Opinions Mon, 27 Jul 2020

Thou art Chief Defender of corrupt causes

Since he burst onto the political stage in the late seventies in the company of his late uncle, the late saintly William Ofori-Atta(Ogyeabuor Paa Willie), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo our President, up to the time when he was elected President of our nation, had cut an image of perhaps the only incorruptible politician in the whole of the country.

Hear him; “It is my belief that the fight against corruption must start with an incorruptible President. I can assure you, in all humility, that I am not, have never been and will never be corrupt. I can also assure you that as your President, I will NOT condone corruption in my Government. I bring to the table and to the office of President of this great country an unblemished track record of personal integrity and fortitude. I invite you to bank on my essential leadership attributes and make me your President. I will lead a strong fight against corruption in this country".

Speech delivered by Mr. Akufo-Addo on 3rd October, 2012, at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology(KNUST),Kumasi, Ghana. Source:mobile.ghanaweb.com- generalnews-wed.3oct2012-Speech By Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-Why Ghana Cannot Afford Corruption.

Canvassing the electorate on the subject of corruption and his own self-acclaimed incorruptibility served Akufo-Addo well as that was perhaps his strongest selling asset and he the candidate and his party, the New Patriotic Party, since 2012 all through to going into the 2016 general elections had campaigned and bamboozled the Ghanaian electorate with this characterization of candidate Akufo-Addo.

With a nation inundated with allegations or perceptions of corruption in political office as early as before full independence in 1955 under self-government, the persistence of the canker of corruption in Ghanaian political and public life and in society seemed to have defied simple logic, and understanding as all sorts of measures and efforts had been expended aimed at bringing the canker to its knees without success.

If one recalled the unprecedented methods and measures which were applied by various governments since independence, aimed at fighting corruption in Ghana, including President Nkrumah's drastic sanctions against K.A. Gbedemah, Kojo Botsio, Krobo Edusei, Ayerh Kumi, W. A. Wiafe and others in his party and government; as well as corporal punishments such as public floggings of petty offenders, and confiscation of properties, including businesses and the ultimate of executions of even former Heads-of-State and high ranking military officers that Ghanaians have had to suffer during the era of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council(AFRC) in 1979; all of these in trying to curb corruption to no success, one can only be baffled by the resilience of corruption in its stoic persistence in the Ghanaian situation.

Here, Messrs. B. A. Mensah and his International Tobacco Company and Industrialist J. K. Siaw and his Tata Brewery (Now ABC Brewery) which were confiscated to the state in the name of fighting corruption come readily to mind.

It is mind boggling and actually a wonder that corruption, though a deeply resented, undesirable social malaise has defied all manner of ‘attacks’ in this country and has persisted in the Ghanaian society and public life to date.

The subject of corruption in public office, in our politics and in our society seemed to have become a favourite weapon, for not only opposition politicians in their efforts to unseat incumbent regimes in Ghana, but also for the military in overthrowing democratically constituted regimes-(1966, 1972, 1981) or in the case of the June 4th uprising, the overthrow of a military regime by the military themselves(1979).

Since 2012, and going into the last election in 2016, then candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who led the New Patriotic Party(NPP) to victory in that election, found the potency in the use of corruption in politicking and did not only sell himself to the Ghanaian electorate as an incorruptible and clean politician, but he also led a vitriolic campaign of attacks based on allegations of corruption against the former National Democratic Congress government of then President John Dramani Mahama.

That strategy worked for Mr Akufo-Addo as he won the 2016 presidential election and gave many Ghanaians a forlorn hope that for once, a government of Ghana, an Akufo-Addo government, would give the country its cleanest corruption-free government yet.

The fact that Mr. Akufo-Addo succeeded, once again in making corruption the centerpiece of the political contest for the presidency of Ghana and won as a result, clearly demonstrated that corruption and how politicians proposed to deal with it, should they win political power, remained an issue that resonated deeply with the Ghanaian electorate and society as a whole.

