Following revelations that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has virtual purloined Ghc900million from two state banks to sponsor its flagship campaign promises, it has been confirmed that at least in one of the cases, the government had indeed taken the money without the approval of a Board.
Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, recently met with Parliament’s Committee on Food and Agriculture and emphatically confirmed that indeed his ministry had taken $100million from ADB without the approval of a Board.
Being the equivalent of Ghc450million, the money, which is purposed to be invested in the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) program was taken from the ADB, which has no Board in place.
The minister’s admission is a corroboration of a knell that the Member of Parliament for Bolga Central, Hon. Isaac Adongo, recently sounded on the Akufo-Addo government’s vandalism of public sector corporate laws to grab money.
Along with the revelation that the government had taken the Ghc450million from ADB for the PFJ, in the absence of a substantive Board at the ADB, Hon. Adongo had also revealed that another Ghc450million had similarly been purloined from the Universal Merchant Bank (UMB).
The UMB money is supposedly to be invested into the government’s ‘one district, one factory’ flagship program which had been promised to Ghanaians during the 2016 election campaign by the ruling NPP.
It is not clear what justification Dr. Afriyie Akoto gave the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture for taking the money from ADB without the approval of a Board.
His admission that the money has been taken, however, is confirmation that the Akufo-Addo government indeed vandalized the law which clothes only the Boards of public entities with power to sell off its assets, including the liquidity endowments of banks.
In effect, the NPP government illegally took the Ghc450million from the ADB to enable it fund its ambitious campaign promise seen to have been made in reckless desperation to win election in 2016.
Hon. Isaac Adongo, a man who has just recently burst onto the scene and earned respects as an economics whiz kid, sounded the knell on the NPP government’s illegal purloin from public banks, two weeks ago.
The Bolga Central MP, in exploring the issue, had pointed out that the Ghc900million that the NPP Government had purloined from the UMB and ADB was serious capital flight from the banks because Ghc450million is the capital requirement for setting up banks.
He had reasoned, therefore, that the reckless purloin, could endanger the banks in question into collapse.
In response, some NPP communicators had taken to social media to attack Hon. Adongo, amidst the telling of fantastic untruths.
One such alternative facts given by NPP communicators was that both UMB and ADB banks had their Boards in place and that it was the Boards that had approved for the Ghc900million to be given out to the government.
However, The Republic has seen the minutes from a June meeting that the Finance Committee of Parliament had had with Bank of Ghana officials and can confirm that, in that meeting, the Governor, Dr. Ernest Addison, had confirmed that ADB and UMB had no Boards in place.
Upon the NPP taking over the mantle of government in January 2017, Boards of all public banks were dissolved. The government has since reconstituted Boards of some of them, including Ghana Commercial Bank and the National Investment Bank.
However, ADB and UMB were still pending at the time that the government took $100million each from them, for the purpose of investing into the ODOF and PFJ respectively.
As part of counter against the revelations by Hon. Adongo, NPP communicators had referenced the old Board of the ADB, which the Mahama government had set up, as the Board that approved the Ghc450million for the PFJ program.
Interestingly, on that Board were Major Tara and one Mr. Abisa Seidu.
Major Tara, then Chief Director at the Ministry of Finance, had been on the ADB Board as a representative of the Finance Ministry. At the time that the NPP government took the money from ADB, Major Tara was no longer with the Ministry of Finance.
Again, Mr. Abisa Seidu had been on the same ADB Board with Major Tara as a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture. But Mr. Seidu, former Chief Director of the Agriculture Ministry, had gone on retirement at the time that the Ghc450million was taken from the ADB.
It is therefore untenable that the ADB Board on which Major Tara had represented the Finance Ministry and Mr. Abisa Seidu had represented the Agric Ministry, could be the one to have doled out the Ghc450million to the Akufo-Addo government, when the two gentlemen were not with the two ministries at the time that the money was lent out by the ADB.
Interestingly, after all the defending by the NPP’s communicators, the Agric Minister is said to have made a clean breast of the whole illegal purloin of the Ghc450million from ADB.
In a recent meeting with Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture, the minister confirmed that indeed ADB had given out the Ghc450million to government in the absence of a Board.
The Republic has heard from sources that the Minority NDC in Parliament may soon go to court on the issue.