General News of Sun, 10 Dec 201717

Nana Addo wrong to endorse ‘suspicious’ Jospong – Casely Hayford

President Nana Akufo-Addo’s praise of the founder of the Jospong Group of Companies, Joseph Siaw Agyepong in November, was completely wrong, according to anti-corruption campaigner, Sydney Casely Hayford.

The issue was brought under the spotlight on The Big Issue after the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo’s assertion during the week that the President must not be seen to be condoning acts of corruption, of which Jospong has been accused of.

Mindful of the fact Jospong has not been indicted for any acts of corruption, Mr. Casely-Hayford said the mere fact a shadow hangs over the operations of Jospong should have compelled the President to keep his distance from the company.

“…So when my President gets up and goes to a facility of someone who is suspected of not having done business in a proper manner and you go and stand in his facility, the fact that you are there gives it an endorsement. You are endorsing the man’s operations. That for me is a complete no no. You don’t do things like that.”

According to him, Ghana is “too fond of trying to cover up and trying to give the coverups that we do [different names] and the stark reality is that people are involved in stealing monies and we like to give it different labels in order to make it look like something more than that. We call it corruption instead of calling it stealing, which is what it is.”

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Zoomlion and GYEEDA scandal

Some of Jospong’s dealings with the government have been subject to suspicion following the revelation of scandals involving companies under its umbrella.

Of personal concern to Mr. Casely-Hayford is the handling of the malfeasance at the erstwhile Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA).

Some companies, including Jospong’s Zoomlion Ghana, were engaged to render services to the country under the social intervention programme which has undergone a number of transformations over the years, and is now called the Youth Employment Agency (YEA).

The YEA recently directed Zoomlion to furnish it with a database of some 45,000 beneficiaries under the agency’s sanitation module amid concerns over ghost names.

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Following reports of mismanagement of state funds, the government in 2012 tasked a committee to investigate the activities of GYEEDA.

Though Jospong maintains its innocence in the matter, the investigative Committee’s report stated that Zoomlion acquired as much GHc500 from government to be given to each worker under the programme but only paid them GHc100, keeping the rest for itself.

Zoomlion lobbied the Minister of Local Government to increase their rates from GHc350 to GHc500, but GHc400 of the money stayed with Zoomlion as management fees.

The Committee’s analysis of a schedule provided by Zoomlion to support the management fees highlighted serious value for money issues.

No action on petition to CHRAJ

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In November 2013, Mr. Casely Hayford petioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) after in the investigations into GYEEDA were completed because he felt the committee had not done a thorough job.

But five years on, and numerous reminders later, he said he is yet to get a response from CHRAJ.

“My petition to CHRAJ was based on the conclusion of the committee’s report which said it didn’t have enough time to complete the investigations and they were not able to into the regions and the districts,” he recalled.

“I petitioned CHRAJ and said go and carry on the investigation and run it to its formal conclusion… every month I send them a letter reminding them that they have not responded to my petition complete the investigation on the GYEDA thing and they never say anything and they never reply.”

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