The Leader and Founder of All People’s Congress (APC), has described the office of the Special Prosecutor as redundant institution, a charade and a trick to provide shields for corrupt officials in government, since it’s role is no different from what the Attorney General has already demonstrated.
Addressing the Media in a Press Conference on the latest Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and matters arising, He indicated that, Mr. Martin Amidu’s appointment as Special Prosecutor is only going to showcase a semblance of fighting the canker but in reality, it means nothing than a mere charade.
According to Dr. Ayariga, the Attorney General alone is more than enough to prosecute corrupt officials, since it’s the same Attorney General’s department that prosecuted Mr. Abuga Pele and Mr. Philip Assibit Akpena, securing jail sentences for them.
“This rarely happens and I don’t foresee such kind happening under this NPP regime. Not because the appointees of Nana Akufo-Addo are not corrupt; no, I am only scared he cannot prosecute them considering the speed at which he is covering them up and clearing scandals of his regime. It is safe to say the Flagstaff House is now a Corruption clearing house”. Dr. Hassan Ayariga alleged.
He also commended Former President John Dramani Mahama for demonstrating leadership by punishing his own.
Below is the full Statement…
PRESS CONFERENCE BY ALL PEOPLE’S CONGRESS (APC) FOUNDER/LEADER DR. HASSAN AYARIGA ON THE LATEST TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX (CPI) ON THE 1ST OF MARCH, 2018.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, you are welcome to yet again another press conference. Let me first of all thank you sincerely for honoring our previous ones and propagating our concerns for the attention of Ghanaians and the world. Today we are going to present the real state of corruption in the Nation as it is now; a true reflection of what the citizens are experiencing in the country.
To start with let me touch on the state of the people who are given the mantle to rule this country. I read your reports of the Vice President calling on Ghanaians to pray for him and the president because it is not easy to be president. Reality has visited him now. When he was babbling about every other person except him being incompetent, he was advised to stop babbling because he did not know what it takes to be president but he did not take heed. Now he has been Vice President for only one year and is already Collapsing . It took the intervention of our Muslim brotherhood and Christian leadership to pray day and night for his recovery. What will happen if he goes on for two years or even in the unlikely event he becomes President? Only God knows!
Clearly Bawumia should begin to reexamine himself. He did not collapse as a result of hard work but frustration; frustration at the fact that he has been overwhelmed by the magnitude of economic challenges he faces to which he has no answers. His own 170 statements/questions to Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur is still not answered. Can he answered them? What goes around comes around. The dollar he claimed he arrested has broken jail stubbornly. He is not able to reduce fuel prices drastically neither is he able to pay the so-called restored allowances. He borrowed many billions of dollars and had nothing to show for them. Electricity tariffs are skyrocketing. Competent borrowing indeed!
CORRUPTION IN GHANA NOW
It is no secret the volume of corruption being covered up in the current administration. The lip service to fighting corruption has been exposed by the Transparency International’s CPI unprecedented ranking of Ghana. We have a president who has mastered covering up corruption under his belt. No successful investigation has been allowed to reveal the true nature of occurrences of incidences of corruption.
Martin Amidu’s appointment as Special Prosecutor is only going to showcase a semblance of fighting the canker but in reality it means nothing. The Attorney General alone is enough to prosecute corrupt officials. Isn’t it the same Attorney General’s department that prosecuted Hon. Abuga Pele and Mr. Philip Assibit Akpena and secured jail sentences for them? I must commend former President John Dramani Mahama for demonstrating leadership by punishing his own; this rarely happens and I don’t foresee such kind happening under this NPP regime. Not because the appointees of Nana Akufo-Addo are not corrupt; no, I am only scared he cannot prosecute them considering the speed at which he is covering them up and clearing scandals of his regime. It is safe to say the Flagstaff House is now a. Corruption clearing house.
