Opinions Fri, 7 Jun 2019

On Akufo-Addo’s alleged GHC80 billion debt: Uncle Oliver is pocketing over GHC16598.49

It is quite bizarre for the brassbound NDC supporters to put the blame on the incumbent NPP government for Ghana’s current debt stock, and ignore the outgone Mahama government’s dreadful errors in decision-making which invariably destabilised Ghana’s macroeconomic indicators amid puzzling heightened debt stock.

Although the critics may have a valid point on excessive borrowings, some of us, as a matter of principle, would rather prefer that such borrowings are put at the disposal of the needs of the poor and disadvantaged Ghanaians through pragmatic schemes like the Free SHS than a few conspiratorial plotters shamelessly squandering our resources through ‘create, loot and share’.

This is not a desperate attempt to justify any reckless borrowings, far from it. But let us please be honest, if a few individuals could conspire and unabashedly embezzle billions of cedis at the detriment of the poor Ghanaians, then the so-called GHC80 billion loan which is being put into good use to benefit all Ghanaians makes a lot of sense in my humble opinion.

More so it is somewhat specious, and to some large extent oxymoronic, for the sceptics to assert inexorably that the thriving economy under the NPP government is not reflecting in the pockets of Ghanaians.

Take my word for it, dearest reader, I am not suggesting for a moment that every single Ghanaian life has been transformed tremendously under the Akufo-Addo’s administration, far from it.

The fact however remains that since assuming power on 7th January 2017, the Akufo-Addo’s government has rolled out numerous social intervention programmes and policies with the view to transforming the lives of ordinary Ghanaians.

In hindsight, the vast majority of Ghanaians are benefiting immensely from the implementation of many social intervention programmes and policies such as the Free SHS, One Dam per Village, One District One Factory, One Million Dollar per Constituency, NABCO, the restoration of the Nurses and Teachers Allowances, amongst others.

There is no denying the fact that parents are reaping tremendous benefits from the Free SHS policy.

The credible sources have it that the government will spend a staggering amount of GH5532.83 over a period of three years on each student.

This means that Ghanaian parents, including my maternal uncle, Oliver, who have three children in SHS, will be pocketing not less than GHC16598.49 over three years.

Some of us, so to speak, do not want to brush aside the suggestions that we should reserve our criticisms until the tasks at hand have been completed and we can then measure the ‘input against the output’.

We would, however, like to know whether the critics will be content and take back their criticisms, if President Akufo-Addo managed to reverse all the economic mess created by President Mahama’s government?

Let us face it though, there is absolutely nothing wrong to borrow money and invest wisely. However, there is everything wrong with reckless borrowing.

Thus, we can confidently conclude that the opposition NDC operatives are not entirely correct for arguing vehemently that since the then opposition NPP operatives persistently spoke against the outgone NDC government’s endless borrowings, the incumbent NPP government has no right borrowing money to fund projects such as the advantageous Free SHS.

In as much as some of us respect the opposition NDC operatives opinion on borrowing, their bone of contention is somewhat sophistic, given that the critics of the erstwhile NDC government concerns were premised on reckless borrowings.

There is no gainsaying the fact that since the inception of the Fourth Republican Constitution (from 1993 to present), Ghana has regrettably lost billions of dollars meant for developmental projects through unbridled sleazes and corruption.

Indeed, it is irresponsible for public officials to secure loans in the name of Ghana, and would end up stashing, misappropriating and embezzling the funds to the detriment of the poor and disadvantaged Ghanaians.

Given the circumstances, some of us are in agreement with the NDC faithful: it is indeed disgusting for public officials to embezzle funds in the name of SADA, GYEEDA, SUBA, SSNIT, amongst others.

Frankly stating, it was never right when monies meant to provide textbooks for school children were abhorrently diverted into the branding of buses.

Apparently, some of us do not suffer from chronic memory loss and therefore can recall vividly how some NDC officials embezzled over GH200 million SADA funds.

We were shockingly told that large portions of the SADA funds were invested on trees which were burnt down, and the guinea fowls flew to the nearby Burkina Faso without a trace. How bizarre?

