Opinion: NPP’s monstrous corruption choking Ghana

File photo: President Akufo-Addo at the ECOWAS Commission

The high level of corruption among President Akufo-Addo’s nepotistic New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has caused so much trouble to Ghana’s economy.

It is more worrying as it is happening under the self-acclaimed incorruptible Akufo-Addo who promised all Ghanaians that he will protect the public purse. Ghanaians must be wondering if that pledge was consciously made or just a political mantra coined to fool the people.

Since the beginning of the four-year term of Akufo-Addo in 2017, there has never been a year without any corruption scandal but which would never be investigated and prosecuted. The farthest the government could go under public pressure was a shambolic pretentious claim of investigation which from the onset was meant to exonerate the culprits irrespective of their culpability.

The NPP clearly came to power to amass wealth by every means possible within their might. Less than a month after they assumed power, five million liters of fuel was contaminated allegedly at the premises of the state-owned Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST) by the mixture of diesel and petrol and sold to unlicensed companies namely, Movenpina and Zup Oil under dubious circumstances.

The BNI which was tasked to investigate the Managing Director of BOST, Alfred Obeng Boateng ended up exonerating him. Curiously Mr. Alfred Obeng was forced to resign from BOST.

Few months after the BOSTGATE the Fisheries Minister, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye was caught in a conflict of interest situation involving the diversion of huge quantities of premix fuel. She appointed her brother, Joseph Botchwey, as the administrator of the National Premix Committee. Several petitions to the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police and the government to establish the role of the Minister in the whole syndicate were thrown into the dustbin.

There was uproar at the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company Ltd when its Chief Executive Officer, Madam Frances Essiam was alleged to have been awarding fictitious contracts worth millions of Cedis without recourse to the company’s board. In the heat of issues, the board sought to prevent her from dissipating some GHC5million stimulus package from the government for the company. In the show of power, the President rather dissolved the governing board to allow Madam Essiam’s freedom to operate. The substance of the allegations was brushed aside.

Then came Ghana’s Olympic shame when government officials were caught in disgraceful misrepresentation of Ghana at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Australia. Two key government officials indicted in the scandal, then Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide, and Board Chairman of the National Sports Authority, Kwadwo Baah Agyeman was mysteriously cleared of any wrongdoing when every finger pointed to them as the culprits. Till now the government was not able to identify any culprit to punish even though the crime was believed to have been committed.

The almighty case of corruption at the highest place in Ghana was revealed when the earthshaking No.12 investigative documentary was released. The President of the country was alleged by his close friend, Kwesi Nyantakyi to be a bribe-taker, who takes $5million dollars for contracts while his Vice, Mahamadu Bawumia pockets $2million. Ministers and officials of the Roads and Highways Ministry were mentioned as lower conduits for the siphoning of state funds through dubious means.

The President was again in the thick of events when the infamous cash for seats saga where unsuspecting expatriates were made to pay various sums of monies to qualify to sit at a table to have business dinner with the President.

When allegations of extortion emerged with payments being allegedly made to one Mr. Ayamga at room 38 of the Ministry of Trade, Hon. Carlos Ahenkorah, then Deputy Minister (Trade) confirmed in a radio interview that indeed the payments were made and that the share of the Jubilee House was transferred to them. The issue died after bastardization of the allegations and a shoddy committee inquest.

At the Presidency again several allegations of extortion came up but swept under the carpet. Popular musician, A-Plus alleged that the Deputy Chiefs of Staff were charging gates fees of $20,000.00 before investors are allowed to meet the President. Gabby Otchere Darko, “The De Facto Prime Minister of Ghana” was also alleged to be part of that arrangement. The CID under Tiwaa Addo Danquah massaged the investigation into the alleged corrupt act and messed up any chance of uncovering the rot when A-Plus petitioned the police.

After many other corruption scandals passed with stubborn cover-ups, the mother of all scandals under Akufo-Addo landed in Ghana – Power Distribution Services (PDS) came from nowhere like a ghost; was whisked through Parliament and took signature from the executive to capture the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to manage power distribution in the southern sector of the country.

Questions began to be raised after the national asset landed in the grips of this family and friends syndicate in a controversial concessionaire agreement. The former Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko could not survive the heat and was compelled to move out.

Then Peter Amewu, who appears to be manageable was brought in. After whatever calculations were done, the nation was told there was fraud detected in the PDS concessionaire agreement.

The deal was eventually canceled resulting in Ghana losing close to $190 million grant from MiDA for our energy sector development. Later details emerged from a group named Thriller in Manila which revealed the owners of PDS. It involves the Akyem Mafia; Gabby Otchere Darko, Ken Ofori Atta, and one Anokye, who was supposed to hold majority shares but was being forced to take less. His refusal for renegotiated shareholding led to a misunderstanding that blew the cover over the rotten deal.

With PDS exposed, the Akufo-Addo government lawbreakers went into another scam this time to stash our future gold royalties in their offshore accounts in the name of AGYAPA MINERAL ROYALTIES.

The vigilance of the Minority in Parliament and the strong resistance of Ghanaians compelled the government to back down albeit after a brave fight. Even though Agyapa is not completely dead, the public appears to have won the fight this time since the government has no interest in fighting the corruption there-in on its behalf.

In a face-saving attempt, the NPP government claimed it had submitted the deal to the Special Prosecutor (SP) for corruption risk assessment which should have been done before Parliament scrutinized it.

It is also interesting how a government that touts itself as a corruption fighter turned out to be fighting state institutions that fight corruption. The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) which it claims as an achievement had been made a white elephant since its setup. The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has found himself a hobby of reviewing and critiquing books instead of prosecuting alleged corrupt officials.

Many scandals under the Akufo-Addo administration have been referred to the SP but none has seen action on it. Indeed, the Metro Mass Transport (MMT) scandal was snatched from his claws in order for the President to clear the alleged corrupt officials as usual through the MMT board. The Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company saga, the BOST scandal, the National Youth Authority (NYA) matter, and others have all been brought to his office without any response. It is clear years after it’s set up that the OSP is not meant to work.

Similarly, the Auditor-General who received a lot of applause from the public about his work in fighting corruption found himself under heavy harassment from the very authority that should facilitate his crusade against corruption.

Because of his stance against the dubious payment of $1million to Kroll and Associates which the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, is allegedly culpable, he was chased out of the office with two malicious letters from the Presidency.

Since his forced leave, sinister moves are taking place at the Audit Service including unwarranted and illegal promotions of suspicious characters within the service. The Audit Service Board is further harassing him with the illegal engagement of an audit firm to audit his foreign travels contrary to law.

As we go into the upcoming crucial elections, the NPP and Akufo-Addo are desperate to salvage the last reputation they have left if there is any at all. But the damage they have done to the country and its citizens must not be lost on Ghanaians. They must be punished for their crimes for the country to develop.

The Writer: Yaw Mensah Ampong

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