Osafo-Maafo rubbishes CNTCI, Macmillan scandals

Osafo-Maafo rubbishes CNTCI, Macmillan scandals
Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com|Nathan Gadugah
Date: 20-01-2017 Time: 01:01:49:pm

Senior Minister designate Yaw Osafo-Maafo has described as a "frivolous propaganda" allegations that he superintended over two major financial scandals- CNT/CI loan and MacMillan- whilst in office as minister of state between 2001 and 2006.

Appearing before Parliament's Appointment Committee, the Senior Minister designate appeared to be in no mood to entertain the "mischievous allegations" and sought to suggest that MP for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa was too young to understand the details of those two issues at the time.

Mr Ablakwa wanted the nominee to answer to the two scandals that rocked the Kufuor administration and what role the nominee played in all of it.

"I think you were too young at the time to understand the issue," Maafo fired, a statement which was considered unparliamentary and was asked to withdraw and apologise which he did.

CNTCI

In 2004, the Kufuor government with Osafo-Maafo as minister at the time solicited for an amount of US $300 million loan from the CNT Construction Investment Ltd.(CNTCI Ltd) to undertake major infrastructural projects.

The National Democratic Congress in opposition described the loan as fraudulent. The party also questioned the credibility of the company from which the loan was sought.

The then General Secretary of the NDC at the time said the loan was sought from an hairdressing salon not a company with the financial muscle to provide a loan to the Ghana government.

The then government mounted a defence for the loan but said there was an error in the telephone number of the company which may have been directed to the hairdressing salon. The government later backed down after major criticism.

 Macmillan scandal

A year after the CNTCI scandal came another one in 2005 in which the then minister was accused of fraudulently sole sourcing a US$ 27 million deal to Macmillan Company to provide text books to the Ghana Education Service.

The then opposition did not understand why the minister had to sole source such a contract to Macmillan and without any parliamentary approval.

They accused the Osafo-Maafo of setting aside cheaper bids from Heinemann, Oxford and Longman in respect of the supply of the textbooks.

Appointment Committee

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa wanted finality on the issue and demanded from the appointee to explain into details what role he played in the scandals


Yaw Osafo-Maafo stated unequivocally that there was no wrong doing in those two scandals insisting they were only mischievous allegations.

He said on the CNTCI, the government needed money at the time for infrastructural projects and he received a proposal from CNTCI about the possibility of them providing the loan.

He said when he received the proposal they had to conduct due diligence on the company to know if the company was credit worthy.

He stated that when the scandal broke a press conference was organised at the time to explain the issue after which he went to Parliament to announce their withdrawal for the loan hunt.

."A press conference was held which answered the questions he was raising. He should have also brought in the press conference. There was a press conference on the CNTCI and Macmillan.

"When you are at the Ministry of Finance you get inundated with people trying to get you credit lines. When you get that type of letter there are steps you take. You first of all request for a confidential report from Dan and Bradstreet which is a source Ghana ascribes for information about people who want to give us a loan. The report we received from them was positive. Barclays did it on our behalf so we started dealing with them.

Along the line I insisted we need to know where the bank is located. We then had difficulty in getting the location and information. I came to Parliament to say that in view of the difficulty on getting the information we were withdrawing the loan request," he explained.

On the issue of Macmillan he said there were two sources of book supply to the GES- Macmillan and Longman. He said depending on the level of education, the GES either opts for Macmillan or Longmann.

He said on the specific books they needed at the time about 68% of the books used by the GES at that level of education were supplied by Macmillan and not Longmann. As a result he wrote as Education and Sports Minister and requested for a sole sourcing of the books to be supplied by Macmillan.

He added that in the end not a single book was supplied by Macmillan because of the objections raised.