President Mahama has said in London (Thursday 12th may 2016) that his government has a good record in fighting corruption.
He also added, whiles fumbling, that he has never taken bribe as a human being. To prove this, he said has never involved himself or his office (the Presidency) directly in any public procurement deal. Again, he suggested that no Minister or appointee of his has been involved in corruption.
The New Patriotic Party is shocked by the lies peddled by the President during a summit designed to tackle that very canker of corruption. Without honesty and sincerity from the Presidency the fight against the theft of public funds can never be won so long as he remains in office. It is no wonder that that culture of plunging state coffers has actually worsened under President Mahama and would only get worse unless Ghanaians vote him out this year.
We will mention just a few specific contracts in support of our claim that Ghana under President Mahama is experiencing the Golden Age of Corruption and will demand that the President comes clean to the people on whether those claims he made in the United Kingdom last week can stand scrutiny. We will cite just six examples were his own personal involvement is not in doubt.
1. The sole sourced Nation Single Window contract for West Blue
2. The GHC3.6 million Smarttys bus branding scandal
3. The $88 million Embraer Jet scandal
4. The $10 billion STX scandal
5. $600m worth of contracts with shady Queiroz Galvao and
6. The secret, illegal lodging of $250m in UBA.
1. President Mahama told a blatant lie when he said in London that he does not put himself in a position to be bribed as he does not involve himself and his Office in public procurement. As fate will have it, on 12th May, 2015, exactly a year ago to the day he granted the BBC interview, the President, through a letter signed by his Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, personally and directly instructed the Minister of Finance “to formally engage West Blue Ghana Limited”, without any competitive tender. This was the contract for the implementation of the National Single Window for the inspection of goods at the ports. This contract is estimated to be worth more than $300 million over the next five year. By directing his Minister of Finance to give the contract to a particular company the President, by his own logic, had put himself in a position to be offered and receive bribe.
2. A 15th July 2015 letter from the Ministry of Transport to the Managing Director of Smarttys read: “We wish to inform you that the Ministry in consultation with the Office of the President has decided to rebrand the buses with the national colours as well as the images of our present and past Heads of State... In view of the decision, you are kindly requested to provide quotations for the re-branding of the buses together with photographs of a rebranded bus for our further action.” This deal, also directly procured from the Office of the President was done without competitive tender and the cost of this rebranding to the taxpayer has been found to be over 100 percent inflated. By his own logic, can we not say that the President was bribed since he was directly involved in this corrupt and controversial transaction? Again, no prosecution has come out of this and yet the President is asking Ghanaians to point out which of his Ministers has been involved in corruption.
3. President Mahama has still not responded to charges from no less a person than Mr Martin Amidu, the then Attorney General, that President Mills had set up an investigation into the procurement of an aircraft from Brazil, a deal led and negotiated by then Vice President Mahama in 2010. It is worth recalling that even though the manufacturer’s quoted prices for an Embraer 190 jet ranged between $28 million to $40 million for one with enhanced accessories, Vice President Mahama negotiated one that was to be sold to Ghana at the flat rate of $55.26 million, which was to be enhanced to the total cost of $88 million to the Ghanaian taxpayer. This included fitting an extra fuel tank costing $8 million; air staircase costing $1 million and; an in-flight entertainment costing $1.4 million. The implication of President Mills setting up such a committee to investigate his own deputy, who is now the President, cannot be wished away. It goes to the heart of the integrity and honesty of President Mahama. Did President Mills not suspect that his Vice President was bribed before calling for him to be investigated? It is still surprising to many Ghanaians that such a charge from the then Attorney General has not been refuted neither by President Mahama nor any of the named members of that committee. Where is the report of that committee? Ghanaians need to know.
4. In the highly controversial and unpatriotic $10 STX housing deal, the Koreans claimed in open court during a dispute among its local partners that they had spent $10 million in Ghana, in what is normally called facilitation fee and related expenses to procure the contract and set up base in Ghana. Then Vice President Mahama led those negotiations, which were largely done without the knowledge of President Mills. Up till today, Ghanaians have not been told who got those monies and how the Koreans have been reimbursed if at all.
