By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
I have always contended that our leaders are not nearly half as intelligent and foresighted as they would have the rest of us believe. In this instance, the reference is to the widely alleged rumor that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Mr. Alexander Mould, has contracted a $700 million loan facility from the Deutsche Bank for purposes that have yet to be publicly disclosed (See “Minority Wants GNPC CEO Impeached Over 700M Loan” New Crusading Guide / Ghanaweb.com 11/6/14).
That the call for the impeachment or punitive sanctioning of the CEO of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation is largely coming from the parliamentary minority, makes the case all the more disturbing, if also because it clearly indicates that the fiscal future of the country is among the least bit of the concerns of the parliamentary majority or the ruling party. We also ought to quickly point out that as of this writing, the New Crusading Guide newspaper, which apparently first reported the same, was implicitly maintaining that the GNPC’s $700 million question was only an allegation.
If the preceding has validity, then what the parliamentary minority ought to be doing is to launch an investigation into the matter, in order to establish the authenticity of the allegation, before presuming to summon the CEO of the GNPC before any of the relevant parliamentary standing and / or select committees. For it is hardly savvy for the leaders of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to start making waves, or roiling up national outrage, before all the forensically sustainable facts and pieces of evidence are in.
On the other hand, if as the Obuasi MP, Mr. Kwaku Kwarteng, is publicly alleging, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation is a statutory establishment that is wholly, or largely, owned by the Ghana Government, then, of course, the key operatives of the GNPC ought not to have been allowed to initial any contractual loan agreement with the Deutsch Bank without the express permission and/or certain approval of Parliament, the bona fide representatives of the Ghanaian taxpayer and the electorate. For we are talking about the future of our entire country, and not just that fraction of its membership that makes up the so-called National Democratic Congress.
The GNPC’s CEO and/or his bosses and representatives and assigns have no business mortgaging the country’s petroleum resources for foreign loans without prior parliamentary approval. And such approbation, even as Mr. Kwarteng aptly pointed out, ought to have been squarely based on a comprehensive proposal presented by the GNPC’s CEO, and his associates, to parliament regarding precisely why the need for such a humongous contractual loan facility had become an absolute necessity; and also to what specific purpose or purposes such loan facility had been contracted and would be used for.
At this juncture, we have no way of knowing the veracity of whether the GNPC operatives mischievously intend to covertly divert a sizeable chunk of the alleged loan facility into political point-scoring projects by the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress. Neither can we gainsay the fact of the existence of any such strategic and/or tactical political ploy. What is clear, though, is that should this latter allegation turn out to be possessed of real teeth, as it were, this would not be the first time that any sitting government has attempted to pull a fast one over the eyes and heads of Ghanaian citizens and the electorate. And such shenanigans would not be either unique or exclusive to the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress.
In other words, what is significant here is for the Ghanaian people and their representatives to ensure that the proper procedural guidelines are meticulously and religiously followed. And also that neither of the two major political parties takes undue advantage of the electorate, and Ghanaian citizens at large, to jujitsu themselves into the seat of power and governance in perpetuity, merely for the sake of sheer political entrenchment, rather than being democratically retained on the seat of governance primarily because these politicians and their party have palpably demonstrated their worth, in terms of the remarkable material development of the country.