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Opinions Thu, 25 Jul 2019

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On bribery and corruption scandals: Why Mahama cannot claim sainthood

I felt numb momentarily upon listening to former President Mahama’s corruption sermon which was being directed towards the Akufo-Addo’s administration.

Former President Mahama is on record to have asserted somewhat bizarrely that President Akufo-Addo is only good at preaching the fight against the canker of corruption and does not have the will and commitment to investigate and prosecute his alleged corrupt appointees.

Well, what can I say? I am really struggling to find any euphemistic words that will depict my astonishment. I am indeed besotted. Wonders shall never end, our elders say.

In fact, anyone who has passing familiarity with the revoltingly ugly events which took place during the erstwhile NDC administration will be extremely surprised to hear that former President Mahama is evocatively accusing his successor of not doing enough to combat corruption.

Dearest reader, take my word for it, I am not seeking to ‘play God’ and pass judgment, but for the sake of balanced annotation and to set the records straight, I shall grub into the regrettable events which took place during former President Mahama’s coarse administration.

You may believe it or not, some observers nonetheless believe that former President Mahama has more alleged bribery and corruption scandals hanging around his neck than any other president in the history of Ghanaian politics.

The sceptics insist that the former president has serious questions to answer over the puzzling corruption scandals such as SADA, GYEEDA, SUBA, NCA, SSNIT, the infamous Bus Branding, the Brazil World Cup, the STX housing deal, the Brazilian aircrafts, the Ford Expedition Vehicle, the Armajaro saga, among others.

The critics have been wondering how and why the former president can secretly accept a gift of brand new Ford Expedition vehicle worth over $100,000 from a Burkinabe Contractor called Djibril Kanazoe?

That said, in recent times, Ex-President John Dramani Mahama has been daring President Akufo-Addo to arrest, investigate and prosecute him or any member of his administration if there is unobjectionable evidence to suggest that they amassed wealth illegally during their time in office (See: Catch the ‘supposed’ thieves to prove your charges – Mahama dares Akufo-Addo; ghanaweb.com, 30/04/2018).

So, it came as a surprise to some of us when we read that four courageous 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, somewhere last year, we woke up to the regrettable news of corruption scandal in the erstwhile Mahama administration, this time, alleged oil money of GH40.5 million surreptitious 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).

Dearest reader, take my word for it, somewhere last year, I thought I was dreaming when I chanced on the unfortunate 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 NDC hierarchy indeed misapplied the loan facility on the blind side of Ghanaians.

Why must the NDC loyalists expect Akufo-Addo’s government to use 30 months to fix the 96 months massive mess left by the erstwhile NDC government when the same people surreptitiously diverted $6 million of a government loan facility of $175 million meant to provide seven district hospitals into researching the then governing NDC’s chances of winning the 2016 general elections?

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?

The contractors, SCL Social, admitted: “The work consists of two discrete political and public health elements. The political element is testing the attitudes and perceptions of the population towards contemporary issues faced in Ghana and public confidence in the capacity and competence of the current administration to implement appropriate timely solutions. As well as the current level of satisfaction regarding the performance of the NDC at district, regional and national level is also tested and the research incorporates how this may translate into future electoral success.”

If we do the arithmetic of the $175 million loan facility which was supposed to provide seven district hospitals, each hospital should have cost us $25 million.

Nevertheless, credible sources have it that out of the seven district hospitals, only the one in Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region received the full funding and was thus completed successfully.

The overarching question then is: where is the rest of the $175 million loan facility?

The vineyard news has it that during his State of the Nation Address on 19th February 2009, the late President Mills informed the Parliament that his government was looking into the decision to acquire two executive Presidential jets.

However, the late President Mills had doubts over the acquisition of the aircrafts later on and thus observed: "Ghana simply cannot afford the expenditure at this time and we certainly do not need two Presidential Jets" (thestatesmanonline.com, 16/06/2016).

