You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2020 11 27Article 1119683

Opinions of Friday, 27 November 2020

Columnist: Charles Kofi Okese

Akufo-Addo tops corruption allegation list in Ghana's history

President Akufo-Addo President Akufo-Addo

A friend invited me to be the MC of his birthday party. I wanted to look good so I went shopping for some wears. I saw this Italian labelled pair of shoes with a fairly cheap price tag, and I bought it.

The day for the party came, but as soon as I set off, it started raining, and to my utmost embarrassment the soles of my designer "Italian shoes" came off. I had to go back home to get another pair of shoes. I called my friend the birthday boy to apologise for being late to the programme, and also explained to him what happened. He burst out into an uncontrollable fit of laughter and told me that the shoe I bought is called "ma tricky wo" meaning I have tricked you. Then I remembered the adage, "Not all that glitters is gold."

Before the 2016 general elections in Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo Addo was perceived as a great leader who had the potential of turning the fortunes of the country around. Some people even claimed he was incorruptible, but subsequent events have proven otherwise when Nana Akufo-Addo won the 2016 presidential election and became president of the Republic. His administration has witnessed newfangled levels of corruption never experienced since days of old.

And the electorates have cause to worry about the increasing dishonesty during Nana Akufo-Addo's political campaigns. He traded in deception to win votes but seems to ignore the fact that lying to the electorate undermines the trust of the people he is governing.

Unfortunately, the Akufo-Addo-led government in about four years in office has been hit with over 100 major scandals and still counting. These include Anas Aremeyaw Anas' Number 12 expose', BOST contaminated fuel, AMERI deal, Cash for Seat saga, Ghana Post GPS scandal, MASLOC deal, NLA scandals, MMT procurement scandal and the dubious $178 GVG Kelni/NCA deal.

There are more: USD2.25billion Kenbond scandal, Gh800,000 Website scandal, Cylinder Manufacturing Company stinking deal, NHIA expose' by the Auditor General, Australia 2018 Commonwealth Games Visa scandal, NIA dubious $1.22b national registration exercise, GNPC’s underpricing of Ghana’s crude oil, PDS foul-smelling scandal and the Agyapa stinking deal, just to mention a few.

In Ghana's historical events, all regime changes have been based on corruption allegations, and I am going to cite some examples as a justification for my argument. Ghana’s first President, like all other Presidents and Heads of State, had his own difficulties with corruption. He gave a fair and sincere account of the difficulties in fighting corruption in his government.

He wrote, “It is, therefore, natural for the masses to feel some resentment when they see comrades whom they have put in power and have given their mandate to serve the country on their behalf, begin to forget themselves and indulge in ostentatious living. . . .Some of us very easily forget that we ourselves have risen from among the masses.”

It was alleged that at the time of his overthrow in 1966, not only had Nkrumah depleted the £200 million reserves that the country had at the time of independence, but Ghana’s total external debt obligation soared to £349.2 million in 1964. The nation’s ability to service her external debt obligations decreased. Black marketing became a lucrative business; foreign exchange became the most valuable asset in the country. Foreign-owned banks grumbled at requirements forcing them to hold government securities against their deposits. Complaints about the difficulty of getting payment from Ghana started sending wrong signals to the outside world.

The main reason Col I.K. Acheampong gave for overthrowing Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia's government was corruption. Acheampong refused to pay debts accrued by Busia's government because he claimed those debts were incurred through corruption.

Interestingly, Acheampong who accused Busia of unscrupulousness was not spared when he took power as the Head of State. There were allegations that he, in league with his Commissioner for Industry, was depositing foreign currency into a Nigerian bank. This was reported by the New York Times in July 1979, the month after his execution alongside others.

It was also a public secret that General Acheampong was deeply buried in the violent destruction of the economy. His famous green ink (pen) was all that mattered; with a stroke, he ordered Directors of the Ministries of Trade and Finance, in particular, to issue out import licenses to his favourites, mostly young girlfriends and mistresses, with no reference to the Bank of Ghana for advice. Through official connections import licenses worth millions of cedis were issued to people supportive of the National Redemption Council and girlfriends of members of the government.

In all these, the over one hundred major corruption allegations against Akufo-Addo's government seem to be an all-time record in the annals of Ghana. Perhaps, the most puzzling shortcoming of his government in the fight of corruption is the hounding of the Attorney General, Daniel Dormelevo from office and the resignation of the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu.

Ghanaians have now realised that Akufo-Addo is not what he is purported to be. He has tricked the people of Ghana, and this has made him pathetically unpopular. It is unclear exactly what he will do to avert this quagmire with only two weeks to elections, but the omens are bad.