You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2014 02 21Article 301231

Opinions of Friday, 21 February 2014

Columnist: The Catalyst Newspaper

Corruption: Andrew Awuni, First Remove The Log On Your Eyes

"Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.”(Luke 6: 41-42)

Mr Andrew Awuni may not have gotten involved personally in any corrupt act whilst serving in government as press secretary to then President John Kofi Diawuo Agyekum Kufuor. But it is on record that his former boss was just recently described by another former president of the Republic of Ghana as an ‘Autocratic Thief’ who “stole massively” from the people of Ghana between 2001 and 2008. Mr Awuni’s silence on this matter speaks volumes.
We dare Mr Andrew Awuni to challenge former President Rawlings to show evidence of his (Awuni’s) former boss’ corrupt acts or forever hold his peace. This is because until a challenge of the corruption claims against former President Kufuor foists a process that exonerates him, Mr Andrew Awuni has no moral rights to accuse any other of corruption since he could have condoned the corrupt acts perpetuated by his former boss whom he had had to defend on a daily basis with all the tools at his disposal as press secretary.
How acceptable can it be that someone is seen not only to have condoned but defended acts of corruption in the past but turns round to style himself as an anti-corruption crusader today, when those past issues are not resolved?
Since the scathing description of Mr Awuni’s former boss by former President Rawlings as a true definition of corruption, we are yet to hear the self-styled anti-corruption crusader utter a word on the matter. Ironically however, the former press secretary is on the rampage with loud sounds from the rooftops, describing others in a name-calling frenzy as corrupt and incompetent as he spares no effort in seeking to denigrate the John Mahama-led NDC government.
We saw what happen principally in the sale of the hitherto collapsing Merchant Bank to Fortiz Equities and present issue of the falling cedi.
We on The Catalyst are not suggesting for a moment that Mr Awuni agrees with the comments of former President Rawlings, which accounts for his deafening silence on the matter, far from it. We are also not under the illusion that he would agree with our opinion of him, especially regarding his hypocritical stance on the issue of corruption in general. In fact, we will be surprised if he does since that is a practical impossibility as far as his ilk in the NPP is concerned.
Our position is clear, Mr Andrew Awuni cannot eat his cake and have it, and it is unheard of for him to be blowing hot and cold at the same time.
Of course, while in office, it is not impossible that Mr Awuni saw nothing about the rot that his former boss, then President John Agyekum Kufuor, presided over as the president of Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana. He probably did not see or, if he did, recognise that the kickbacks being collected at the Castle by his former boss, courtesy Harona Isseku’s shocking revelation, was a corrupt act at the highest level of the Ghanaian society.
We do not believe Mr Andrew Awuni was blind, deaf and dumb when his boss, Mr Kufuor presided over the collapse of and sale of Ghana Airways and sharing of the defunct airline’s properties among NPP persons and their cronies, in the name of sales and purchase agreements, not to talk about the purchase of government bungalows and lands in Kumasi and Accra by Mr Kufuor and his cronies at ridiculous prices.
Did Andrew Awuni hear that then President Kufuor deployed state resources to keep his self-confessed girlfriend, Gizelle Yajzi at a hotel, with security men paid with state resources to be keeping watch over her?
Did Andrew Awuni hear his former boss say in Cape Coast that he would not fight corruption in his government by bringing his corrupt ministers to book since that would destroy his government? What about his declaration on that same platform that corruption started from Adam?
Can Andrew Awuni beat his chest in all honesty today and tell the good people of Ghana that his former boss lived to the billing of his mantra “zero tolerance for corruption” when the evidence is that there was full tolerance for corruption under his watch?
Since he now holds himself up as an expert in determining corruption, let Mr Andrew Awuni tell Ghanaians what he thinks about how his former boss handled the issues of the sale of Ghana Telecom and Ghana’s oil find and subsequent agreements, especially the part that had to do with the EO Group.
At least, we know that former President Kufuor negotiated the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone personally. We also do know that the EO Group eventually pocketed a whopping $350million from Ghana’s oil find. On 26th May 2011, six months after production of crude oil in commercial quantities had begun in the Jubilee Fields, the EO Group, has decided to dispose of its 1.75% shares to Tullow at a cost of $305 million.
How come that Mr Kufuor allowed only two Ghanaians, Mr George Owusu, a former Country Director of Kosmos Energy, and Mr Bawuah Edusei, a former Ambassador to Switzerland and the US to grab so much money from our oil just because he claims they brought the multinational oil companies down to Ghana top begin their exploration offshore and subsequent oil find?
Since everything done under the NDC government borders on corruption in Mr Awuni’s estimation, let him tell us how he would describe this act if it was carried out under an NDC government.
As press secretary to former President Kufuor, Andrew Awuni defended every single act of his former boss. But a cursory look at the Kufuor regime further reveals certain interesting things, especially the involvement of his three children in national procurement contracts, drawing lots of controversy.
Mr Awuni would be aware that his boss’ first son, Chief Kufuor, was accused of fronting for his father by getting the state-owned National Investment Bank (NIB) to purchase the African Regent Hotel, nicknamed Hotel Kufuor (Wawa).
Mr Awuni cannot feign ignorance that his boss’ second son, Agyekum who got married to an American lady, and later declared himself bankrupt at his base in the US, got rehabilitated by Mr Kufuor, by awarding him a multimillion dollar Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) contract to supply prepaid meters to the state power distributor. It was without competitive tendering as spelt out by the procurement law.
Is Mr Awuni aware Mr Kufuor’s first daughter, Nana Ama Kufuor, was also awarded a contract to provide Chinese wax prints to the Ghana @ 50 Committee, which were distributed to Ghanaians for Ghana’s golden jubilee celebration?
Is Mr Awuni aware Nana Ama, again within the tenure of her father’s Presidency also got juicy District Assemblies contract to supply mathematical sets with her father’s picture embossed on them? They were compulsorily distributed to all Members of Parliament (MPs) before and after the Ghana @ 50 celebrations. It is a fact that the monies for the mathematical sets were deducted from the MPs Common Fund.
We can go on and on.
We would like to remind Mr Andrew Awuni that for then Vice President John Dramani Mahama to agree to be the guest speaker at the inaugural ceremony of his Centre for Freedom & Accuracy on that faithful day- where he even took a swipe at NDC foot soldiers for making demands on the Mills government for their pound of flesh- was a clear indication of his commitment to the fight of corruption. Most importantly, we do not want to believe that he chose the then vice president to be guest speaker on the occasion for nothing.
Mr Andrew Awuni must understand that he who calls for equity must surely come with clean hands. The log that we on The Catalyst can see on former President Kufuor’s eyes, and by extension therefore Mr Andrew Awuni’s eyes, is so huge that we wonder how he is able to steal a look at the speck on President John Dramani Mahama’s eyes and strangely enough, attempting to remove it.