Having been overwhelmed by the “high profile” corruption scandals that have hit his six month old government, President Akufo-Addo is now banking hopes on the support of Ghanaians and God to fight the canker he promised would never happen when he is elected President.
Addressing Ghanaians resident in the United Kingdom recently, President Akufo-Addo helplessly said “to the extent that God gives me health and strength; I am going to do my best to make sure that the fight against corruption is won.”
The almost-daily reported cases of corruption are contrary to President Akufo-Addo’s campaign promise that there will be no place for corruption in his government. The New Patriotic Party government has been struggling to come clean on the many allegations of corruption being reported, six months after taking over the leadership of the country.
Even as the government has been hit with accusations of corruption since January this year, President Akufo-Addo is yet to institute one investigation into any of the allegations and/or, punish any officials involved.
The President’s loud silence and perhaps, inaction in various alleged cases of corruption calls into question his commitment to rooting out the canker.
Leading members of the NPP have been fuming over corrupt practices in the barely six months-old government which they say, are known to President Akufo-Addo, but he has overlooked them and instead, keeps reechoing his promise to fight corruption.
Social media communicators of the NPP have in recent time resorted to using syndicated message to warn Ministers and appointees of the Akufo-Addo administration to desist from acts of corruption or risk being exposed.
One such message, which is on the walls of most NPP facebookers, reads “and let me make this point clear. Any appointee of the Ghanaian government who engages in any act of corruption, misappropriation or malfeasance of the poor taxpayer's money should count some of us as the lead campaigners for such person's dismissal and onward prosecution. Some of us are from very poor background and we know and understand the damage such acts has done to the majority of the people. Ghanaians changed the NDC to see a difference not a continuation. Don't be caught or else......”
Another staunch member of the NPP based in Kumasi, Daveleo Dorwobor, is also accusing the Akufo-Addo government of corruption, insisting that government’s decision to award a contract to Zoomlion Ghana limited to collect government’s proposed towing levy indicates that President Akufo-Addo’s promise to fight corruption is a facade.
On his facebook wall, Mr. Daveleo wrote “any government that happily engages Zoomlion for any contract, I am sorry, is nothing but a very corrupt government. And it seems the NPP has fallen flat into the corruption trap. I shall be back.”
Sources at the seat of government have told The aL-hAJJ that members of the NPP are overly worried that “the looting going on” in the infant Akufo-Addo government may soon get to the public and that will be detrimental to the President and the NPP, hence the warnings.
Stunned by the level of corruption in the new NPP government, Brong Ahafo regional Youth Organizer of the party, Kwame Baffoe aka Abronye DC has, out of anger, resigned from a presidential taskforce set up by Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, to retrieve alleged stolen state vehicles.
Reports are that some senior officials at the seat of government are selling some of the “seized” or retrieved state vehicles to themselves and their cronies at chicken feed prices. This, sources say, angered Abrony DC, leading to his resignation.
Short of confirming the scandal that has hit his taskforce, Abronye DC said, President Akufo-Addo and some senior officials at the Flag Staff House frustrated his resolve to retrieve state vehicles from past government officials.
The exercise, he said, would be a futile one because government officials who are supposed to be supporting the retrieval of the “missing” state cars are rather supporting wrongdoing by calling for the return of the said cars to those thought to be in illegal possession of them.
“Let me use your platform to tell those officials at the Flagstaff House that most of the confiscated cars are parked at the Regional Coordinating Council. They can go and pick them and return to the people we retrieved them from. I, Abronye DC, will not worry myself and drive to Sunyani to go for the cars.
“I don’t care anymore if anyone steals state cars, whether NPP or NDC, they can make away with state cars; I don’t care. I cannot be doing this donkey work anymore for some officials at the Flagstaff House to tell us that we should return the cars because the seizures are creating tensions in the country. How on earth can somebody be doing this? Henceforth, no journalist should call me to ask me about stolen cars.”
Cash for Appointment
Bigwigs of the governing party have also, openly accused other party kingpins of taking bribes and other goodies from NPP members with hopes of securing them positions in the Akufo-Addo government.
Last recently, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djabah disclosed that Northern Regional Chairman of the NPP, Daniel Bugri Naabu, took money, cow and other goodies from party members with hopes of convincing the President to appoint them to their preferred positions.
"I want him to stop telling lies about me and to stop collecting people’s things and promising them jobs he cannot give. When he goes and does that, after he has collected their money and their cows and goats, then he will come and put the trouble on Otiko. Otiko will not accept it. If Bugri wants trouble from me then the trouble will come,” she fumed.
