By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
October 9, 2016
He is a certified chartered accountant and business savvy, and so Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah began by asking the sort of intelligent questions that most of our politicians and government business executives ought to be asking, which regards the question of why, in spite of the establishment of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to reduce the high level of official corruption in the country, the movers and shakers of the nation’s central treasury, the Bank of Ghana, still found it perfectly expedient to submit a business proposal entailing the sole-source contracting with a Swiss watchmaker to supply the BoG with over 70 pieces of gold-plated wrist-watches intended to be given as gifts to some recent retirees of the nation’s biggest public banker and banking regulator. (Disclosure: My late mother worked on the lower rungs of the BoG, in the Issues Department, for some three years from 1969 to 1973).
But what is even more significant, the immediate-past Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee and former MP for Afigya-Sekyere West Constituency of the Asante Region, questioned why in spite of yeomanly efforts engineered by the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to drastically reduce official corruption, through the establishment of the PPA, the Ghanaian taxpayer was still being wantonly and inexcusably bled to death by public servants. Even as I indicated in a previous column published within the last 24 hours, Mr. Kan-Dapaah questioned why the PPA, like a slew of official watchdog establishments of its kind, had virtually degenerated, functionally, into a veritable rubberstamp.
What also intrigued me personally about his analysis, was Mr. Kan-Dapaah’s querying of the fact of whether it was absolutely necessary, at all, for the BoG’s executives to doggedly persist in making an unwholesome and temporally blind policy of importing gold-plated wrist-watches for retiring employees of the nation’s central bank. In other words, what caliber of financial managers could our BoG governors be in pursuing an expenditure policy that may well have outlived its usefulness? My own personal contribution to this still-raging national discourse is as follows: Why haven’t the BoG’s executives devised a more progressive policy for making out gifts to retiring employees half-and-half, that is, in the form of spending half of the $7,000 entailed in the provision of Swiss-made wrist-watches, and the other half of the monetary value of the gifts in the form of high-interest yielding investment portfolios for these retiring employees who spent most of their productive adult lives working diligently for the success and profitability of our central treasury?
What does such patently ossified and decidedly prosaic policy pursuit tell us about the way in which our reckless and profligate government officials, for the most part, care for our civil and public servants. Mr. Kan-Dapaah also gives the lie to the BoG’s vehement denial that the much-criticized intent of getting the sole-sourced Swiss watch manufacturer to supply the bank with some 70-plus pieces of gold-plated wrist-watches was only a proposal forwarded to the PPA for approval and may not, somehow, be necessarily approved. According to Mr. Kan-Dapaah, so weak-kneed have the PPA’s officials become in no time that it is virtually an absolute certainty that the BoG proposal will be approved without any highly placed official at the authority have read a single sentence of the proposal. This is how rankly corrupt the institution and, in fact, our entire civil and public service system has become. And there does not appear to be any end to such massive bleeding of our public coffers and the