We can also recollect, albeit with extreme sadness, the faded STX Housing loan which was supposed to provide affordable housing units to the security agencies, and yet the then Vice President Mahama is alleged to have given us a bill in excess of $300 million. How strange?

If you may remember, a few years ago, Mr Amidu came out and audaciously informed the whole nation that the late President Mills set up a Committee to investigate his then Vice President(Mahama) on what he(Mills) perceived as an irrevocable dishonesty on the part of his vice president over the Brazilian aircrafts deal.

It would be recalled that Mr Amidu came out and told the whole nation that in July 2011, there was a hue and cry about the prices for the acquisition of five (5) aircrafts for the Ghana Armed Forces negotiated by Ex-President Mahama.

Mr Amidu stressed that even though on 26th July 2011 the late Mills attempted to defend the purchase of the five aircrafts, he became convinced of the necessity to set up a Committee to investigate those purchases supervised by former President Mahama.

Not long ago, we woke up to be greeted by yet another news of corruption scandal in the erstwhile NDC administration of alleged oil money of GH40.5 million secret transfers to the presidency, via the then Chief of Staff (See: ‘Group explains why Amidu must probe Mahama, Debrah in GH¢40.5m BOST payment’; myjoyonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 19/09/2018).

More recently, we read that four valiant Ghanaians had petitioned the Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu to probe into the alleged E.O. Group’s $13 million corporate social responsibility fund towards the development of the Western Region which the petitioners claimed to have been diverted by Ex-President Mahama (See: ‘Mahama diverted $13m E.O. Group money; probe him – Four citizens petition Amidu’-todaygh.com/ghanaweb.com, 18/06/2018).

What is more, not long ago, I thought I was dreaming upon skimming through the chilling news about the misappropriation of $175 million loan facility secured in 2012, which was meant to provide seven district hospitals, but I was not. I was wide awake. The outgone NDC government indeed misapplied the loan facility on the blind side of Ghanaians.

Astonishingly, the Joy News’s fact-finding mission uncovered the damning scandal which took place in the outgone Mahama-led NDC administration.

The Joy News’s diligent investigation revealed that the erstwhile NDC government surreptitiously diverted $6 million of a government loan facility of $175 million into researching the then governing NDC party’s chances of winning the 2016 general elections. How pathetic?

The clandestine research was alleged to have carried out by the United Kingdom based SCL Social, the mother company of Cambridge Analytica. According to the report, although SCL Social was given $6 million to carry out a nationwide survey to provide appropriate data for the proper planning of the healthcare needs of Ghana, the NDC government led by Ex-President Mahama deemed it fit to divert the loan facility for their internal research at the expense of the sick and infirm Ghanaians. How insensitive?

How can we advance as a nation when some conspiratorial plotters keep hiding behind party coloration, devoid of patriotism and squeamishly squandering our scarce resources to the detriment of the poor and disadvantage Ghanaians?

In fact, we are hesitating to belabour the point about how Ghana’s economy sunk deeply into the mire under President Mahama’s leadership, but for the sake of balanced annotation, we will proceed anyhow.

There is no denying or hiding the fact that Ghana has undergone throes of economic collapse due to the erstwhile Mahama government’s economic mismanagement and the numerous bribery and corruption cases.

If you may remember, it was Ex-President Mahama who astonishingly claimed that they, (the NDC government) had rapaciously consumed all the meat on the bone. How bizarre?

Ex-President Mahama, to be fair, was alluding to Ghana’s unprecedented economic collapse as a result of unpardonable mismanagement and rampant corruption under his watch.

And, considering the fact that the erstwhile NDC government left a huge debt amid massive economic meltdown, one would have expected the same people who wilfully caused such a mess to show a little remorse and refrain from accusing the NPP government of borrowing excessively to pay up the massive debt, but that hasn’t been the case.

The NDC operatives are all over the place shrieking, grumbling, and censuring the NPP government for doing everything possible to fix the mess.

Let us however be honest, if the erstwhile NDC government had not mismanaged the funds for various developmental projects, the NPP government would have enough funds at its disposal to undertake a lot of developmental projects.