Each time our media men and women get closer to the president, they laugh happily at everything he says, even if it is not funny. They ask him praising and irrelevant questions, questions that cannot impact on the lives of the masses. The reality is that, the current regime is very corrupt and incompetent but they are shielded by our media men and women. It is very unfortunate. What Transparency International just did exposed the hypocrisy in the system; it shows how we see but refuse to expose; it reveals how calculated efforts are being made to cover up the darkness around. Where is Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Mannasseh Azure Awuni, my Upper East brother? Hmmmm, time changes.
THE CPI INDEX
Corruption has taken over the state departments and we are busy trying to justify it by blaming others for our involvement. Every government in its first year scores a higher mark in the Corruption Perception Index in our fourth republic. Strangely it is only President Nana Addo who has failed to continue the trend. No government under the fourth republic has ever recorded massive corruption allegations in its first year in office like under this NPP regime. No wonder our President has been named as the tenth most corrupt president in Africa. I agree with Sydney Casely Hayford that the CPI ranking was charitable, it should have been worse.
Rightly so no one doubts the poor showing of Ghana in the 2017 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. In 2012 out of 9 data sources, Ghana ranked 45 on the CPI, in 2013 out 9 data sources again Ghana ranked 46; an improvement over the previous year. There were 8 data sources assessed in 2014 where Ghana improved again at a rank of 48. The rank for 2015 was 47 out of 8 data sources. 2016 saw a performance index at the rank of 43 from a standard error of 2.89.
Strangely at a favourable standard error of 2.56, Akuffo Addo’s regime in its first year managed to drop our ranking from 43 to an abysmal 40. This abysmal performance his government wants to blame it on just 2 insignificant data sources picked from 2016. Ghanaians will not forget that 77% of the data sources came from Akuffo Addo and his NPP. It is therefore clear that the NPP was responsible for 77% of the poor performance in the failure to fight corruption in 2017. That is still very bad.
THE REASONS FOR THE POOR RANKING
The President said last week the NDC was to blame for the poor ranking. He knows he is being deceptive and misleading. But we should not be surprised at this performance. There are many reasons why Ghana should have been ranked lower than 81st with a poor index of 40. We are all aware the President has become a sole judge in adjudicating corruption under his government. He managed to sweep all potential rots in his government under the carpet thinking Ghanaians will never discern.
PREMIX FUEL DIVERSION SCANDAL
Again the President sat aloof when the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and her brother illegally diverted 249 tankers of premix fuel; causing financial loss of over 2.2 billion CEDI’s to the state. A shambolic investigation was supposedly carried out with some bogus recommendations. Under serious jurisdictions the Minister should be sanctioned for that behavior but the will to act is absent.
Then the President’s nephew, the Finance Minister, issued an obscure $2.25 billion dollars bond in a record 4 hours to his friends. One person, Travegor G. of Franklin Templeton, managed to subscribe 95% of the bond while the remaining 5% is shrouded in secrecy. This entity is found out to be a business association of the Minister of Finance. The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice has made damming findings against him but our President wants other evidence. He refused to act on this clear case of sleaze.
ADMINISTRATIVE CHARGES: ESLA
Another dubious bond, the ESLA bond, was subsequently issued. The issuance was not entirely successful but we were told our taxpayers’ money went to administrative expenses alone for that bond to the tune of GHc177 million. This amount went to another close associate of the government, Ace Ankomah’s law firm. Questions must be raised as to what the attorney general’s department is to do for the government in these cases. Why was the attorney general excluded from the bond issues? Why should we spend more money contracting private legal firms to advise on these bonds?
CORRUPTION AT THE FLAGSTAFF HOUSE
Apart from the above, many allegations have been made against even staffs at the presidency of wanton corruption. The President always found a way to clear them of any wrongdoing. Hon. Kennedy Agyepong and Kwame Asare Obeng have all adduced clear evidence of corruption against Presidential staffers. They have alleged thousands of dollars were always paid before investors could see the president. But what happened? The result is well-known to all.
BRONG AHAFO REGIONAL MINISTER
Abronye DC, the New Patriotic Party’s Brong Ahafo regional youth organizer has consistently accused the Brong Ahafo regional minister of massive corruption but the president is adamant. I recalled the brong Ahafo chiefs also kicked against the nomination of him as regional minister all to death ears.
