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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Political Corruption in Ghana: Who is Who?

When they were in opposition the National Democratic Congress [NDC] constantly accused the New Patriotic Party [NPP] of being corrupt and the accusation continued when President Mills government took office. Recently in Germany the founder of NDC in the person of Jerry John Rawlings is alleged to have called Kuffour a thieve in the presence of other African former heads of state. The NPP has been accused by the NDC for appropriating millions of dollars during the celebration of Ghana@50. The NPP has also been accused by its rival for making "profits" from the building of the Jubilee House built to house the presidency. The allegation has forced President Mills to delay moving into House.

The allegations against the NPP seem to go on by the day with P.C. Appiah Ofori a member of the NPP going public to accuse Members of Parliament belonging to the NPP. He accused them of receiving $5000 each during the sale of Ghana Telecom in which they were asked to vote to support the motion.

NDC also points out the loan secured by the son of former president Chief Kuffour could only have been granted due to his relationship with the father.

Again the NDC members say Dr. Richard Anane's corruption saga in which he was investigated and exonerated points to a deep seated corruption practices in the NPP.

NDC officials further stress that the investigation of Asamoah Boateng over award of contracts in his ministry is a clear manisfestation of what the NPP is best noted for. The arrest of former foreign minister Kwasi Osei-Adjei is another attestation of deep seated corruption in the former ruling party, NDC gurus claim.

Pointing to the 25,000 dollars registration fee paid by each of the 17 presidential candidates who contested for the flagbearership of the party as nothing more than looted public money, NDC officials say the $25,000 could only have come from illegal source and probably from the state coffers.

The NPP on the other hand has hit back and countered the NDC's accusations by pointing to the massive corruption scandals that marked the 11 years of PNDC and 8 years of NDC rule. They point to recent revelations that suggest the NDC transition team spent a whopping 3.61 billion cedis on tea and water within just two months after taking office. In I told you so style members of the NPP say NDC is only a reflection of an advanced cancer that cannot be cured. They point to recent media report that the NDC spent one million new Ghana cedis (about 10 billion old Ghana cedis) during President Obama's visit and questioned how the NDC could spend such amount in just under 24 hours.

The NPP spokespersons further point to a court ruling in Southwark Crown Court, London, United Kingdom in which a family company called Mabey & Johnson of UK admitted paying over four hundred and seventy thousand pounds in bribes to NDC officials in exchange for bridge contracts. It was revealed that the said corruption took place between 1994 and 1999 at a time when the current President of the Republic of Ghana President John Atta Mills was vice the president with Rawlings as president. They claim that the ruling is not only embarassing to the ruling government but also a dent on the image of Ghana as country. Kingpins of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government including Dr Sipa Yankey, Mr Kwame Peprah, Amadu Seidu and Dr Ato Quarshie were mentioned as having received bribes from the company.
The sum of money they received are as follows:
Ato Qarshie (former roads minister) £55,000
Amadu Seidu [former deputy roads minister £10,000
Edward Lord-Attivor (chairman inter-city transport corp) £10,000
Dr George Sepah-Yankey (health minister) £15,000
Boniface Sadique 40 thousand pounds

The NPP kinpins say the ruling proofs that the Fast Track High Court was right in jailing Dr Yankey and Mr Kwame Peprah who were convicted in the Quality Grain scandal, in which over $20million was paid to an American lady for the cultivation of rice at Aveyime in the Volta region. One NPP guru quoting from the Statesman said: "Former President Rawlings has always used the slightest opportunity to preach the virtues of instilling probity, accountability, integrity and ethics into Ghanaian politics. But this case of a British Company A little-known family who became one of the richest in Britain - accused of making excessive profits, by building what their critics call "bridges to nowhere", charged with corruptly influencing Ghanaian politicians and officials between 1994 and 1999 to gain bridge building contracts in Ghana, is a sudden twist of events". The NPP guru concludes that the case has destroyed the little political capital that the NDC had.

Another NPP activist also quoted from another paper saying: "The history of bribery among NDC officials is legendary. In 2002, the former Managing Director of Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL), Mr. Etienne Arthur Marie Popeler told an Accra Fast Track Court that he gave monies to Dan Abodakpi, the former Minister of Trade and Industry, Sherry Ayittey, Treasurer of the 31st December Women’s Movement and Mr. Emmanuel A. Agbodo, (former Executive Secretary) of the Divesture Implementation Committee (DIC) under the previous NDC Administration to influence the divestiture of GREL". The 51-year old Belgian said he paid $1 million bribe to the 31st December Women’s Movement (31st DWM), an NGO run by Rawlings’ wife, for his French company SIPH to secure GREL. Sherry Ayitey is back under the Mills-administration as Minister for Environment and Science.

