Rawlings, Konadu Sense Smear Campaign

19 04 2010

Jerry Rawlings and Nana KonaduThe attention of former President Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has been drawn to publications in newspapers, on the worldwide web and other wide-circulating news mediums alleging that the Mills Administration has paid an amount of $5 million to them.

The reports emanate from comments made by a contributor on Radio Gold’s Alhaji and Alhaji programme of April 10, 2010 and the subsequent publications claim that the former first couple had taken $5million from the government but failed to employ people in their factory.

The former First Couple wish to state clearly that they own no factory and have taken no money from the Mills Administration for any venture be it business or otherwise. They are also not surprised by the uncanny silence of the Mills Administration, which is alleged to have made that payment and know in no uncertain terms that elements within government are behind this calculated smear campaign using pawns within the media.

The same silence was experienced when it was alleged in 2009 that the former President took huge sums from a Nigerian governor for the last Presidential campaign and pocketed it. It was followed by an infantile allegation that the Nsawam Cannery had also been paid doses of cash by the government to revitalise its operations.

Rather than emphasise the huge financial loss to the state occasioned by the NPP government’s refusal to pay the working capital of the factory so Ghanaians could be employed and our cocoa processed locally, they are exerting energies on smearing the former President and his wife.

Mrs. Rawlings is linked to Caridem Development Company Limited, a shareholder in Calf Cocoa International Ghana Limited.  She has no personal stake in either Caridem or Calf Cocoa. It is rather the 31st December Women’s Movement, which owns Caridem. Caridem has 45 per cent stake in Calf Cocoa.

This office has been in touch with Calf Cocoa and obtained details of the transaction. We have Calf Cocoa’s permission to respond as follows:

The government made a payment to Calf Cocoa following an order by the Accra High Court in March 2008 that the government of Ghana pay an amount of  $3,550,000.00 as well as accumulated interest to Calf Cocoa following the shameless failure of the then government to pay an amount of $1,800,000.00 to Calf Cocoa being the working capital portion of a Subsidiary Loan Agreement (SLA) between Calf Cocoa and the Government of Ghana for the establishment of the cocoa factory.

The SLA was based on an agreement between the government of Ghana and the EXIM Bank of China in which the Chinese government agreed to give to the government of Ghana interest subsidised concessionary loan for the purpose of financing industrial projects in Ghana through joint ventures between Ghana and nominated Chinese companies in identified areas. Calf Cocoa and two other companies were granted this facility. China International Cooperation Company for Agriculture Livestock and Fishery that was nominated by the Chinese Government is the majority shareholder in Calf Cocoa.

The factory was primarily established to add value to Ghana’s raw cocoa through the processing of cocoa beans into cocoa oil, cakes and aromatic products. Since the Mills government honoured the judgement debt incurred by the Kufuor administration’s failure to pay the working capital of $1,800,000.00 efforts have been made to replace obsolete equipment, stolen equipment and other materials required to make the company operational.

The factory has the capacity to employ thousands of Ghanaians when it is fully operational, and that was one of the primary reasons for its conception – to ease the employment woes of Ghanaians. But until such time that the rehabilitation process is concluded no massive employment can take place.

Her Ladyship Justice Margaret Insaidoo in her ruling on March 5, 2008 said:

“Value addition to raw cocoa beans has always been on the economic agenda of this country. The objective of this company is to process Cocoa Beans into Butter and other value added products. The country has recently commissioned cocoa processing plants such as Barry Callibaut and Cadbury and Fry in furtherance of this objective. So why should this project not meet the light of day? Whose fault is it? What went wrong?”

On page 16 of the same ruling, Her Ladyship states:

“It is sad to say the least, that Public Officials who are entrusted with the public good and who are expected to act with utmost good faith will so create a situation which will result in creating financial loss situations for this country.”

The payment to Calf Cocoa was not a favour done to the company by the Mills Administration. It was an order of the courts of the land and failure to comply would have meant additional costs and damages imposed for default.

This office wishes to state clearly however that the former First Couple reserve the right to take appropriate legal action to ensure that those who have taken it upon themselves to sully their reputations at will, desist from such brazen acts of treachery and deceit.




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