General News of Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Source: Daily Guide

Rot at GIPC; GhC20,000 blown on birthday, Ghc4000 for footsoldiers

There is anger at Ghana’ investment gateway, the Ghana Invest Promotion Council (GIPC), following reports of wanton dissipation of public funds for personal use at the place.

The latest in the series of revelations on the trend of questionable expenditure at GIPC is the approval in April 2012 of GhC20, 000 as spending money for the celebration of the 70th birthday of GIPC’s Board Chairman, Ishmael Yamson.

Even before the dust of the Ghc4000 doled out to support the John Mahama could settle, Daily Guide is privy to veritable evidence in the form of an executive memo written by Vivian Agyapong, the Administrative and Protocol Officer of the GIPC, to the Chief Executive Officer, George Aboagye, on April 26, 2012.

In the memo, the officer suggested to the CEO that due to the exemplary work done by the Board Chairman which had translated into growth in volumes and value of investment to Ghana during his tenure, the Chairman deserved a befitting birthday package.

She estimated that Ghc20, 000 would be an ideal contribution from GIPC for a lavish birthday gift.

“You will no doubt agree that since Mr. Ishmael Yamson took over as Chairman of the Board, the centre has achieved remarkable successes in its investment promotion, which has resulted in exponential growth of both in volume and value of FDI registration as well as actual establishment of enterprises within Ghana,” the memo said.

She therefore suggested, “In this connection, Management wishes to propose an amount of Ghc20, 000 as contribution towards his 70th birthday celebration.” The birth contribution received an instant approval from the CEO, Mr Aboagye, who instructed on the memo that very day, April 26, 2012.

The process was expedited by the acting Deputy Director of Finance of GIPC who instructed one Matilda, an accounts officer, to pay in cash.

In his note on the memo, the finance director asked Matilda to change the fact that funds were “contribution” to “donations”. Consequently, the GIPC instructed Ecobank to pay the cash to Mr. Yamson.

CEO’s Dual Role

It is unclear why some of these private requests for funds are honoured by the GIPC.

Critics contend that it could be due to the political affiliation of the GIPC‘s boss to the NDC. He is an NDC parliamentary candidate actively engaged in the party’s political activities as he is contesting in the Ahanta West Constituency in the Western Region.

Even though he is now a confirmed politician, he is still drawing salaries from the GIPC.

160 million Cedis MD’s Pay

An official memo in the possession of Daily Guide indicates that Mr Aboage total monthly take-home salary is GHc15, 830.64(158.3 million old cedis) and he has been drawing this amount since he openly declared his intention to contest on an NDC ticket.

The public service legislation required such officers to vacate their seats in instances like that.

When contacted on telephone on Monday, Mr Aboagye told Daily Guide that he had been on official leave since October 2012.

But the money paid to the Mahama campaign boys was in November and was signed by Mr Aboagye himself. When asked to confirm if he deliberately applied for leave to circumvent the requirement to vacate his seat because of his political engagements, he answered, “well, yes I haven’t taken my leave and I took my leave. When my leave finishes, my stay there [GIPC] finishes.”

The GPC boss’s leave ends at the end of December. “I will use the occasion to end my stay there; I am not going back to GIPC in 2013.

But anti-corruption crusader Vitus Azeem of the Ghana Integrity Initiative disagrees with the strategy of politically oriented public servants to proceed on leave when they are expected to vacate their post due to their political activities.

“The point is that if you are a public servant, and you have to come on air on a political party’s platform and canvass for one party, when that party does not win, how will the wining party works with you? Ethically, it is not even proper for you to disclose where you belong.

“There could be issues of conflict of interest, it could affect the way you perform if your party does not win,” noted Vitus Azeem.