DISTRICT ASSEMBLIES CHARGE FOR TOURS
We have not forgotten how the president carefully planned tours to the Northern part of the country sometime last year. His visit became a burden to the local government authorities who were instructed by the preseident’s representatives in the region to contribute GHc5, 000.00 each to welcome the president. Had it not been the vigilance of one citizen, the district assemblies would have been ripped off by this official stealing.
It is most disturbing the unprecedented budgets the Akuffo Addo government is running. In its first year a whopping GHc1.5billion was doled out to the presidency; double the budget of his predecessor. Strangely in the second year it shot up to GHc1.9billion. What is happening in the Flagstaff House? Are we killing elephants every day for meals? Where is the list of the alleged over 2,000 presidential staffers? We need to know what we are spending our money on. It is in this same presidency that GHc6million was sent to parliament for one person, the senior minister. This same presidency is designing a website for a superfluous Ministry at GHc800, 000.00.
Presidential staffers have been given leeway and are mesmerizing state offices recklessly. Our health insurance scheme is crippling under the watch of extravagant managers. We have seen documents indicating a whopping GHc230, 000.00 was spent on a stakeholder engagement that never took place. The memo for that release was authored by the board secretary of the authority. We are however picking allegations that so-called stakeholders ‘engagement for which the cash was doled out did not take place. The question is who chopped the money?
The government organized a fiasco called Ghana @60 and shipped millions of our cash into dubious hands to manage. We were previously told corporate Ghana was going to sponsor the program. Surprisingly state sponsorship occurred at our blind side. We also heard BOST also donated GHc1million to the Ghana @60 secretariat. There was no accountability, the excuse was that it was a year-long program. Now the year has ended, who is to give us accounts?
REMOVAL AND REPLACEMENT OF PUBLIC SERVANTS
It is noteworthy that this government has secretly maneuvered to push out key public servants and replaced them with its cronies. These move is always suspicious because it festers activities like the dubious bonds issued earlier. The Governor of the bank of Ghana was hounded out; his deputy was kicked out similarly and they were replaced with alacrity. The board of the bank is full of close associates of the president and the finance minister. The bank therefore is being manipulated politically. The surprise collapse of UT and Capital Banks is still a mystery. No report has yet come out to explain what caused that strange financial drama.
Similarly the Agricultural Development Bank was compelled to give GHc125 million loan to Macdan shipping Ltd when its board was yet to be formed. The bank is believed to be stressed leading to the decision to merge it with the National Investment Bank in a proposed National Development Bank.
THE GHANA POST GPS
The hullaballoo about the fraudulent application has not settled but only washed out of sight. Our vice president managed to oversee a mockery of technological achievement by selling Asaase GPS, a free application on Google Play store, to the country at a whopping GHc11million and over to the country. At the end we were going to pay subscription fees to Google at $400,000.00 annually. This is the second biggest scandal after the Kenbonds. As we speak the GhanaPost GPS has not leapfrogged even Rwanda yet let alone the UK, USA, Germany etc. as we were made to believe.
MASLOC FIAT PANDA
The MASLOC has engaged in the GPS style robbery by buying outdated cars at exorbitant prices with the taxpayers’ money. Issues were raised about that stinking deal but nobody in the government saw anything wrong with it.
In just one year Akuffo Addo’s ministers have shown how they are wallowing in wealth. They are living like Arabian kings even though they are deceiving us they are not receiving their salaries regularly.
FAMILY AND FRIEND APPOINTMENTS
Ladies and gentlemen, the massive appointment of family, friends and acquaintances have enabled these organized corruption to occur. The Transparency International has even been more charitable in its assessment. Our government is fighting corruption by mouth while promoting the same corruption by actions. So absurd! The appointment of the special prosecutor will be a miserable mirage as long as these experts of corruption are in charge. Only the president can convict any of his corrupt appointees. But I don’t see that happening because the President is now a clearing agent of corruption. I fear next year Ghana will drop below 40 on the CPI index. There is no hope when the President assured his officers of acquittal before trial by his actions so far.
