IMF Cleared Ofori-Atta In 2020 – Mercer

Andrew Egyapa Mercer


THE NEW Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Sekondi Constituency in the Western Region, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, has accused the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority Caucus of rehashing old and debunked allegations against Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.

He noted that the allegations of misreporting data were first raised in May 2020 but was rejected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as being untrue.

He, therefore, wondered why the Minority NDC would use the same issues as bases for a motion of censure against Mr. Ofori-Atta.

Mercer said these at the first hearing of the ad-hoc committee on the motion of censure brought against the Finance Minister.

He responded to a presentation by Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, which centred on misreporting of the fiscal deficit, fiscal treatment of expenditures above or below the line and general public sector accounting.

The Sekondi MP said the immediate past Country Representative of the IMF, Dr. Albert Touna Mama, debunked the allegations in May 2020.

According to him, the IMF Country Representative said all the figures were known by the IMF and, therefore, it was untrue that there was misreporting.


IMF’s Clarification

He said, “As much as possible to stay out of debates,” they felt compelled to clarify statements made by Fact Check Ghana, an affiliate of the Media Foundation for West Africa concerning the US$1 billion IMF COVID-19 relief fund to the government.

Fact Check Ghana, published on its website that government presented data to the IMF which was different from figures in the annual budgets for 2018 and 2019.

But, Dr. Albert Touna Mama, in a media interview, stated that Fact Check Ghana misrepresented the facts because the government did not present the figures that the IMF published in its statements, as Fact Check Ghana reported.


Difference In Methodology

The IMF Country Director explained that the difference in figures was as a result of a difference in the methodology of calculation, adding that the figure in fiscal deficit in their statement was a figure they generated themselves from the data government presented to them, having added financial and energy sector payments in line with their methodology, which is different from government’s methodology.


Fair Hearing

Earlier, Mr. Ofori-Atta, asked the censure committee for a fair hearing.

He asked that he should be furnished with the documents that they intended to rely upon, to execute the motion of censure initiated against him.

The minister’s lawyer, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, made the request when the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee hearing the motion started its sitting.

Mr. Otchere-Darko said the rules of natural justice and fair hearing required that the accused was not only heard but was furnished with the documents that formed the bases of the allegations made against him.

He, therefore, insisted that the Minority, led by its Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, provided the documents to him and his client.

That, he said, would enable his client better assess the allegations on which his removal was being made.


Minority’s Grounds For Censure Call

The Minority has argued that Mr. Ofori-Atta directly benefited from Ghana’s economic woes as his company received commissions and other unethical contractual advantages, particularly from Ghana’s debt overhang as the basis for their vote of censure.

They also cited unconstitutional withdrawals from the Consolidated Fund in blatant contravention of Article 178 of the 1992 Constitution, supposedly for the construction of the President’s Cathedral.

According to the Caucus, the illegal payment of oil revenues into offshore accounts, in flagrant violation of Article 176 of the 1992 Constitution was another ground for the censure.

They also alleged deliberate and dishonest misreporting of economic data to Parliament.

The Minority argued that fiscal recklessness led to the crash of the Ghana Cedi.

The grounds for the censure also said alarming incompetence and frightening ineptitude resulted in the collapse of the Ghanaian economy and an excruciating cost of living crisis.