Bawumia fights back: AfDB covering up for gov't

Economist and flagbearer running mate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has produced evidence to back his claims that the African Development Bank (AfDB) recently sanctioned Ghana for non-payment of debt obligations due.

He produced a memo from the bank, dated February 17, 2015 and referenced as “Ref: FFCO.4/JA/2015/” to support his claims. A copy of that memo is available to Graphiconline here.

Speaking through his aide, Anthony Karbo, Dr Bawumia challenged the AfDB to publish the said memo with its reference number in which it claims it corrected the error in announcing the sanctions handed to Ghana.

He said the AfDB was not being “truthful” because their internal memo was dated 17 February, 2015 and they are talking about an 18 February when they made a mistake and corrected it.

“This memo that we have is not dated 18 February,” Anthony Karbo told Graphiconline.

“We are surprised that they are calling it an error on their part… I don’t know how they can talk about an administrative error here, is it a typographical error or what?” he questioned

According to Karbo, it would be better for the bank to explain if there was a reference to that particular document which corrected the said error and questioned: “If the bank was doing some sort of face-saving activity for the government, then that is their own case.”

“We have provided evidence to back our claims and there is an empirical evidence to support that.”

Last Tuesday Dr Bawumia delivered a lecture on the IMF bailout programme and said Ghana has recently been sanctioned by the AfDB for non-payment of debt obligations due.

That, he said meant that the signature of new AfDB loan agreements, disbursements on all AfDB on-going projects and the granting of any new loans have been suspended until the situation was rectified.

The sanctions according to him were effective in January 2015 and said Ghana in that regard joined an exclusive list of nations such as Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Djibouti which were currently under AfDB sanctions.

But in a press statement on Wednesday and signed by Director of Communications, Joel Kibazo the AfDB clarified that Ghana was current on all its obligations.

When Graphiconline called Joel Kibazo on telephone at his Abidjan base, he said his office had been inundated with phone calls from Accra the whole of Wednesday hence they issued the media advisory for clarification on the issue.

“On 18 February 2015, due to an administrative oversight, Ghana was erroneously included in the list of countries under sanctions by the AfDB.”

“However, the error was detected that same day and a corrected list was immediately issued in replacement,” the statement said.

Following the clarification from the bank, there have been debates as to whether Dr Bawumia cross-checked his facts before putting the issue out or the AfDB should be faulted for the gaffe.

Deputy Finance Minister, Mr Casel Ato Forson has called for an apology from Dr Bawumia.

“I expect Bawumia to come and apologise to the nation because strongly, my worry is some of the comments that he has made by describing the Ministry of Finance as smart ….i think it’s unfair, going further to say that government of Ghana has been sanctioned by the Africa Development Bank, that is very inaccurate and it’s not the truth.”

“He has the responsibility to cross check facts before he puts out there and the fact that he didn’t cross check those facts, he hasn’t done well. He has caused a lot of concern, particularly in the investing community, he has caused a lot of panic in the financial market and he has to come and apologise,” Mr Forson told Joy FM.

But according Dr Bawumia’s aide, Anthony Karbo, if indeed the AfDB admits in their own statement that there was an error, “then who should the onerous of apology fall on?” he questioned.

He said Dr Bawumia has no liability of apology to anybody in this country or the AfDB.

“I think that Dr Bawumia owes no apology to anybody. If anybody needs to apologise, it is the African Development Bank and I can suspect that this whole attempt by the African Development Bank to come out is a clear cover-up.”

Asked what would be the interest of the AfDB to cover up for government, Karbo said if the banks memo of February 17 was a lie, “then Dr Bawumia would certainly be a liar.”

He said Dr Bawumia has always been attacked anytime he speaks on the economy only for him to be vindicated later on.

By: Graphic Online



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