General News of Wednesday, 30 November 2016
President John Dramani Mahama’s first term in office has been buffeted by several scandals that have cost Ghana huge sums of money in lost revenue and, in some cases, embarrassed the country.
Here are eight of such scandals:
1. Bus branding scandal:
Last year, investigations into the branding of 116 Metro Mass Transit Buses involving GH¢3.6million revealed that the company contracted, Smarttys, over-billed the government to the tune of about GH¢1.9million.
The development provoked public outcry, which compelled the Minister of Transport, Dzifa Attivor, to resign in December.
The government subsequently reached an agreement with Smarttys for the company to return GH¢1,548,608.04 to government chest.
2. Mahama ‘Ford Expedition’ gift scandal
A revelation in June 2016 that President John Mahama received a Ford Expedition vehicle estimated to cost $60,000 from a Burkinabe contractor, Djibril Kanazoe, provoked widespread public outrage.
The businessman was said to have won two contracts worth over GH¢100 million after the president took possession of the vehicle.
The development prompted several opposition political parties and civil society organisations to accuse President Mahama of receiving a bribe. He, however, denied any wrongdoing.
3. GYEEDA Scandal
In 2013, Manasseh Azure Awuni, a reporter for Joy FM, conducted an investigation in the operations of GYEEDA and uncovered massive corruption, which led to policy change in the running of the agency.
The government set up a five-member committee to probe the allegations further. The committee’s report largely corroborated Manasseh’s findings and made various recommendations to government. As part of the reforms, parliament passed a law to regulate the operations of GYEEDA, which was later renamed Youth Employment Agency (YEA).
His investigation also led to the cancellation of all GYEEDA contracts with service providers, except the contract with Zoomlion Limited. This saved the nation millions of cedis.
4. SADA Scandal
In 2014, Manasseh Azure Awuni‘s investigation revealed that the Ghana’s Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) had misappropriated millions of dollars allocated to it.
The investigations showed that SADA paid GH?32,498,000 to ACICL to plant five million trees in the savannah zone, but could only account for about 700,000 trees.
It also found that SADA spent GH¢15 million on guinea fowls, but could only account for a few of the birds.
The revelation prompted President John Mahama to abrogate SADA’s contracts with Asongtaba Cottage Limited, mangers of the multi-million-cedi guinea fowl project.
5. NSS Scandal
In 2014, officials of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) uncovered a GH¢7.9 million deep-rooted rot at the National Service Secretariat (NSS).
Investigations showed that the amount represented the allowance paid to 22,612 non-existent service people in more than 100 districts across the country.
Twenty district directors of the NSS were picked up for their alleged roles in the malfeasance.
6. Judicial corruption scandal
An investigation by journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas in 2015 revealed that about 180 workers in Ghana’s judiciary had been involved in several bribery deals.
Thirty-four judges, comprising 22 lower court judges and 12 High Court judges, along with some court staff, were captured in a video footage extorting bribes from litigants to warp the justice system.
At least 21 circuit court judges and four high court judges were dismissed following the revelations.
7. Brazil 2014 fiasco
Following the failure of the government to pay their $100,000 dollars Brazil 2014 appearance fee on time, players of the Black Stars threatened to boycott Ghana’s last World Cup group game against Portugal.
This compelled the government to send a reported four million dollars in cash on a chartered flight to Brasilia to be disbursed to the team.
The development was the subject of international media coverage, creating huge embarrassment for country.
To add salt to injury, the Black Stars were eliminated for the first time in the group stage at the World Cup.
The government subsequently set up a presidential commission of inquiry to investigate the embarrassing episode.
8. Brochure Gafe
A brochure which was distributed during Ghana's 59th Independence Day celebration at the Black Star Square in March was found to contain several errors.
The brochure, which was characterised by incomprehensible grammatical expressions, poor spellings and a host of other inaccuracies, provoked public outrage.
Among the many mistakes in the brochure was the representation of Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, as the President of Ghana.
Some of the scandals have implications for the November elections, but President Mahama has attempted to portray them as evidence that his fight against corruption is bearing fruit.