The 100 Scandals Of John Agyekum Kufuor

Sun, 8 Jan 2006 Source: Quaye, Rikard

Part 4: Scandals 61 ? 80

(61) In the ?mother of all scandals?, three days of armed fighting erupted between the Andani and Abudu Gates of Dagbon in the Northern Region. There was tight military/police security presence in the area, but they appeared to have been under orders not to intervene.

Whilst Joy FM correspondents in Yendi were carrying reports of the fighting live on their station, the Vice President, the Minister of Interior and the National Security Coordinator in Accra were all denying the fighting and assuring the nation that everything was calm in Yendi. At the height of the fighting, there were reports that foreign mercenaries had been involved, that telephone lines to Yendi had been cut, and that the Ya Na?s life was in imminent danger. If President Kufuor?s Government did anything about the situation, the citizenry did not see it. At the end of the fighting, the Ya Na Yakubu Andani II had been beheaded and his body parts paraded in the principal streets of Yendi, and 40 of his followers had been murdered in cold blood, one of the most heinous, if not the most heinous, crimes in post-Independence Ghana. For this, President Kufuor and his Government stand indicted.

(62) In a desperate, face-saving move, President Kufuor set up a so-called Commission of Enquiry to investigate the Yendi Massacre. A less credible Commission could not be imagined. It comprised a dyed-in-the-wool NPP fanatic and former Supreme Court Judge and one-time Chairman of the Volta Region Branch of the Progress Party (PP) in the Busia era, the forebears of today?s NPP, Justice I. K. Wuaku, Professor Kwesi Yankah, a Linguistics Professor at the University of Ghana, Legon, and a lady Assistant Director of Education. Their findings were as predictable as the fact of their rejection by both sides to the conflict. According to them, they found that what happened in Yendi was an act of war, found no-one culpable for the murder of the Ya Na and his followers, and the two persons who were found with the Ya Na?s body parts and recommended for prosecution were discharged without being called upon to open their defence.

(63) In middle of the Yendi crisis, whilst a fratricidal struggle was raging in Dagomba land and the Ya Na and 40 of his elders were being hacked and butchered to death, whilst the country teethered on the brink of civil war, President Kufuor could not be reached and it was later reported that the President was attending a wedding party of the son of the brother of Dr. Sam Jonah, Chief Executive of the then Ashanti Gold Fields Co. Ltd at Ghacem Guest House at the Airport Residential Area, Accra.

(64) Eight policemen recommended for prosecution by the Okudzeto Commission for their role in the May 9, 2001 Stadium Disaster in which 139 people were killed were all acquitted and discharged without being called upon to open their defence. To date, nobody has been held responsible for what qualifies as Ghana?s most bizarre and most tragic post-Independence ?mass murder?

(65) In a petition to the President, the NDC urged the removal of Justice K. E. Amuah-Sekyi as Chairman of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) citing among other misdeeds bias, conflict of interest and bad motive with concrete pieces of evidence. President Kufuor ignored the petition.

(66) President Kufuor?s Government decided that Government would take over the issuance of National Identification Cards, including Voter Identification Cards, instead of the Electoral Commission (EC), which had the statutory responsibility to do so. The EC resisted the move, and was backed by civil society and the minority political parties. In the embarrassment that followed, the NPP Government used its majority in Parliament to pass a law that restricted the EC to the issuance of the Voter Identity Cards only and vested in itself the issuance of National Identification Cards.

(67) In a stunning revelation, Mr. Kofi Wayo then a leading member of the NPP, stated in a Radio Gold interview that Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey once told him (Kofi Wayo) when he (Jake) was drunk that President Kufuor was an ?Ashanti Bastard?. The scandal that erupted was directly responsible for the shifting of Jake from his position as Minister for Presidential Affairs to his present Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City portfolio.

(68) Major Alloh, a fine officer of the Ghana Armed Forces, was beaten, slapped, handcuffed and detained at Police Headquarters for failing to stop for President Kufuor?s wife?s convoy at the HIPC Junction. So embarrassing and scandalous was the incident that the Major was issued military orders not to comment on the incident and was subsequently given a command position. (69) In a bid to build a personality cult, President Kufuor managed to have his picture and the picture of the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan used on a ?1,000 Ghana postage stamp. Public outcry caused the stamp to be withdrawn.

