'Sickening' $4m, $1.2m graft 'tip of iceberg' - Akomea

Nana Akomea Speaks Nf Managing Director of the State Transport Company (STC), Nana Akomea

Fri, 26 May 2017 Source: classfmonline.com

Managing Director of the State Transport Company (STC), Nana Akomea, has described the “emerging narratives on corruption” as “truly sickening”.

He said “appointees taking over $1million kickback on just one building project; appointees diverting over $4million of taxpayers monies into some account and proceeding to share the monies among themselves etc., are truly mind-boggling”.

Mr Akomea revealed that information available to him suggests that the recent cases of corruption that have come to the limelight “are just the tip of the iceberg”.

Three appointees of former President John Mahama are being investigated by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) for allegedly dipping their hands into the coffers of the National Communications Authority (NCA) for $4million which they have failed to account for.

The three appointees, according to Information Minister Mustapha Hamid, conspired with a private citizen to commit the act.

The former Mahama appointees being investigated, as named by Mr Hamid in an interview with Joy FM’s Kojo Yankson on Wednesday, 24 May, include Mr Eugene Baffoe-Bonney, former Board Chairman of the NCA; Mr William Tevie, former Chief Executive Officer of the NCA, and Alhaji Osman, former Deputy National Security Coordinator.

Their conspirator is George Oppong. Mr Hamid said they engaged in the graft in connection with a contract between the Mahama administration and an Israeli company, NSO Group Technology Limited, in which the latter was to supply eavesdropping gadgets worth $6 million. The equipment were meant to help the government of Ghana monitor the calls of suspected terrorists.

In the course of the transaction, Mr Hamid said a local agent – Infraloks Development Limited – charged $2million as facilitation fee, bringing the total amount to $8million.

According to Mr Hamid, National Security, which did not have the funds for the equipment, allowed the NCA, which supervises the use of such equipment to fund the project.

The NCA top officials, he revealed, withdrew $4 million from the NCA’s kitty but gave only $1million to the Israeli firm.

The surplus, according to Mr Hamid, was deposited into the personal accounts of Mr George Oppong, who fronted as an agent of Infraloks Development Ltd. He said Alhaji Osman orchestrated the entire deal.

According to Mr Hamid, demands by the Israeli firm to be paid the $5 million balance after the Mahama administration lost power in the December 2016 elections prompted the new Akufo-Addo government to probe the transaction after which the graft was detected.

Mr Hamid said: “They took $4 million from NCA accounts and paid $1 million to the Israeli company and then deposited $3 million in the accounts of the local agent, one Mr George Oppong, and proceeded to share the $3million among themselves.”

Mr Hamid gave the breakdown of the share of the $3 million as follows: “Mr. Eugene Baffoe-Bonney took $200,000; George Oppong took $100,000; William Tevie got $150,000, Alhaji Osman received $70,000” while one other person got $500,000.

He said apart from Alhaji Osman, the others have admitted to the crime and have been given bail after the BNI interrogated them. Alhaji Osman is, however, at large, according to the Minister.

Mr Hamid revealed that Mr Oppong has refunded $1 million while Mr Baffoe-Bonney promised to refund $40,000 as of last week. He said the others have also promised to refund every cent. “BNI hasn’t even decided at this stage because they believe that the money must be returned. … If they succeed in retrieving the money then they will decide their next action,” Mr Hamid said.

According to him, the transaction was a clear case of top officials colluding to plunder the state coffers.

“The reason why this is a classic case of 'create, loot and share' is that…it was basically Alhaji Osman, acting as Deputy National Security Coordinator, who spearheaded this deal. …People cannot just go and open a state vault and take whatever that is in there,” Mr Hamid lamented.

Also, it was revealed recently that the former CEO of the Ghana Standards Board, Dr George Crentsil, took a bribe worth $1.2million from Lemet Construction Company, the firm that was awarded a contract to build a new training school and hostel facility for the institution under the Mahama administration.

Speaking on this matter in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Tuesday May 23, PRO of GSA, Mr Kofi Amponsah Bediako said the revelation had opened a can of worms on other alleged dubious deals that were undertaken by Dr Crentsil.

Mr Amponsah Bediako said Dr Crentsil “and his family dipped their hands into the coffers of the Ghana Standards Authority and made away with those monies.”

“Some of us long suspected that some dubious deals were being undertaken but we did not have any concrete evidence or basis to confirm our suspicions, so we all kept quiet.”

Commenting on these issues, Mr Akomea stated on Friday, May 26 that: “What we really need is a determined political leadership backed by a critical mass of good men and women to stem this sickening corruption and turn the fortunes of this country around”.

He said the President needs the support of all Ghanaians to deal with the issue of corruption in state institutions.

“In the meantime, Ghanaians expect nothing less than applying the full weight of the law in dealing with this sickening corruption. President Akufo Addo so far is communicating the commitment and showing the signs to do just that for the Ghanaian people,” he added.

Source: classfmonline.com