Not only did candidate Akufo-Addo succeed in branding himself as a clean politician not tainted by corruption in any manner or form before the 2016 elections, he also pledged to Ghanaians not to allow corruption in his government; “I can assure you, in all humility, that I am not, have never been and will never be corrupt. I can also assure you that as your President, I will NOT condone corruption in my Government. I bring to the table and to the office of President of this great country an unblemished track record of personal integrity and fortitude”, he pledged to Ghanaians on the night of October 3rd, 2012, at KNUST in Kumasi.

These were high sounding puritanic attributes Mr. Akufo-Addo touted of himself on the campaign trail, and promises he made to us and Ghanaians, by all indications and by the results of the 2016 elections, did buy into those Akufo-Addo pleadings and granted him his wishes.

It must be pointed out, however, that, the incorruptibility image Akufo-Addo carved for himself in adult life stood in stark difference to the murky character he was associated with in his youth, after he dropped out from one of Britain’s most prestigious universities, Oxford University, in the early 1960s, the cause of which matter he had managed to keep under a very tight lid to date.

So Also has he kept mute over some public allegations of untoward behaviour as made against him by very high ranking public figures, such as the former United States of America's Ambassador to Ghana MS. Pamela Bridgewater and a Security Expert at the Kofi Annan International Centre for Peacekeeping.

In all these publicly pronounced accusations of untoward character or behaviour, Mr Akufo-Addo has seen no reason to publicly defend himself against his accusers.

Despite all these, Nana Akufo-Addo was tacitly endorsed by such public figures as the retired Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Reverend Martey, who publicly declared his support for him at a function at the Church's OSU church hall in Accra in the run up to the 2016 elections.

To further aid Mr. Akufo-addo's candidacy, the Very Reverend Martey used every opportunity he could get to publicly disparage the ruling National Democratic Congress, "wailing" from the pulpit at one church service, “nyansa fuoeeeeeiiii muwor hen?” an Akan phrase meaning "Where are the Wise peopleeeiiiiii?". Insinuating that those then in government ruling the country, the National Democratic Congress and President John Dramani Mahama were not wise enough to rule, preferring a new alternative which clearly by our recent political yardstick can only be the New Patriotic Party and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the party's presidential candidate at the time.

By the efforts of such figures as Very Reverend Martey, pulling congregations of churches along, Mr Akufo-Addo did win the 2016 presidential election to become the Executive President of our country.

President Akufo-Addo is just four months shy of the end of his four-year mandate given to him by Ghanaians as President of the Republic, and it is in order that we take him to task on his own word and subject him to his own sworn promises to fight corruption in our politics, public life and in the country as a whole. It is a pledge and a promise he made to us and we must demand he redeemed himself.

The facts must speak for themselves.

So let us look at just a few of the over a hundred and fifty of alleged incidents of corruption or perceptions of corruption that have cropped up within these four years of Akufo-Addo's rule and see how he has dealt with them.


The very first real corruption allegation that cropped up in the Akufo-Addo regime was the bribery allegation against Akufo-Addo's first Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, who was alleged to have tried to bribe the NDC Minority on the Parliamentary Appointments Committee or Vetting Committee with an amount of GH¢3,000 each to enable him to be approved by consensus after he had failed to substantiate allegations of corruption he had made against former President John Dramani Mahama.

When Agyarko's cover was blown by Hon. Mahama Ayariga(NDC), Bawku Central and Parliament was investigating the shameful affair, President Akufo-Addo ignored all the goings-on in Parliament involving Boakye Agyarko and swore him into office as Energy Minister, even as the Parliamentary inquiry was taking place into the alleged bribery matter.


Was it strange then that Boakye Agyarko was reported to have misled President Akufo-Addo into granting an executive approval for a renegotiated US$510million power purchase contract, which the Mahama government signed for 5years after which Ghana would have owned the plant for US$1.00? Yes, you read it right; One United States Dollar. Boakye Agyarko's new contract was for US$1.125billion for the existing plant and the country was to be saddled with it for 15years after which the plant would have passed its useful service life and become a mere scrap.

