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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Did P.C Appiah-Ofori influence STX withdrawal?

Paul Collins Appiah-Ofori
Paul Collins Appiah-Ofori
Government’s decision to withdraw the controversial STX loan agreement from Parliament may have been influenced by advice offered by anti-corruption campaigner P.C. Appiah-Ofori.

The debate on the agreement was suspended last Wednesday after the Minority demanded that government furnishes members with some key documents. The MPs argued they would not be able to participate meaningfully in the debate if the joint venture and off-take agreements were not included in the original agreement.

The deal was severally criticized by groups and individuals who say it doesn’t serve the national interest even before it went to Parliament for debate.

However the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alban Bagbin told Joy News on Thursday that the agreement has been withdrawn pending further discussions with the president.

“Listening to the debate and the direction that it was going, I thought that in the national interest it was important to brief the president on the debate, which I did, and the president advised it was essential that all those real issues raised were referred back to the [Finance] Committee [of Parliament] for proper deliberations before submitting it to Parliament again for us to continue with the debate,” he said.

Mr Bagbin also conceded that there were some "inaccuracies" and "phrases" in the agreement that did not "represent the true position of the party".

But the Member of Parliament for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa has disclosed to Joy News that it was based on his counsel that the deal was withdrawn from Parliament.

He said certain provisions in the deal were “absolutely fraudulent”, adding that ratifying it would have “created hardship for this country”.

“So when things were going haywire for them [Majority in Parliament] I went to Honourable Alban Bagbin and counselled him that it is better for them to withdraw it in order to redeem the shame that would afflict them. And I am happy that he came out to announce the withdrawal after he had gone to see the president.”

He however noted that the STX deal to build 200,000 housing units was a good one.

“Anybody who has read the agreement would be for Ghana because it contains certain provisions which will make Ghana a better nation if such various requirements were made.”

Story by Isaac Essel/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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