Documents emanating from reliable sources at the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and in possession of The New Crusading GUIDE, have rekindled the widely held perception that the reputable bank a couple of weeks ago clearly attempted to save its skin as well as the Government of Ghana over sanctions imposed over the country for her indebtedness.
According to the letter dated 27th January, 2015, and under the heading, THIRD AND LAST REMINDER, SUBJECT: LOANS ARREARS ON BILLS DUE ON 01 JANUARY 2015, the bank reminded Samuel D. Ameyaw, Director of Debt Management of Ghana’s indebtedness in different currencies to the bank and the need to redeem them lest the country faced sanctions.
“We wish to remind you that as of today, we have not received full payment in respect of Bank Group bills, as per the attached Arrears Report. We count on your prompt action for the timely settlement of the amounts due to enable the clearance of the arrears. We would appreciate if you could provide details of any payment made. Please note that sanctions will be imposed if full payment of the arrears is not received by the end of the month,” the letter signed by Josselyne Ahogny, Division Manager of the Bank stated.
Coincidentally, it was the same Mr. Ameyaw who was said by the Minister of Agriculture, Fiifi Kwettey to have communicated the supposed error to the bank somewhere in February, 2015. Interestingly, Mr. Kwettey could not tell the public whether the alert from Mr. Ameyaw to AfDB was in writing.
He claimed that hours after the Bank’s attention was drawn to the mistake, they issued another memo correcting the error but that memo is also yet to be made public.
Government functionaries including some Ministers of State insisted that at no point was Ghana in arrears to the Bank and any letter which sought to communicate a state of indebtedness should have been dismissed.
Chronicling the dates and processes involved in Ghana’s debt settlement to AfDB, the Agric Minister emphatically stated that Ghana had before January 21, 2015 settled all its indebtedness to the bank.
“As at December 10, 2014 the Ministry of Finance had authorised the payment to the account of AfDB. That is the beginning of the process. On December 17 payment warrant released and signed by the Director of Budget. That is a fact and that is verifiable. On December 23, 2014, the letter was dispatched to the Controller and Accountant General and from there it went to the Bank of Ghana”.
“The first payment was done. Four currency payments were done and they were swift payments which were sent to the account of the AfDB,” he narrated.
He said the Euro currency with a reference number of FT1501510573 was paid into the account of the AfDB on January 15, 2015.
On the same day, the Pounds version with reference number FT1501568924 was sent to the HSBC. He said the final payment in the Yen currency was made on the 21st January.
After the lecture by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the AfDB reacted in a terse press statement denying it had suspended Ghana claiming that it was an “administrative error” which was corrected that same day on its official website.
However, there was nothing on the website of the admission of error on the said date.
It seems the AFDB has in recent times been playing actively in a comedy of errors as it had communicated three different messages on the same subject and turn around to say they were all in error.
On February 18, 2015, the bank wrote to inform the Government of Ghana that it had placed sanctions on her for failing to make full payment in respect of Bank Bills but turned round to say it had erred in that communication. That communication came just a day after it had issued a memo to all their Directors naming Ghana as one of the countries that owed the bank.
In the face of the clear embarrassment the Government suffered after the lecture by the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, an Inter-Office surfaced dated March 13, 2015 which had another list of countries in debt with Ghana this time around conspicuously missing.
Things got worse for both the bank and the government when it came to light that both the February 17, 2015 memo announcing the sanctions placed on Ghana and the March 13, 2015 memo which did not have Ghana on the list of countries in arrears, bore the same reference number of FFCO.4/JA/2015.
Many banking experts say it is a misnomer to have two different memos bear the same reference numbers.
“It raises eyebrows especially because both memos were issued at least a month adrift. Clearly something is fishy somewhere,” one expert told this paper.