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General News
Chiefs demand to know from Otumfuo ... 2/11/2007
… Under the US$5 million ethnic agenda World Bank loan
Kumasi (Palaver) -- Five years ago, the Kufuor led New Patriotic Party (NPP) managed to get a US$5 million World Bank loan for the Asanteman Council and the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council under a very bizarre circumstance, which aroused very negative feeling among some traditional rulers.

When your authoritative “The Ghana Palaver” broke the story, the government quickly came in to say that the US$5 million was not a loan but a grant and that they (the NPP) did not initiate the transaction but the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The NDC then also came in to say that the arrangement was for the US$5 million to go to the National House of Chiefs and distributed among members of the House for various development projects in their traditional areas.

At this juncture, the Asanteman Council, led by His Royal Highness, Dr. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, then broke their silence to say that yes, they had received the money and they intend using it for the purpose for which it was granted, that of development projects which will be extended beyond the Ashanti Region.

Three years on and the promise by the Asantehene, Dr. Otumfuo Osei Tutu and his Council to extend the development projects under the ethnic agenda World Bank loan has not materialized and the question most Chiefs are asking is, where are the projects?

Many paramount chiefs interviewed by “The Ghana Palaver” say they have now realized that the Government assurance, three years ago, that the World Bank loan of US $5 million granted to the Asanteman Council, with the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council later linked up to it, was a facility available to all others, was a big lie and that the loan was to be used exclusively for the development of the two tribal areas.

Following a nation-wide outcry against the obvious Government “sponsored” deal, found discriminatory and ethnic, in content, the government’s only explanation was that the loan had metamorphosed into a grant, a clear case of throwing dust into the eyes of Ghanaians.

With President J. A. Kufuor, an Ashanti, flanked by the then Akyem Finance Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo, and also an Akyem, then the Attorney-General, Nana Akufo Addo, the stage was set for a “kokofu ball or "awam" game.

The issue of the loan/grant came up at a private reception held after the funeral ceremony of the Ga Mantse in Accra last week.

It was at that get-together when, in free discussions, it was found out that all the paramount chiefs, who had wanted to take advantage of the facility and had attempted to source the loan/ grant from the World Bank have had their applications stalled somewhere along the line.

One of the chiefs was forthright.Without mincing words, he declared, “we were only provided with cold comfort, to calm tempers down. And, surely so, with time, the whole loan/ gift matter is almost forgotten. Citizens of 8.5 out of the ten regions, are now being treated like “non-customers” of the World Bank.

It will also be recalled that the whole deal was treated as a secret until “The Ghana Palaver” broke the story, with the force of a “boom”!

Whether the loan was turned into a grant or not, it was the secrecy surrounding the transaction, which caused eye-brows to be raised.

Now, what the chiefs are askings is WHERE ARE THE PROJECTS?

And the Chiefs are expecting the Asantehene and President Kufuor to come out to give them an answer.


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