Just when the Otiko and Bugri Naabu scandal was about losing steam after the duo were instructed to apologize to the party, Deputy Central Regional Organizer of NPP, Mathew Botchwey affectionately called ‘California’ also blew the lid on how his Chairman, Robert Kutin was allegedly collecting money from ‘outsiders’ in for appointments.
California revealed that one Abdallah, identified as a son of the producer of ‘Mercy Cream’, paid the sum of Hundred Thousand Cedis (GH¢100.000.00) to Robert Kutin to influence his chances of securing a DCE slot but all to no avail. Chairman Robert Kutin has since denied the charge and has threatened court action.
Allegations of bribery have also characterized appointment of MMDCEs and other appointments to state institutions and other acts of corruption including questionable sole-sourcing contracts at COCOBOD among others.
Corruption Here, Corruption there
Mr Bugri Naabu and the Northern regional branch of Contractors Association have also accused their regional Minister, Salifu Saeed, of extorting money from contractors and businessmen in exchange for government contracts.
This allegation was contained in a statement signed by Chairman of the association, Alhaji Iddal and one Alhaji Tono Man. This was said to have irked Mr Naabu who was reported knocking on the doors of the President Akufo-Addo to sack the regional Minister.
Director of Operations at the Presidency, Mr Lord Commey, has also been accused of taking GHC250, 000 a week from a kingpin of the opposition NDC at National Lottery Authority to save him from being sacked by President Akufo-Addo.
The former NPP National Organizer has however refuted the allegation in a lengthy and strongly worded rejoinder, insisting the allegation was false and unfounded.
There are reported cases of “missing” vehicles, goods and other items confiscated at the various ports since the NPP dispatched some of its members to takeover the management of the country’s ports.
Sources at the ports say importers and freight forwarders have for some time now been complaining about missing “seized” imported vehicles and goods.
Prime among the missing items since NPP took over the management of the country was the mysterious disappearance of 10 bags of cocaine worth $30 million from the Tema port.
Ken and Agyarko Scandals
Two Cabinet Ministers in the Akufo-Addo government have so far had their fair share of corruption allegations with one being cleared of the charges in a widely criticized parliamentary committee report.
Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, was accused by MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga and two others of bribing minority legislators on the Appointment Committee with GHC3000 each to facilitate his approval.
The money was said to have been channeled through Chairman of the committee, Joe Osei Owusu and Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak. However, a committee set up by the Speaker of Parliament chaired by Joe Ghartey cleared Mr Agyarko of the allegation in a report that has been described by anti-corruption agencies and campaigners as face saving report.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta is also battling to clear his name in a conflict of interest and inside trading accusation lodged with CHRAJ over a $2.25 billion bond issued to Franklin Templeton whose board member, Trevor Trefgarne is also board chairman of the Finance Minister’s company, Enterprise Group.
Policy Think Tank, Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK), is also demanding that Mr. Ofori Atta resigns from his position pending the outcome of CHRAJ’s investigations.
Ministers blocks DVLA?
In what has been described as swift move to prevent another corruption scandal hitting the Akufo-Addo government, Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has instructed the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to suspend its intended introduction of Smart Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration Cards.
A letter dated June 14, 2017 ordered that the two projects be suspended until the necessary approvals have been sought. “I wish to refer you to the discussion I had with you on the subject for which drew your attention to the need to obtain approval from the Ministry and Cabinet before implementation of such major projects.”
Corruption on the Rise
President Akufo-Addo’s claim his administration is winning the war against corruption has been rubbished by anti-graft campaigner and former NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, P C Appiah Ofori, who says corruption is on the ascendency.
“Corruption is seriously wreaking havoc to our economy because we have monies that are supposed to be used for various developmental projects diverted into personal pockets crippling the economy”, he disclosed on Kumasi-based Abusua Fm.
A Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Koku Anyidoho, has said corrupt practices so far recorded in the Akufo-Addo government is a tip of the iceberg, insisting, there are more shocking revelations and rot at the presidency yet to hit the public domain.
Responding to Abronye DC, the NDC deputy General Secretary said he does not respond to utterances by Abronye however, his outburst has more hidden agenda and Ghanaians will be shocked in the coming days.
According to him, it has emerged that officials at the seat of government are selling Toyota Land Cruisers at GHS2000. “The truth will certainly come out. Ghanaians should embrace themselves for more discovery of rot at the presidency,’’ he noted.