By Kwesi E. Baako
The case of the mystery plane allegedly carrying 1.5 tons of gold and seized by Turkish officials at the Ataturk airpot in Istanbul is the latest to rock the boat of Ghana’s politics.
According to the Danquah Institute, a pro New Patriotic Party (NPP) establishment, the gold was meant to be payment for a shady deal between the government of Ghana and Iran. The NPP is Ghana’s biggest opposition.
Director of the Institute, Gabby Otchere Darko, in a statement said “We, at DI, are demanding full disclosure of this transaction from government for the benefit of the people of Ghana and in the interest off good governance.” He further alleged that the said ‘deal’ was carried out during the just ended election period and that President Mahama’s recent trip to Turkey might have something to do with it.
In a rebuttal, John Jinapor, Presidential spokesperson denied that any such transaction has ever transpired.
“First of all, Ghana doesn’t settle financial transactions with gold and so it cannot be the case.
“Secondly, government does not sell gold and so it is not true that there has been such an involvement. We’ve spoken to the governor of Bank of Ghana and Seth Terkper and they have all confirmed that the story is not true.”
Othcere Darko however claims the story was carried on Iranian and Turkish news channels and thus could not be swept under the carpet. “The story was reported by the Turkish official news agency and it was even carried by Mehr News Agency(MNA) and so this cannot be concocted.” He replied.
Investigations into the issue however reveals some startling discrepancies.
First of all, the story does not seem to have appeared on Iran’s Mehr News, as suggested by the DI Director. Secondly, the story, as it appears on the official Turkish channels does not suggest anything shady between the Ghana and the Iran governments.
Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı told journalists in Istanbul: ”A private plane came from Ghana. It should have declared the content of the load within 24 hours. But no documents have been submitted.”
Interestingly, the Hurriyet Daily News, which reported the story from Turkey also suggested the plane may have come in from Algeria.
Of particular interest is the fact that apart from Ghana being mentioned as the point of departure of the said plane (a private one), no mention was made of Ghana being in any form of transaction with Iran. Rather, the report suggested that Turkey had a barter arrangement of sorts with Iran.
Iran has been allegedly carrying on barter trade with countries in exchange for gold to alleviate the effect of US sanctions and Turkey is one of its prime trade partners.