NPP officials also point to revelations in Nigeria and Ghanaian newspapers that the Governor of Rivers State of Nigeria Mr. Rotimi Amaechi paid $3.5 million to ex-President Rawlings which was used to bankroll NDC's 2008 election campaign that brought them victory.

NPP supporters and officials contend that the NDC especially Rawlings and Asiedu Nketia are like a pot calling the kettle black and point to recent information in public domain that Mahama Ayariga the spokesperson for President Mills has illegally acquired five tractors meant for poor Ghanaian farmers. NPP officials say Ayariga took five tractors meant for underprivileged farmers and paid for only one whose price was further reduced for him.

The NPP officials say the NDC top brass should shut their buccal cavity because they have no moral right to accuse its members of corruption. Members of NPP claim that NDC shady deals are everywhere for all Ghanaians to see and say the trial of Scancem officials in Norway in 2007 in which they revealed that they paid millions of dollars to Jerry Rawlings and his wife through Unibank account in Luxemburg and Barclays bank account in Geneva, Switzerland show the extent in which corruption has become part and parcel of NDC leadership.

Some NPP bigwigs claim corruption is really in the DNA of NDC and they point to the revealation by the former director of Biwater Company in the UK that he paid 7000 pounds per child per term for Rawlings' children who went to study in the UK.

NPP members have further accused Muntaka of using his office as a charity home for his family buying pampas, khebab and travelling around with his girl friend at the cost of the Ghanaian tax payer. They point to Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak as the living proof and the real embodiment of NDC corruption in the current Mills administration.

NPP diehards further point to the bribery and corruption scandal hit the Rawlings administration in 1995/96 when CHRAJ conducted investigations into allegations of corruption and illegal acquisition of assets made against four ministers of state and some senior government officials. The case involved Col E.M Osei-Owusu (Rtd), a former Minister of the Interior; P.V. Obeng, Presidential Staffer, Ibrahim Adam, Minister for Agriculture and two others from the Agriculture Ministry and Adjei Marfo, Chief executive officer of a state owned company. NPP continues that the adverse findings made by the Commission against three of the officials and the infamous white issued by the Rawlings administration to cover up the malfeasance can only happen within the NDC and nowhere else.

NPP says corruption allegation levelled at current Foreign Minister Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni is only a tip of a herculian problem and a practice which is so common in the NDC that no one in the party has the moral courage to speak against it. NPP says an audit report from the Auditor General's office implicating Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni in financial malfeasance and wrong-doing makes the NDC and the government of Fiifi Mills a laughing stock in the international community especially when it comes to negotiations in financial matters.

The party says a speech by the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka during the second anniversary lecture in memory of the late nationalist, Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin in Akure, Ondo State, in which he said: "I challenge President Olusegun Obasanjo to use his anti-corruption crusade in repatriating our monies looted by the military regimes and the $5 million money given to President Rawlings who joined hands with General Abacha in embracing the culture of corruption which has tainted Nigeria as a nation" is not only an indictment on the persoanlity, integrity and everything Rawlings and the NDC stand for or have stood for but is also an indelible mark that can never be erased and will go down in history as one of the most bastardly and disgraceful act ever committed by a sitting head of state of the Republic of Ghana.
NPP says the sudden and unexplained sacking of Victor Smith by Rawlings using a text message can only be explained by money that Smith did not allow Rawlings to receive from a Nigerian financier. During the last Ghana election, Rawlings got upset because Victor Smith directed a Nigeria financier who wanted to give money to Rawlings for NDC campaigns, but Victor Smith told the Nigerian to give it to the Mills campaign team. This made Rawlings to fire Smith by text message, telling him to seek employment at the Mills campaign team.

NPP says the millions of cedis that were found in the bedroom of former Attorney General and Minister of Justice of NDC in the person of Dr. Obed Asamoah only point to "the help yourself" government that existed before the NPP took over in 2000.

And as if that all these were not enough Nana Ohene-Ntow, the General Secretary of the NPP in a hot exchange with Kofi Adams has called on Jerry Rawlings t(he founder and a key member of NDC), to come clean if he is not corrupt. Nana Ohene-Ntow told Adams who doubles as the spokesperson for Rawlings and NDC Deputy Youth Organiser, "he [Rawlings] should tell Ghanaians how he got money to build his mansion at Agyirigannon, how he financed his children's fees abroad, and those who provided him the 4 wheel drive vehicles.If he fails to provide the hard facts, he should desist from disturbing the peace of this country".

With no ending sight to accusations and counter accusations of corruption in Ghana it is only Ghanaians who can say which party is the most corrupt in Ghana. Have your say.

By Lord Aikins Adusei

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