President Akufo-Addo, even with that second incident involving Boakye Agyarko in which Ghana would have lost a whooping US$615,000,000 in just that one transaction did not see it fit to have Agyarko investigated or to sanction him in anyway. He was merely asked to go home a free man.


One of the very first appointments made by President Akufo-Addo was that of Alfred Obeng Boateng as Chief Executive Officer(CEO) to the sensitive Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company (BOST).

No sooner had Obeng Boateng assumed office than accusations of a GH¢15,000,000 alleged corruption involving 5,000,000 litres of fuel said to have been contaminated at the Accra plains depot of the company surfaced. Surprisingly, President Akufo-Addo instead of investigating the rot that had occurred in the state owned company, rather chose to defend Obeng Boateng at a meeting with the media saying that there were no regulations governing that sector of the petroleum industry in the country.

That was a palpable lie, because the National Petroleum Authority and its governing law contained elaborate regulations for the management of the sector of the petroleum industry or sector.

So encouraged, Alfred Obeng Boateng was soon slapped with another corruption allegation, by the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, that he had sold off about 1.8million barrels of crude oil at a discount of US$2.00, a stock bought for storage by the past NDC administration, at a time prices were escalating on the international market. He was said to have incurred losses of about GH¢30million on the transaction for BOST and the nation. The government and the sector ministry did not question him.

Nothing was done to Obeng Boateng until sometime in 2018 he was announced by the President's Executive Secretary to have been dismissed from office on the orders of the President, a free man. Oven Boateng is now a big time politician on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party, President Akufo-Addo's party, in his constituency in Western Region vying to enter Parliament.


I believe you remember the Australian Visa Fraud that so shamed the country before our compatriots of the Commonwealth and the international community. The Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon Isaac Asiamah, himself directly accused his Deputy, Pius Enam Hadzide who was Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Committee and under whose supervision those criminal activities occurred.

What happened?

Over sixty-five Ghanaians who were accredited as Journalists to the games on arrival in Australia were found out by the Australian Immigration officials to be fake. They were impersonators using the names of known Ghanaian Sports Journalists.

They confessed.

They said that huge amounts of monies were taken from them as bribes and they were falsely accredited as sports Journalists. The plan was that they would abscond into Australian cities and towns on clearing immigration and reaching the games village. The plan failed and they were detained and deported to Ghana.

Pius Enam Hadzide was instantly suspended when the scandal broke. The police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) was said to have conducted investigations into the matter, no one has seen any report on that scandal to date.

At the New Patriotic Party's annual congress in 2018 President Akufo-Addo suddenly announced the reinstatement of Pius Hadzide. The report of the CID on the Australian Visa Scandal never was made public.

Noticing that the Minister of Youth and Sports was emphatic that his Deputy Mr. Hadzide was complicit in the fraud that occurred, President Akufo-Addo moved him from the Youth and Sports Ministry to the Ministry of Information. Abetting the crime?

Enam Hadzide was not the only one who had been so reshuffled by President Akufo-Addo. Mr Eric Twum Amoako was a Deputy CEO of Ghana Export Promotion Authority. He, together with the CEO, Gifty Klenam were dismissed from the Authority for various acts of impropriety. Mr. Twum has now found himself reposted to the Ministry of Information as its Spokesperson. That ministry had become a den of reshuffled appointees with tainted records.


I hope you have not forgotten the fracas between the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Board of Directors of Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company, over corruption allegations. The Board had accused the CEO of malpractices involving sale of the company's assets, procurements malpractices, and her handling of the company's finances. The Board moved to suspend the CEO pending investigations. Before they could say jack, President Akufo-Addo through the Minister of Finance had sacked the Board and reinstated the CEO without looking into the matter. Matter closed !!! The lady is now the supremo at the state owned enterprise. Whatever happened to the protection granted to whistle blowers, only God can tell. Under President Akufo-Addo the Whistle Blower is a victim.


A similar incident happened at the National Youth Authority, where the CEO procured a contract for GHC4.5million without going through laid down procurement processes, and which was found to be excessively expensive. His two Deputies blew the whistle over the corrupt act. When the matter became public, the President simply sacked all three officials together. The two Deputies who blew the whistle cried out in surprise and in vain. They became victims for doing what was right in the sight of God and the law, but not in the sight of President Akufo-Addo. The two Whistle Blowers were dismissed for daring to open their mouths too wide in the interest of the nation.