5. Currently in Brazil, the President is facing impeachment and executives of some major construction and engineering firms are either in jail or being prosecuted over that matter, including the former President of Queiroz Galvao, This is a company being accused of money laundering, price fixing, and kickbacks, including the payment of $30 million on one contract the ruling party. Vice President Mahama personally went to Brazil to negotiate deals with Queiroz Galvao and subsequently as President of the Republic, John Mahama has ensured that his Brazilian friends have secured contracts, mainly on sole sourcing, to the total tune of $595,757,009. Thus, over half a billion dollars of Ghana’s money in contracts suspected to be highly inflated have gone to a company that is struggling in its own home state to keep its bosses out of jail. Some of the deals handed over to Queiroz Galvao include the $100 million Tamale International Airport; the $172.6 million Kasoa Interchange; the 74.88 million Euros ($85 million) Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange and; the GHC29.23 million Nima Drainage project.
6. In the Armajaro case, the Times of London newspaper on 31st October 2010 reported that Armajaro had lobbied then Vice President Mahama and allegedly made payments to get a ban lifted, a ban that had been placed on the company in Ghana after an Anas Aremeyaw Anas investigation into cocoa smuggling though our borders. Vice President Mahama denied ever lobbying on behalf of the UK company, only to be exposed by a leaked document from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of UK, which showed him travelling to London specifically to discuss this ban. The British Minister who facilitated this meeting was paid $150,000 by Anthony Ward, the CEO of Armajaro Holdings. Such was the dirty nature of the deal that British civil servants saw the entire intervention for a British company found culpable in corruption in Ghana, as improper and corrupt and leaked it to the British press. How does President Mahama explain this story against his claim that he has never put himself in a position to be bribed?
7. In December 2015, again, led by the Office of the President, $250 million of proceeds from Ghana’s $1 billion Eurobond, borrowed at a high interest rate of `10.75%, was secretly and illegally lodged at the UBA (Gh). This was done without any competitive bid and behind Parliament, as demanded by the Bank of Ghana Act. No legitimate paper trail has been found to follow this transaction and the deposit, which was used to purchase treasury bills, was for six months, maturing in June 2016. President Mahama must tell us the level of involvement of his Chief of Staff in this transaction. He must also tell us who were to benefit from the yield of this instrument that was curiously deposited to mature in just six months, conveniently in time for the 2016 elections.
The records available to all Ghanaians show clearly that President Mahama's government is not only the most tolerant of corruption, but is also neck deep in corruption, and has the worst record in fighting corruption in the fourth republic.
The President has claimed that he has never taken a bribe, although he has been offered.
A bribe may generally be defined as taking some inducement (money, houses, cars, scholarships for children etc) before one performs an official function or gives some favour to another person or party.
For the question to be put this way, not even officials convicted over corruption charges, nor ministers who have resigned their positions over corruption, will admit to the taking of bribes!
Fact is the main forms of corruption this NDC government has engaged in have included a combination of single sourcing procurement and what a Supreme Court justice termed "create, loot and share" schemes.
President Mahama in London cited his government’s prosecution of some officials at the National Service Scheme as example of his fight and enforcement of the laws against corruption.
President Mahama should therefore answer to the world why he has not or would not enforce the same laws against corruption in the several other more egregious and blatant cases of naked corruption and theft of taxpayers’ monies?
1. Why are the perpetrators of the payment of GHC52.8 million ($35million) to Mr Woyome still walking free?
2. Why are the perpetrators of the payment of over $30 million to Messrs Waterville still walking free?
3. Why are those who paid GHC72 million ($36million) to Subah for no work done still walking free and at post?
4. Why are those public officials working in his office who perpetrated payments to Rlg and Asontaba in SADA GHC15 million ($9 million) and GHC36 million ($18 million) still walking free?
5. Why are the perpetrators of the Smarttys bus branding scandal still walking free, even when the Attorney General had determined that those officials should be prosecuted in accordance with the laws?
6. Why are major public contracts done through single sourcing leading to sometimes 200% to 300% inflation of contract prices as complained about by even the sitting minister of local government Mr Collins Dauda?
7. Why are those public officials who colluded and perpetrated payments in the Gyeeda scandals of over GHC200 million ($100million) to the same Rlgs, Azontabas, Better Ghana Management Services, Zeeras, etc. still walking free?
In this case of Gyeeda, the government’s own investigation committee indicted and demanded the prosecution of officials including Ministers of State for bribe taking, forgery of multiple bank accounts and serial awards of contracts to so called "service providers," even as those contracted services were not provided!
President Mahama may want us to believe he is seriously engaged in fighting corruption. But the glaring cases of naked, bare faced and blatant corruption that have characterized his government have left many Ghanaians in deep shock.
In the words of the Chief Justice of Ghana, corruption today is at a "tipping point".
In the words of President JJ Rawlings, who is the founder of the NDC and President Mahama's former boss, corruption today in Mahama's government is now "endemic."
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