It is absolutely true that the huge funds involved in the bribery and corruption scandals in the SSNIT, SUBA, SADA, GYEEDA, Woyome, the Brazil world cup, the infamous bus branding,NSS, amongst others would have funded a lot of infrastructural projects.

Indeed, there is an unobjectionable evidence of gargantuan bribery and corruption cases, including monies that were given to individuals who did not render any services towards the national development.

Apparently, the rot in the erstwhile NDC government was so pervasive that even the diehard supporters threatened to boycott the 2016 general elections.

I recall my long-term friend who had seen enough of the mess in his beloved NDC government decided to walk out of the NDC.

My pal argued that he had been defending and promoting the party’s much touted ethos of probity, transparency and accountability for well over twenty three years, but lost the zeal to continue, as the sleazes and corruption in President Mahama’s government reached immeasurable proportions.

My friend however maintained that the straw that broke the camel’s back was when President Mahama unfairly wasted Ghana’s scarce resources on Madam Akua Donkor of Ghana Freedom Party (GFP).

Regrettably, the benevolent Mahama spent a large portion of Ghana’s scarce resources and bought two four wheel drive cars and a luxury bungalow (estimated to cost a staggering $470,000)for no work done.

My mate’s beef stemmed from the fact that he had worked his socks off all those years for the Party to enjoy power, meanwhile he had nothing to show for his efforts.

My pal was thus incensed that parasitic creatures like Madam Akua Donkor were needlessly being showered with all sorts of melodic gifts.

Unsurprisingly, however, my friend demitted his role in the NDC prior to the 2016 election and confided in me that he was not even going to travel to his polling station on the voting day.

In fact, he did not see the urgent need to vote for NDC and President Mahama. My pal was indeed distraught about Mahama’s handling of the economy and his maladaptive laissez faire leadership.

Indeed, a large portion of Ghana’s resources went down the drain due to unpardonable mismanagement and the wanton corruption perpetrated by the officials of the erstwhile NDC administration.

The erstwhile NDC government even managed to allocate judgement debt amount in the national budget (around GH600 million).

Somewhere in 2010, it was reported that the late Mills warned some officials in his government not to effect payment to Woyome. Yet the conspiratorial plotters defied the good old Mills orders and doled out a staggering amount to Wayome, who had no contract with the government of Ghana.

Subsequently, in July 2014, the Supreme Court of Ghana ordered Businessman, Mr Alfred Woyome, to pay back to the state a Gh 51.2million dubious judgment debt paid him between 2009 and 2010.

The Supreme Court’s ruling was as a result of a review of the court's earlier decision sought by former Attorney General, and the current Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, who maintained that Woyome, like international firms, Waterville and Isofoton, had no valid contract to be paid any amount by the state in judgment debt.

The Supreme Court also ruled that Isofoton S.A. and Waterville Holdings BVI, must also refund the dubious judgement debt payments made to them by the erstwhile NDC government.

The highest Court of the land ruled that Waterville Holdings BVI, was allegedly involved in the construction of some stadia in Ghana, ahead of the hosting of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, but was wrongfully paid €25 million and must therefore refund the money. While the Court ordered Isofoton S.A. US$325,472 it received as judgment debt from the Government of Ghana.

Unfortunately, however, none of those monies were retrieved by the erstwhile NDC government, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling.

We cannot also leave out the scandalous corruption cases involving GYEEDA, AZONTABA, SADA, SUBAH, the purported $300million debt incurred on the faded STS housing deal, the dubious Embraer 190 Aircrafts and hanger for the Ghana Armed Forces and over a US$100 million oil revenue loss between 2011 and 2013 as reported by the Public Interest& Accountability Committee headed by Major Daniel Ablorh – Quarcoon (rtd.).

The Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF)however estimates that monies lost to corrupt and dubious transactions under the presidency of John Dramani Mahama amounted to GHC5billion.

Truly, we need a true leadership with vision and ideas, altruistic leadership devoid of corruption, greed, Incompetence and capable of transforming us into an industrialized and robust economy.

K. Badu, UK.

Columnist: Kwaku Badu