What about what became known as OSLOGATE? This involved the Ministry of Foreign Affairs buying a property in the Norwegian capital of OSLO for Ghana's embassy in that country. In November 2018, during the hearings for the budget of the following year, it was discovered that the Ministry had entered into a contract to buy a property for US$12.2 million, which was bought by vendor for only US$3million a year earlier. The NDC Member of Parliament and Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament the Hon Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa blew the whistle on the outrageous transaction.

Due to the revelation and the outcry that followed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs quickly backtracked and cancelled the contract. When the matter came up before President Akufo-Addo at a public forum with the media, he simply dismissed it as a red herring a fabrication.

That transaction was a kind called white collar corruption which is normally hidden in documents, contracts of procurement and their like, and unless they are investigated, one cannot get to the bottom of the matter. President Akufo-Addo simply threw that matter into the dustbin and cocked his ears.

Let me remind Ghanaians and President Akufo-Addo Addo of what he said in 2012, 3rd October, on perception of corruption in his speech on the subject of corruption at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi.

Hear him; “It is time to confront the real problem of corruption and the perception of corruption because even the perception of corruption leads to a general lowering of morale among the population”.

And yet, here we are with the same Mr. Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as he was then in 2012 rubbishing a perception or allegation or accusation of corruption in his government in 2019. What has happened to his principles over this period?


Recently, in 2018, Ghanaians were put to shame when a video surfaced in public in which Mr Nyantakyi a former Ghana Football Association President and former Executive Committee member of the Federation of International Football Associations(FIFA) and former Vice President of Confederation of African Football(CAF) was caught by the undercover investigative team of Journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, soliciting a US$12million bribe, US$5million of which he said he had ear marked to bribe President Akufo-Addo to obtain favours for business opportunities.

This bribery case is in court and we cannot go into its merits or otherwise in this article.

But, isn't it damning and disgraceful enough for the nation that our President would have his name mentioned directly in association with a bribery scheme, he being an embodiment of the soul of the nation?

Worst of all, Mr. Nyantakyi was heard loudly in the video proclaiming before his "business associates" that President Akufo-Addo, our President "is inside my pocket." Our President being inside someone's pocket? Are we not ashamed?

I hope you have not forgotten the following:

1. The PDS Scandal 2. The Kroll and Associates Case 3. The Thieves of Staff/ A-Plus vrs. CID Boss Leaked Tape Affair 4. Sale of Presidential Access For Cash 5. "Chop Chop" at Ghana Export Promotion Authority 6. The Kelni-GvG Rip Off 7. Public Procurement Authority CEO's Contracts For Sale Scandal 8. US$10,000,000 Cocoa Roads Audit Scandal 9. GH¢9.6billion Lost to The State since 2017-- CDD, Ghana 10. US$17,000/Hour Jet Hired by the President to Tour the World. Persons and institutions tracking allegations of corruption in the Akufo-Addo regime have listed more than one hundred and fifty(150) incidents or allegations of corruption in the regime since its inception in January of 2017, almost four years to the date.

I will not disturb you any further with more listings of allegations of corruption in the Akufo-Addo government, as I hope that the few examples I have listed and the actions that he took demonstrate to Ghanaians how the President has failed to live up to his own vows to fight corruption or allegations of it in our country.

Many a Ghanaian's very high expectations of Nana Akufo-Addo who touted himself as a top anti-corruption politician must have evaporated into thin air, judging from his extremely disappointing exposure of himself since he came to office.

On the contrary, events bordering on corruption in his regime and his management or mismanagement of same, since his coming into office in 2017 have clearly shown that Our President has become the Chief Defender of Corrupt Causes in his government.

As we head towards the 2020 elections on December 7th, Ghanaians must see President Akufo-Addo for what he is; a man who cannot be trusted. For, he has not honoured his promises to us.
Columnist: Eric Ametor-Quarmyne