countries under sanctions which did not include Ghana because we had met our obligations to them fully”.
The processes for payment to the AfDB started on December 10, 2014, when the Release letter of the Finance Ministry was signed. Warrants for payment were issued on December 17, and Dispatched to Controller and Accountant Generals Department on December 23, 2014.
The Ministry gave a breakdown of the payment below, which shows the banks, currencies; send reference and dates on which payments were made to the AfDB.
The document said, “In view of the above .It is beyond doubt that Bawumia deliberately peddled untruth when he claimed that we had been sanctioned for non-payment of our bills. Also the claim that the AfDB had lied on the basis of the 18th February letter to the Ministry is false”.
The government had also charged Dr. Bawumia as failing to cross-check his facts and was seeking to alarm the investor community with his “falsehoods” which the Ministry of Finance is demanding an apology and a retraction from Dr. Bawumia.
Mr. Baako’s claims were in reaction to The AfDB’s statement, denying suspending Ghana and said it was an “administrative error” put on the website, but was corrected the same day.
But Kweku Baako, accused government of dishonesty in claiming that it had not defaulted in December debt payment.
According to Kweku Baako, Government was “aware” it had been suspended, yet went on to “verbally lynch” Dr. Bawumia for claiming Ghana’s suspension.
“Government could not have been truthful when we were told they have not received” any memo, Baako maintained and turned his guns on the Bank, insisting that he has evidence the Bank “lied”.
“A bank?, a bank?”, he expressed shock that a bank of AfDB’s stature would ‘lie’ to cover Ghana government. “AfDB is being economical with the truth!” he fumed.
He said, there was no way Ghana’s purported suspension could “be reduced to an administrative oversight. The bank lied”. AfDB was “deliberately being economical and for that matter suffers credibility problems,” Baako said and read the memo signed by Josselyne Ahogny, a Division Manager of AfDB in defence of Dr. Bawumia, the NPP Vice-Presidential aspirant.
It is unclear yet, if Mr. Baako, will apologise for not cross-checking his fact before going out to defend Dr. Bawumia, whom he had rated as a fine economist and who educates him anytime he speaks on issues affecting the economy.