General News of 2013-12-11

Corruption: Mahama will soon sell Flagstaff House - Group

Pressure group, Citizens Awake Forum, says it will not be surprised to hear that the Mahama Administration has sold the Flagstaff House due to the current trend of corruption in the country.

The group, which is threatening a hunger strike against the flurry of corruption allegations that have popped up in the Mahama Government, said in a statement copied to XYZ News that: “Ever since the dawn of this government, Ghanaians had lived in a great disappointment and despondency. The country is in a state of complete anarchy and that the center cannot hold. Things had fallen apart”.

It said: “Regrettably, leadership in governance has failed Ghanaians” and state resources are being eroded by public office holders who “rather use their positions more for private material gains than for national service”.

“Interestingly, some greedy vampires are using Mahama as a protective cover to collect monies ostensibly for the government but in reality, those monies end up in their pockets”, the group claimed.

The group’s frustrations come on the heels of recent concerns by former President John Rawlings that President John Mahama’s “easy-going” demeanour is helping corruption to fester in his government. A tall list of corruption allegations has been 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.

President Mahama’s Government is also yet to retrieve some €25 million from Waterville Holdings, a foreign firm, which received the amount 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.

The same Court also ruled that Spanish firm, Isofoton S.A., must refund to the Government of Ghana, US$325,472 it received 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.

Citizens Awake Forum wonders why the Government has not shown enough commitment to fighting the litany of corruption allegations.

It says if the Government can prosecute a person to serve 10 years in prison for stealing Ghc 800, then why is the same government failing to prosecute those accused of stealing millions of Ghana cedis and dollars from the state coffers.

A former Police Body Guard of Deputy Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Rachel Appoh, was recently sentenced for stealing that amount of money.