The NPP has borrowed billions of dollars since assuming office but who can tell me what tangibly those monies went into. The intelligent borrowing we are seeing now is to borrow and chop. We make huge allocations in the budgets and achieve none of them.
Now we are looking up to promises that have no evidence of being fulfilled. Market women are crying daily of the hardship in the markets, drivers are lamenting high fuel and spare parts prices. The schools are facing many problems under the rashly implemented free SHS. We have begun borrowing from the World Bank to finance the much touted free education program. The new income tax regime was carefully crafted to take more from the Ghanaian worker.
GHOST PRESIDENTIAL STAFFERS
The presidency is spending close to 2billion on its operations this year alone. Up to now no one knows the actual number of presidential staffers on payroll. The rumors are that there are over 2000 presidential staffers. Who they are we don’t know yet. Parliament has been requesting for the list but for some strange reasons the list is a secret document. Many other citizens were however dismissed from public service. How are they surviving? Does the state care about them? What about their families?
SOLUTIONS TO CORRUPTION
1. Corruption Bigger than Bribes.
Corruption is not only about bribes. Government loses greatly and development is very slow and expensive when we engage in corruption. We need to put relevant institutions and tasks them to deliver by monitoring their activities and resources. Educate citizens on different types of corruption . It is so important to understand the different kinds of corruption to develop smart responses.
2. Citizens empowerment
Create pathways that give citizens relevant tools to engage and participate in their governments – identify priorities, problems and find solutions. Reducing the fight against corruption to the special prosecutor alone is a big joke, the fight against corruption is bigger than the special prosecutor. You can not fight corruption under capitalism system of governance, ideological it breads corruption. So We will need to be each other’s keeper in order to fight corruption.
3. Stake holders engagement
Bring together formal and informal processes (this means working with the government as well as non-governmental organizations) to change behavior and monitor progress. Citizens should be made to respect the rules and regulations of the laws of the country, sanctions should be taken against those who go contrary to the laws.
4. Use Technology
Digitalize all governments agencies and public institutions so that cash transaction is eradicated completely. Use the power of technology to build dynamic and continuous exchanges between key stakeholders: government, citizens, business, civil society groups, media, academia etc.
5. Deliver the Goods:
Invest in institutions and policy – sustainable improvement in how a government delivers services is only possible if the people in these institutions endorse sensible rules and practices that allow for change while making the best use of tested traditions and legacies – imported models often do not work.
6. Get Incentives Right:
Align anti-corruption measures with market, behavioral, and social forces. Adopting integrity standards is a smart business decision, especially for companies interested in doing business with the World Bank Group and other development partners.
7. Sanctions Matter:
Punishing corruption is a vital component of any effective anti-corruption effort. Without fear or favor. Monitor public and private sector activities and their banking activities including all income flows of all workers.
8. Act Globally and Locally
Keep citizens engaged on corruption at local, national, international and global levels – in line with the scale and scope of corruption. Make use of the architecture that has been developed and the platforms that exist for engagement. Teach children to learn lessons of corruption with cartoon through movies and video games.
9. Capacity Building
Build capacity for those who need it most: Regions that suffer from chronic fragility, conflict and violence– are often the ones that have the fewest internal resources to combat corruption. Identify ways to leverage international resources to support and sustain good governance.
9. Learn by Doing:
Any good strategy must be continually monitored and evaluated to make sure it can be easily adapted as situations on the ground change.
10. Reduce Political Patronage
What is contributing to the problem is this winner takes all systems of government. It has allowed everyone to think that once his party comes to power he must become rich. It is worse when family and friends are packed in the public office as we have now. They act with impunity and disregard due process.
My brothers and sisters, it is clear from the above that corruption is being nurtured to grow. The lip service we are paying to fighting it, has resulted in the poor ranking. The rate at which we are going now, 2018 will be worse than 2017. All is not well with the country. If we do not devote much attention to fighting the canker called corruption, our country will degenerate into unimaginable realms. It is time we demand that government works and not complain. Ghana must work properly!
Dr. Hassan Ayariga