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Opinions of Sunday, 7 January 2018

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Did Mahama really taunt Akufo-Addo over the contractor’s arrears?

I could not believe my eyes upon reading the excerpts of Ex-President Mahama’s speech at the NDC’s unity health walk at Techiman in the Brong-Ahafo Region on Saturday 6th January 2018(See: Mahama taunts Akufo-Addo to pay contractors; 3news.com/ghanaweb.com, 6/01/2018).

But in a desperate attempt to satisfy my curiosity, I decided to look for the actual voice or video clip of the said statement by His Excellency, former President Mahama.

Fortunately, though, I located a short video clip of Ex-President Mahama’s address during the NDC’s unity health walk at Techiman. Ex-President Mahama indeed bullyragged President Akufo-Addo to pay the contractors he, (Mahama) wilfully failed to honour.

The video clip, indeed, confirmed the said weird statement by former President Mahama. I could hardly end my puzzled countenance upon watching the video clip. I thought I was dreaming, but in fact, I was not. I was wild-awaked, after all. Well, wonders shall never end, they say.

Given the fact that Mahama’s government left huge debt amidst puzzling arrears for the incoming NPP government, one would have expected the officials of such coarse administration to show a little remorse, but this is not the case.

Believe it or not, there is admissible evidence of gargantuan bribery and corruption cases including monies that were given to individuals who did not render any services towards the national development. Madam Akua Donkor of GFP, so to speak, comes to mind.



Trust me, the funds involved in the bribery and corruption cases of SSNIT, SUBA, SADA, GYEEDA, Woyome, Bus branding, Brazil World Cup, NSS, amongst others would have reduced the contractors arrears drastically.

In fact, the rot in the erstwhile NDC government was so pervasive that even the diehard supporters expressed their displeasure and threatened to boycott the 2016 election.

Dearest reader, if you may recall, somewhere in February 2017, Vice President Dr Mahmoud Bawumiah broke the news about inflated cost in relation to the construction of a vice presidential palace.

Bizarrely, however, the officials of the erstwhile Mahama administration quickly came out and stated $5 million as the cost of the palace. However, according to an AESL (the contractors of the project) document intercepted by credible sources, the total cost of the project is $13,968,252.66 covering the cost of stone fencing works, hard wood panel doors, eternal electrification works, sculpture and emblems.

Incredibly, according to the AESL’s authentic document, a total amount of $8,179,138.95 had already been disbursed on the project with an outstanding amount of $5,789,113.71 left to be paid for completion.

Well, this is one of many outstanding arrears that former President Mahama is said to have taunted President Akufo-Addo to effect payment. How pathetic?

Despite the huge economic mess created by the outgone NDC government amid stunted economic growth, Akufo-Addo’s government has managed to settle some of the arrears to the delight of the contractors.

“Government has paid over one billion Ghana cedis within the past 11 months to road contractors as outstanding arrears for work executed during the previous government’s era, Mr Kwesi Amoako-Atta, the Minister of Roads and Highways, has disclosed.

“The Minister added that the government had made arrangement to disburse another GHC 120 million to road contractors whose arrears had been outstanding between two to five years.

“Mr Amoako-Atta made this known at the swearing-in of a nine-member Ministerial Advisory Board of the Ministry of Roads and Highways in Accra, on Thursday.

“Mr Amoako-Atta, who is also the Chairperson of the Advisory Board, said the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led government was poised to ensure regular payment of road contractors despite the financial challenges it was currently grappling with so as to ensure quality work delivery.

“He said the Road Fund, which was supposed to receive an average between GHC70 to GHC80million every month, had not gotten the required amount due to a loan the previous government contracted from the United Bank of Africa (UBA).

“The Minister said the Government was currently paying GHC 67million every month to the UBA to service the loan at an interest rate of 30 per cent, which would be completed by the end of August next year, therefore GHC 37 million was left in the Fund every month (Source: omanfm1071.com, 29/12/2017).”

Disappointingly, though, since the birth of Ghana’s Fourth Republic (from 1993 to present), the nation has revoltingly lost billions of dollars meant for developmental projects through unbridled sleazes and corruption.

Dearest reader, tell me, if the rampant bribery and corruption, dubious judgment debt payments, stashing of national funds by some greedy opportunists , misappropriation of resources and crude embezzlement of funds meant for developmental projects by some public officials do not warrant criminal charges, then where are we heading as a nation?

Well, we could only hope and pray that the Special Prosecutor will work studiously and assertively in our almost impossible fight against the existential sleazes and corruption that have stunted our development thus far.