General News of Wed, 21 Mar 201860

'Free SHS can become another GYEEDA scandal' - Ayariga sues Akufo-Addo government

An opposition MP has dragged the Akufo-Addo administration to court over the allocation of more than seven billion cedis for development programmes.

The Bawku Central MP says there are no guidelines to ensure that the multi-billion cedi funds are not abused or misused.

The Akufo-Addo administration is supervising the rolling out of expensive existing and new social intervention programmes like free Senior High School, establishing 216 factories and an irrigation plan dubbed 'one village, one dam'.

But quoting Article 296 of the 1992 constitution, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP is asking the Supreme Court to direct government to set out bye-laws to ensure that the monies and contracts to be used are not given out to favour political patrons.

Article 296 states that “Where in this Constitution or in any other law discretionary power is vested in any person or authority -

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(a) that discretionary power shall be deemed to imply a duty to be fair and candid;

(b) the exercise of the discretionary power shall not be arbitrary, capricious or biased wither by resentment, prejudice or personal dislike and shall be in accordance with due process of law; and

(c) where the person or authority is not a judge or other judicial officer, there shall be published by constitutional instrument or statutory instrument, regulations that are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution or that other law to govern the exercise of the discretionary power”

He fears that the government's grand plan and good intentions will not be enough to avoid another GYEEDA scandal.

In the GYEEDA scandal more than 200m cedis was mismanaged in a government-run programme meant to provide youths with jobs and skills training.

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An investigation into the malfeasance found that a lack of a regulatory framework to govern the operations of GYEEDA allowed systemic abuse of public resources.

The National Coordinator of the program then NYEP has been jailed six years while a service provider Philip Assibit is also serving a 12year prison sentence.

Seeking an injunction, the MP who is a former Education minister wants the Supreme court to restrain the president or his appointees from any further implementation of the programmes until regulatory frameworks are established.

Speaking to Joy News' Emefa Apawu, he said the 7bn cedis allocated in the 2018 budget "is not Akufo-Addo's personal money".

He said the president and his appointees have too much discretion in disbursing monies and program implementation.

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If an unemployed graduate wants to be recruited into employment programmes run by the Nation Builders Corps, how can he be assured the hiring is fair and transparent, he cited as an example.

If a company wants to benefit from a 230m cedi stimulus package for industries and companies how can they access financial help trusting that the process of allocating the funds is equitable, he continued.

He was asked if there were any such guidelines regulating the Mahama administration's programme to build 200 Senior High Schools.

Mahama Ayariga who was once an Education minister replied that the question amounts to "mixing apples with oranges".

Below is the full writ

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