(70) Following strident public criticism of his decision to attend the anniversary of Togo?s President Eyadema?s coup d?etat which brought him to power as his first foreign trip on becoming President, President Kufuor on the next anniversary of Eyadema?s coup decided to send instead his brother the Defence Minister Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor and a contingent of the Ghana Armed Forces Band. The furore this generated and the scandal that erupted were worse than the visit itself.

(71) President Kufuor was the only lone ranger, as Head of State, among the group of foreign dignitaries, to personally travel to Freetown to witness the burning of piles of guns and other offensive weapons to mark the end of the civil war in Sierra Leone. Other invited African Heads of State either sent their Ministers or merely wired messages of goodwill and congratulations to the Sierra Leoneans.

(72) Eight fully armed, plainclothes intelligence operatives of the NPP, acting on the instructions of the National Security office, stormed the private residence of former Vice President Professor John Evans Atta-Mills while he was away in Canada as a Visiting Scholar at the University of British Columbia, menacingly threatened his wife, Mrs. Naadu Mills, dragged her to the BNI, made her write a statement, all in connection with alleged ?theft? of state vehicles by Prof. Mills. A public storm of protest was raised, following which then Presidential Spokesperson Kwabena Agyepong issued a half-hearted apology blaming agents of the NDC within the security services for enacting the incident to embarrass the NPP Government.

(73) President Kufuor?s Government was thrown into a state of confusion when the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 decision, ruled that the Fast Track High Courts then trying NDC leaders like Tsatsu Tsikata, Ibrahim Adam, Kwame Peprah and others were unconstitutional. President Kufuor, from far away Australia, ordered his Attorney General to seek a review of the case. He then appointed to the Supreme Court two Judges, one of whom was presiding over one of the unconstitutional Fast Track High Courts, and had the decision reversed 6-5 to declare the Fast Track High Courts constitutional. The scandal that erupted over this clear manipulation of the Judiciary reverberates to this day and has been the subject of adverse comment by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).

(74) Protesting students of the country?s Polytechnics were clobbered, clubbed and pummelled to pulp at the gates of the Castle for daring to take their demonstration to the seat of the NPP Government. 37 of them were arrested and charged before court for rioting. Another scandal erupted and the prosecution was discontinued.

(75) President Kufuor?s Government froze the ex-gratia payments of all 110 NDC DCEs and ordered forensic audits into their administration. Thereafter, on a regular basis, they were threatened with prosecution, especially by the then Deputy Minister of Local Government. Five years into office, the vast majority of the NDC DCEs have not been paid their ex-gratia awards, there have been no prosecutions, and the Deputy Minister involved has rather been reshuffled out of the Ministry.

(76) President Kufuor allegedly awarded a ?2 million contract to a British consortium of black architects led by one Elsie Owusu, a Ghanaian member of the British Society of Black Architects and allegedly a relative of the President, to ?re-brand? Ghana through the production of an architectural plan aimed at transforming Accra into a tourist attraction. Though originally denied by the Presidency, the issue was resurrected when the Ghana Institution of Architects confirmed it and came down heavily in criticism of the project.

(77) President Kufuor without Parliamentary approval and in clear breach of the Constitution imported 100 Peugeot cars from Nigeria allegedly for the police to combat smuggling on Ghana?s Western border. In the ensuing scandal, Finance Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo said Ghana obtained a Nigeria Government loan to purchase the cars. Minister of Information and Presidential Affairs Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey said the cars were purchased out of the 2002 Provisional Estimates. President Kufuor himself said no loan was taken to purchase the cars but that the cars were delivered upon the intervention of President Obasanjo with instalment payments to be discussed later. Confusion became ?basaa?

(78) It was revealed that the two US-based Ghanaian imports who President Kufuor has appointed Director-General and Deputy Director-General respectively of the SSNIT, Messrs Kwasi Osei and Ras Boateng, are paid US$12, 500.00 or ?90 million and US$8, 500.00 or ?64 million per month respectively. The cost of Mr. Ras Boateng?s relocation to Ghana, ?250 million, was also borne by SSNIT.

(79) In his address at a Workshop held for NPP Ministers at GIMPA on Friday, April 19, 2002, President Kufuor, in referring to the opposition, spoke of them as ?evil forces? bent on subverting his government.

(80) President Kufuor signed a secret deal with the IMF to increase VAT from 12.5% to 17.5% but agreed with them that it would be re-labelled to limit political opposition. Following media exposure of the scandalous deal, the VAT was increased to 15% and the extra 2.5% was re-labelled National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL).

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Columnist: Quaye, Rikard