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General News of Tuesday, 2 June 2015


NPP cannot pay me to work for OccupyGhana – Ace Ankomah

Private legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah has dismissed as churlish and an absolute absurdity suggestions he is being sponsored by the NPP to make the government unpopular.

“I mean seriously, (do) you really think the NPP can pay me? So when the legal team is meeting and the accounting team is meeting [to pore over hundreds of pages], the NPP is paying"? he asked.

He said the campaign being waged by OccupyGhana for the protection of public money and retrieval of same from persons and companies who have unlawfully obtained any such money is a national duty.

In any case, "This is the country's money. Does it matter who asks for it"?

He said it is regrettable that some people in Ghana do not think beyond partisan politics. "Let them remain in that cocoon where they think that everything must be partisan politics. Some of us, respectfully, are beyond that. I mean who in the NPP will call me and give me instructions,"? he chuckled.

A founder member of pressure group, OccupyGhana, Mr. Ankomah has consistently been tagged as a New Patriotic Party surrogate.

The group itself has been accused of being a creation of the NPP designed to achieve political objectives by portraying the government as corrupt.

OccupyGhana has been at the forefront of a relentless campaign against corruption, demonstrating a rare personal commitment and willingness to take on state institutions and insist that they carry out their mandate of protecting the public purse.

The Auditor-General, whose annual ritual of pointing out financial malfeasance and maladministration hasn’t yielded any results, has been the target of the group’s missiles.

The group has asked him to exercise his constitutionally guaranteed powers to disallow certain expenditures and surcharge errant public officials responsible for unlawful expenditures.

Monday, June 1, 2015, OccupyGhana turned the nozzle of its guns on the Youth and Sports Minister, demanding answers on a historical scandal at the National Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA).

It says the Auditor-General's report on the operations and transactions of the NYEP/GYEEDA expose the arcane details of horrendous and questionable disbursements of money from the public purse.

The OccupyGhana statement recounted constitutional violations in the payment of money to some companies under dubious circumstances.

The pressure group says it is concerned by various acts of financial impropriety captured in the Auditor-General report.

Pointing out the use of public funds outside of the Consolidate Fund, OccupyGhana said a total of GH¢136,820,153.15 was disbursed to the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA).

This disbursement, it argues was in contravention of the 1992 Constitution which states in part in Article 176 that all monies collected on behalf of the government shall be paid into a Consolidate Fund.

In spite of this provision, the money was collected from the Communication Service Tax (CST) and paid directly to GYEEDA or its predecessor, National Youth Employment Programme.

OccupyGhana cited budget overruns in the operations of GYEEDA as one of its main concerns.

It said contrary to Article 178(2) of the constitution, GYEEDA spent extravagantly far above its budgetary allocation for 2012.

The provision states that “No monies shall be withdrawn from any public fund, other than the Consolidated Fund and the Contingency Fund, unless the issue of those monies has been authorised by or under the authority of an Act of Parliament.”

However, “GYEEDA was provided with public funds in excess of its statutory budgetary provision of GH¢20,000,000 for 2012, to the tune of a colossal GH¢199,311,753, released through your Ministry’s accounts,” a statement issued by the pressure group in Accra noted.

It listed Asongtaba Cottage Industries Limited, RLG Communications Limited, Zeeera Group Company, Craftpro Limited, New Vision Consult, Ghana Young Artisans Movement, Jioogiwu Agriculture Training Centre, Centre for Development Partners, Ghallywood African Film Village, Goodwill International Group/MDPI, and Seiwa Engineering Works as companies cited by the audit report as having questions to answer.

Mr. Ankomah said he unperturbed by the political tag on him.

He said more is yet to come as the group which emanated from an unprecedented protest by middle-class citizens last year prepares to mark the first anniversary of the historic protest.