Corruption: John Mahama and NDC are different sides of the same coin

Mahama S90campaign John Mahama, former president of Ghana

Thu, 7 Nov 2019 Source: Stephen Atta Owusu

In Ghana corruption has impacted on the lives of many Ghanaians in many ways. Court clerks would receive a bribe from you before your case is prioritized and pushed to the judge. The judge will also receive a bribe from you and either rule that you are innocent even though you are not, or at worst prolong the case for years until the complainant gets tired. Corruption has seeped into every element of society. Corruption is having a deep and negative impact on Ghana. It is not only wrong but it drags the country in a thick mud of poverty and retrogression.

This article will not have enough space to discuss all the corruption that occurred in Ghana. I will, however, pick the most serious ones and discuss them.

One of the most serious corruption cases occurred during Mahama's regime. Software procurement scandal occurred at Ghana's Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT). This corruption scandal was in connection with the procurement of ICT infrastructure for SSNIT at a whooping and unbelievable cost of 72 million dollars!! This amount far exceeded what was estimated for the project. The Attorney General immediately demanded the docket for scrutiny and advice.

The former acting Chief executive officer, Mr K.K Amoah, confirmed to journalists that the docket had been forwarded to the Attorney General. When the Economic and Organized Crime Office got to know that SSNIT had injected such a monstrous and gargantuan amount for procurement of software system, they also began an investigation into the crime. The main reason for the procurement of the software system, known as Operational Business Suit (OBS), was to take SSNIT towards a complete digitalization of its operations. Did heads fall? Your guess is as good as mine.

John Kufuor came to power in 2001 and by 2003 and, for the first time in Ghana's history, he introduced what came to be known as National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). The aim of the scheme is to allow Ghanaians with health insurance card to access free or subsidized medicines and health care. The onus of responsibility rests on the government to provide financial coverage for the health care services. The NDC party, which was then in opposition, was very sceptic about the NHIS policy. They concluded in unison that it would not work. The birth of the NHIS saw a gradual demise of the health insurance policy under NDC government due to corruption, negligence and over-invoicing. It is the policy of every government in Ghana to support the scheme, put taxes on certain products like petroleum products, so that the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) will be able to pay the pharmaceutical companies and hospitals.

By 2010 the taxes and monies that were collected to pay the NHIA debts were either embezzled or diverted to be used for the purpose that suited the NDC. Debts kept on piling and the health insurance policy weakened. Cash and carry system became imminent because the pharmaceutical companies refused to supply medicines to the various government hospitals and clinics. Even pharmacies and drug stores did not accept the NHIS cards presented by patients. This was how the NDC government demeaned the policy due to massive corruption.

As part of the NDC government's desire to spearhead development in the Northern region of Ghana, a body known as Savannah Accelerated Development Agency was created according to SADA law, (Act 805, 2010) SADA was inaugurated to alleviate poverty in the North when the law was passed. SADA had a multi-purpose role to alleviate poverty in the north. These include fixing the poor roads in the North, unemployment, environmental degradation, illiteracy and many more. Why could such beautiful projects and ideas not be fulfilled or implemented? Where did all the millions of dollars go, John Mahama?

Corruption under John Mahama's rule was very high when you compare it to Nana Addo's three years in office which is relatively low as compared to many countries in Africa. Investors are often reluctant to invest in a country where corruption is very high. During the NDC rule, corruption was rampant when projects are locally funded contracts. Bribes are often demanded from companies which apply for national contracts. Corruption is a major obstacle to development because the chunk that is given as bribes affect the amount that will be used for the project. Due to corruption, construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructures are done haphazardly. Ordinary Ghanaians are the ones who suffer through corruption. When corruption persists, it is the average Ghanaian that suffers.

The list of corruption is endless. We recall how Elvis Afriyie Ankrah's corrupt misconduct caused his dismissal as a Minister and he was still rewarded with a position at the presidency. Until corruption stops Ghana will never see progress and prosperity.

Author: Dark Faces at Crossrads

Email: stephen.owusu@email.com

Columnist: Stephen Atta Owusu