What was thought to be a bold statement by the Akufo-Addo government in immortalizing the respected, Dr. James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey at Ghana’s 60th Anniversary celebration by putting his head on one of the cedi notes, is generating a huge procurement procedure controversy, which is likely to end up in a fierce parliamentary debate akin to the 2007 cedi re-denomination exercise.
Firstly, most people are unaware of the cost of printing the new notes, which were released last week to coincide with the March 6, Independence celebrations.
They argue that, the public should have been briefed adequately by the Bank of Ghana (BOG) on the subject, before printing was done.
They also want to know about the company and individuals behind the printing of the new currency, and questioned whether the BoG, organized a competitive bidding process towards the award of the printing contract.
The questions, which have been traced to Parliament are largely informed by a similar controversial printing of currency done by the Kufuor administration in 2007, which is believed to have led to the stealing of the old currencies running into trillions of cedis by some persons connected to the Kufuor administration.
The modes of disposal of those currencies were said to have been designed in a way to credit the accounts of some individuals several times, before the currencies were shredded and incinerated.
The re-denomination exercise, is also believed to have led to the unsolved gruesome murder of Mr. Roko Frimpong, the then Deputy Managing Director of the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) in Tema and Sakumono catchment areas in 2007.
The late Roko Frimpong, was shot by some unidentified armed men at his Tema residence on June 28, 2007.
Although, the killing was tagged by the police administration as robbery, it became obvious that it was a contract killing, as nothing was stolen from his home by the assailants.
Assurances from the Director of Operations of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Frank Kwoffie, of a criminal prosecution, did not yield and fruit.
Nothing has been heard of the suspects; Samuel McCarthy, William Agbavor and Atta Kakra, who were put on remand over the matter.
The printing of the new currencies in 2007, generated a heated debate with respect to the cost, the then BOG Governor, Dr. Paul Acquah, could not tell the actual cost of the job, and the huge media campaigns which came with it.
The then Deputy Governor, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who is currently the Vice-President, was said to be in-charge of the printing jobs.
Ahead of last year’s elections, it once again came under intense scrutiny with some of the questions coming from then President, John Dramani Mahama.
Nana Akufo-Addo’s junior brother, Edward ‘Bumpty‘ Akufo-Addo, was said to be among those who got the 2007 currency printing jobs at the undisclosed sum through Dr. Bawumia.
The Herald was later to establish that, the job of printing the currencies, was awarded to one Yaw Krobo Edusei of Safebond Africa Ltd (SAL).
Yaw, who is believed to be in his 60s, is the son of the late Krobo Edusei; a famous Minister in the Kwame Nkrumah government.
Yaw is a bosom friend and boast of being a financier of President Akufo-Addo, he, however, flirted with NDC and Mahama government for jobs and other support.
Parliamentary debate on the 2007 currencies printed under the Kufuor administration, was been shelved and details of the contract still in mystery.
Meanwhile, some have described the printing of the Five Ghana currency, as a waste of resources, since it was merely a replacement for an existing one (the five Ghana cedi note with the Big Six).
It was also said to be of symbolic value; printed mainly for Ghana’s 60th Anniversary.