Astonishingly, whilst the late Mills was joyfully delivering his euphonious state of the nation address, the Vice President John Mahama, who also happened to be the chairman of the Armed Forces Council, was blissfully entertaining delegations from Brazil and busily negotiating the acquisition of five jets, including the most expensive hangar without the knowledge of the late President Mills.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the late President Mills became suspicious of the whole deal and decided to put a committee together to review the deal, according to Mr Martin Amidu, the Attorney General under the Mills/Mahama administration and the current Special Prosecutor.

Disappointingly, though, according to Martin Amidu, the late Mills could not put his foot down and woefully allowed the committee to somehow turn a blind eye to his directives (Source: martinamidu.com).

As a matter of fact, there are serious questions here that His Excellency Ex-President Mahama must answer. So, it is not surprising that some patriotic Ghanaians have deemed it fit to take him to the Special Prosecutor.

In fact, Ex-President Mahama and his teeming supporters can claim birth right to incorruptibility, but discerning Ghanaians can only take him seriously if he comes clean on the alleged corruption cases.

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

I have always held a firm conviction that a fantastically corrupt public servant is no less a human rights abuser than the weirdo Adolf Hitler.

This is because while the enigmatic Adolf Hitler went into a conniption-fit and barbarically exterminated innocent people with lethal chemicals and sophisticated weapons, a contemporary corrupt public servant is blissfully bent on suffocating innocent citizens through wanton bribery and corruption.

Consequently, the innocent citizens would often end up facing untold economic hardships, starvation, depression, emotional labour and squalor which send them to their early graves.

Somewhere last year, Ex-President Mahama was reported to have lamented inexorably: “Instead of focusing on the job to make Ghana a better place, every day they complain that an amount of money has gone missing. If money has been lost, conduct the investigation and arrest the perpetrators. Who has the power?”

But contrary to former President Mahama’s incessant denials of rampant corruption in his government, more recently, a competent court of jurisdiction convicted two of the numerous corruption suspects in the erstwhile NDC administration and sentenced them to six and twelve years respectively.

Apparently, some concerned Ghanaians maintain that the sins of the two convicts are meagre in comparison with the other scandalous corruption cases which took place in the erstwhile Mahama administration.

That notwithstanding, the unhappy former President Mahama lamented: “This trial by newspaper affects the credibility of the government. If you hear that several sums of money have gone missing yet no one has been arrested for prosecution, then you are destroying the confidence of people in the credibility of the government. So the trial by media must stop (ghanaweb.com).”

Perhaps someone ought to inform Ex-President Mahama that the current Attorney General is seriously working towards bringing the suspects to book. Take, for example, on 14th March 2018, the State filed a case of causing financial loss against the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD and the CEO of Zeera Group of Companies and Agricult Ghana Limited, who have been accused of embezzling over GH260 million under the watch of former President Mahama.

In addition, the alleged SSNIT $72 million corruption scandal is in the law court. And, the NCA corruption scandal is pending in the law court.

Besides, credible sources have confided in some of us that investigations are progressing steadily in a number of bribery and corruption cases which took place in the outgone Mahama’s administration.

There is also a possibility of the double salary NDC Members of Parliament having their day in the law courts.

We should, also, take solace in the fact that President Akufo-Addo has shown seriousness and commitment by establishing the Office of the Special Prosecutor with the responsibility of investigating, prosecuting and retrieving stolen monies from the corrupt public officials, including alleged corrupt appointees of Mahama’s administration.

How sweet would it be if the Special Prosecutor managed to roundup the conspiratorial plotters in the Woyome’s dubious judgement debt payment for instance?

And more so it would be a great news if the Special Prosecutor managed to claw-back all the embezzled monies in the scandalous corruption cases involving the infamous Bus Branding, the SSNIT, the Brazil World Cup, 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.

Isn’t it somewhat refreshing that the justice system is going to descend heavily not only on the goat, cassava and plantain thieves, but as well as the hard criminals who hide behind narrow political colorations?

k.badu2011@gmail.com

Columnist: K. Badu, UK

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