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Welcome To Ghana; Mahama’s Corrupt Republic!   
 
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05-Mar-2015  
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The failure of the Presidency to follow up on several leads in many allegations of corruption, has led to a general consensus that President Mahama could not be relied upon to fight corruption.

An exacerbated Former President John Agyekum Kufuor once told a bewildered nation that corruption was a canker that was as old as creation.

On Thursday, President John Dramani Mahama stood on the podium of the refurbished Parliament House in Accra and declared the Republic of Ghana a corruption-ridden society. Corruption is eating away this nation’s ability to cater for its 25 million inhabitants and that is official.

‘Corruption’, complained the President, “is a canker that continues to plague our society. In every facet of life, we encounter corruption; at the ports, when business people under declare the value of goods to avoid paying the right duties to the state; draining fuel from government vehicles; some officers taking bribes from motorists for traffic infractions…I could go on with several examples,” a frustrated President Mahama complained.

The Head of State said for every corrupt act, there is a supervisory officer and those officials will be held responsible. Why those supervisors have not been held responsible so far, tells the whole tale of why corruption now assails every fabric of society.

Read the lips of the Number One Gentleman of the land: “If these were our private businesses, will we manage them this way?” he queried, before charging leadership of Government institutions to take responsibility by stamping out corruption in the system.

“I have, as President, made strenuous efforts to expose, investigate and deal with matters of corruption within the constraints of our laws. Our efforts at exposing corruption may result in the erroneous belief that the practice is more pervasive now than before, when in fact, the reverse is the case, as evidenced in performance in recent TI (Transparency International) report.”

I am not sure if Transparency International has ever stated that corruption is on the decline. What I do know is that corruption has become so endemic that the Seat of Government, normally a revered institution of state, has been caught in the corruption web.

Two days before President Mahama addressed the nation, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) issued a report on a survey it conducted and claimed that the Office of the President is perceived by Ghanaians as the second most corrupt institution in Ghana, after the police service.

Out of a sample size of 1,200 households surveyed throughout the country, 23 percent saw the police service as the most corrupt institution. 19.2 percent of respondents think that the Office of the President is equally as corrupt as tax officers. Members of Parliament follow in the third position on 15.4 percent.

It is not by accident that the people of Ghana perceive the Presidency as corrupt. The handling of underhand dealings by companies owned by personalities with close links to the President has fuelled the perception that the Jubilee House is soft on rogues.

The conundrum over GHc32.4 million tree-planting in the northern Savannah zone, conceived by the Savannah Accelerated Development Agency, undertaken by ACI Construction Limited, a subsidiary of Roland Agambire’s AGAMS Group of Companies in which almost all the trees were alleged to have withered, without any official sanction, speaks volumes.

All trees planted in the four geographical areas in the savannah zone, were said to have withered. It is alleged that the trees were planted during the dry season and without an effective watering mechanism, the infant trees could not stand the harsh weather.

There is more. The contract for the Presidential initiative, beautifully christened ‘A Laptop per Child’, in which every Ghanaian of school going age was to benefit from a lap-top in a S100m deal, was handed to Agambire’s Rlg, needless to state that not many children have lap-tops in Ghana at the moment, in spite of the huge investment made by the state.

A Member of the New Patriotic Party Communication Team accused the Mahama administration of complicity in the deal.  Mr. Asante Yeboah said he is tempted to believe that President Mahama and the ruling National Democratic Congress administration have shares in Mr. Agambire’s business empire.

His conclusion is premised on the fact that the company has been given more state cash to operate than any Ghanaian venture. Even when the company woefully failed to deliver, more cash has been thrown at it.

“It is strange for the NDC administration to invest $100m in Rlg to distribute lap-tops to kids in the country, while there are other competent companies who could supply lap-tops more efficiently and at a lesser-cost,” Asante opined.

Speaking at a public lecture, under the theme: “The Paradox of Voice Without Accountability,” Prof. Kwame Karikari of the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, expressed disappointment in the conduct of public officers who trace their roots to the North, and who failed to deliver in respect of the SADA contract.

“One would have thought that leaders from the north, in this particular NDC administration, would take advantage of the national consensus to promote the development of the north, as envisaged by SADA, more than anyone else,” the founder of the Media Foundation for West Africa stated.

The failure of the Presidency to follow up on several leads in many allegations of corruption, has led to a general consensus that President Mahama could not be relied upon to fight corruption.

The naked corrupt deals in the 200 million GYEEDA (Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency) deal unveiled after a Presidential Commission of Enquiry, has rather resulted in the prosecution of the former GYEEDA Co-ordinator, Abuga Pele, while Mr. Kofi Humado, the sector minister at the time, who approved most of the shady deals, is being used as the prosecuting witness.

The notion in society is that the cancerous growth in corruption index is reaching alarming proportions in the Mahama regime, because there is lack of political will to fight and defeat the canker. Corruption, as ex-President Kufuor rightly stated, has been a political problem throughout the evolution of this nation-state.

This nation was barely one year-old when Mr. Krobo Edusei, then a Cabinet Minister in Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s infant regime, ordered a golden bed, costing three thousand pounds sterling from Britain.

At the time of the overthrow of the Convention People’s Party in February1966, Mr. Edusei was said to own 32 houses. Various commissions of enquiries have unearthed massive corrupt deals on the overthrow of various regimes in the country.

In Jerry John Rawlings’ first term of office, as a constitutional head of state, four top government officers, namely Mr. Paul Victor Obeng (now deceased), Colonel E.M. Osei-Wusu, Mr. Ibrahim Adam and Dr. Adjei-Maafo were indicted by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, under Commissioner Emile Short, for using the cover of their offices to amass wealth.

Strangely, a government white paper exonerated all the indicted personalities and rather accused the media of bringing up the issue in the first place.

Under the same revolutionary leader, a number of officials of state were accused of aiding Ms. Juliet Cotton, an unemployed American woman to swindle Ghana in the infamous $20m Aveyime Quality Rice scam.

The Kufuor administration had its own version of corruption perception to grapple with. When 17 top officials of the administration contested for the New Patriotic Party Presidential primaries in 2007, Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, General Secretary of the NDC at the moment, labeled them as “the 17 Thieves.” It was one tag the administration struggled unsuccessfully to remove.

Many political analysts believe the defeat of the NPP at the polls had its genesis in the perception that party officials helped themselves to state largesse. That is one reason why the perception that the Office of the President in the Mahama regime is the second most corrupt institution in Ghana is a dangerous trend now emerging.

Watching the President delivering his State of the Nation Address from Parliament, I felt sorry for Mr. John Dramani Mahama. The President was right in his analysis of a corrupt society.

Unfortunately, it is one truth that might undermine his bid for a second term. Welcome to Ghana, now wearing the unviable tag of Mahama’s Corrupt Republic!
 
 
Source: Ebo Quansah/The Chronicle
 
 

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