General News of 2013-12-10

Rawlings: Mahama’s easy-going nature festering corruption

Former President Jerry John Rawlings says President John Mahama’s “easy-going” demeanour is helping corruption to fester in his government.

“…With his nature, he’s not autocratic, he’s an easy going person - I’m not saying it is healthy being so easy going - everybody was just taking advantage and everybody is doing whatever they want wherever”, Rawlings told XYZ News Monday.

According to him, “there’s also a lot of talk about corruption having gotten out of hand now under the fourth John, it’s true, maybe not in the huge volumes that were happening in Kufuor’s time”.

Rawlings’ criticism comes on the heels of a litany of corruption allegations unearthed in the first year of the Mahama administration.

They include a Ghc45 million Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) corruption scandal over which state funds channeled into afforestation and poultry projects in northern Ghana toward reducing poverty, have not been accounted for.

There was also the Ghc200 million Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) scandal through which millions of state funds were allegedly diverted into private pockets.

Recently, a presidential taskforce discovered that about 288 private and state agencies evaded taxes totaling US$367 million with the collusion of officials at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

Still with the GRA, it emerged that the tax collecting agency allegedly paid Ghc144 million to private IT firm Subah Info Solutions for telecommunication monitoring services, even though the job was, allegedly, not fully done.

His Government is also yet to retrieve some €25 million from Waterville Holdings, a foreign firm, which received the amount from the Government of Ghana as judgment debt with regard to the construction of some stadia in the West African country, ahead of its hosting of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.

Ghana’s Supreme Court ruled a few months ago that the money was paid illegally and must be refunded to the state.

The same Court also ruled that Spanish firm, Isofoton S.A., must refund to the Government of Ghana, US$325,472 it received from Ghana as judgment debt because it was illegally paid.

The latest on the list involves the offloading of 90% shares of Merchant Bank Ghana to private Equity firm, Fortiz for Ghc90 million at the expense of an earlier bid by South African Bank FirstRand which offered Ghc199 million for 75% shares of the same bank.