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Opinions of Thursday, 29 November 2012

Columnist: Amponsah, Joseph

"Even Asiedu Nketia has gained some weight"

"Even Asiedu Nketia has gained some weight" (Allotey Jacobs) –The sign of the mother of all corruptions

The result of a survey conducted this year by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) indicated that 63% of the respondents consider Ghana economy to be bad. Despite this, in January 2012, Mr Allotey Jacobs, the Central Region Communication Director and Propaganda Secretary of NDC stated that under the NDC government "Better Ghana” agenda, Ghana has improved and that "even Asiedu Nketia has gained some weight" http://politics.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201201/80638.php). The purpose of this article is to discuss why despite that according to the survey, the majority of Ghanaians believe that the economy is bad, yet, Mr Allotey Jacobs and his likes believe that the economy is good.

By virtue of his position in NDC, Mr Allotey has been appointed a board member of the Ghana Electricity Corporation (GEC) and earns gargantuan salary and other entitlements; when Ghanaians are experiencing rampant electricity load shedding and blackouts, despite paying exorbitant charges for the unreliable electricity supply. In October 2012, the GEC announced that the load shedding may continue to 2013 http://edition.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201210/94807.php. While Mr Allotey Jacobs and his fellow directors are drawing fat salaries and other emoluments, they are not offering any solution to reduce the load shedding. According to an investigation conducted by the Investigative Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw, in January 2011 alone, Mr Allotey Jacobs was paid a whooping GH¢ 9,208 as a board member of GEC. And for the period of eleven months between January 2011 and November 2011, Mr Allotey Jacobs earned a total of GH¢ 68,836 from GEC, consisting of his base salary and payments for some ridiculous claims. Add 4 zeros to this amount and it comes to ¢688,360,000 (688.36 million) old Ghana cedis (See (http://fairreporters.net/investigative-headlines/stealing-the-peoples-power-in-ghana/#). This is the reason why Mr Allotey Jacobs feels that the Ghana Better agenda is working, as he forgets that majority of Ghanaians are not in a similar position. Despite the huge salary Mr Allotey Jacob is enjoying at GEC, he is not satisfied and therefore, he is reported to have been engaged in counter accusation with Hon. Ama Benyiwa Doe (Central Regional Minister), with each accusing the other of hijacking the awarding of contracts and the accompanying kickbacks in the Central Region.

Like Allotey Jacobs, Mr Asiedu Nketia has gained weight because as a General Secretary of NDC, he has been appointed as a board member of the Bui Dam Project. However, the manner that Mr Asiedu is exploiting his position for financial gain is significantly far worse than that of Mr Allotey Jacobs. Mr Asiedu Nketia has his own block factory and he sells the blocks from his factory at 250% (two and half times) the market price to the Bui Dam Project. In other words, if for instance, one can buy 10 blocks from other block manufacturers at ¢20, Asiedu Nketia is selling the same quantity of similar blocks to the Bui Dam Project at ¢50. So sweet for him, he is milking Ghana absolutely dry. By the way, when he was questioned about this greed, corruption and conflict of interest, the only sensible answer he could give was that his blocks are better quality. No idiot will buy this silly, absurd and flimsy explanation. He should tell us whether he is using blood as water, cement imported from heaven and sand from the moon to make the blocks, in order to justify his greed and exploitation of Ghana. It is not surprising that he is already building two huge mansions, one in Accra and the other in Kumasi, although, he has denied the Kumasi one, it appears he is not being truthful. Meanwhile in 2011, it was reported that the late President Mills seized from Mr Joe Gidisu, the Minister of Roads and Highways, the latest model of BMW 7 series luxury car, because the President was not happy about the fraudulent manner Mr Joe Gidisu came by the car. A similar car is shown in the photo above and it costs up to $140,000 in the US. When Mr Gidisu was questioned about the car, he explained that as the Minister of Roads and Highways, he purchased the luxury car as an integral part of the Accra-Ofonko road project; as it is a standard practice of his ministry and other ministries to acquire cars when implementing projects. Further, the vehicle cost was a provision in the contract sum, which necessitated the contractor, China Railway Wuju Group Corporation, to purchase it in advance but in a letter dated May 2, 2011 to the ministry, demanded payment for the vehicle after they had purchased it. Folks, this is what is happening in Ghana. Seriously, the Minister’s explanation is not sensible and credible at all.

Firstly, assuming that ministers buy cars as part of project costs; does it make sense that Mr Joe Gidisu would buy the luxury BMW specifically as part of the Ofankor-Achimota road construction project, instead of something like a four wheel drive Jeep or so? Does the Minister require this sort of car to travel in port holes to inspect the project? Also, on what basis did the Minister select only this car as part of the contact cost? Clearly, it appears that the Minister was guided by his own selfish interest rather than the interest of the project, when buying the car. The car was simply not suitable for the purpose it was acquired and it appears, the Minister placed his own comfort and luxury ahead of the interest of the project. I am even inclined to believe that he had the aim of transferring the car to his name after using the car for some few years, by paying just a small amount, as Tony Aidoo has done recently by acquiring a Ford Explorer belonging to the state at very ridiculous price of GH¢6,200, instead of the estimated market value of GH¢60,000. Clearly, the Minister’s greed and ostentatious life has serious impact on the overall cost and quality of the project.

Dear reader, the few examples discussed above are clear indication of the unprecedented high level of corruptions in the NDC government, that is why Mr Rawlings has become a thorn in the flesh to the party he founded himself. Folks, I do not need to remind you that since NDC came into power, they have suspiciously paid some dubious judgement debts exceeding $600 million. Mr Wayome alone, who has confirmed not having any contract and therefore, any business with Ghana, received a gargantuan GH¢51 million. An EOCO interim report has indicated that for two good occasions, the late President Mills directed that Mr Wayome should not be paid, but his ministers, particularly, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, ignored the directives and went ahead to pay the money. This Betty Mould-Iddrisu was the same person who as the Minister of Education, explained that school buildings built at ¢80 million in 2008 under Mr Kuffour's government is being built at ¢275 million, because that is the cost that consultants have given them. Why would they not accept the obvious hugely inflated costs, as they all have shares in the profit?

In fact, President Mahama himself has been accused of being corrupt. For instance, according to Mr Amidu, the late President Mills set up a Committee of Enquiry to investigate whether John Mahama-led team was diligent, truthful, incorrupt, patriotic, prudent and authorised to acquire five jets for Ghana. But the Committee became defunct before it would begin its work, because the late President Mills was prevailed upon to discard the idea because the investigation of the then Vice President Mahama, other NDC members and some top military officers, who negotiated the deal to buy the aeroplanes, would have had significant ramifications for NDC. President Mahama is again, the person who led the government team to negotiate the STX deal, which from all indication, was seriously entangled in corruption. Despite NPP and other interested parties advising prudently against the deal, Mr Mahama and his NDC party insisted pursuing the deal until it fell over, yet, it is claimed that the aborted project has already caused Ghana more than $300 million. Some members of the Ghana delegation team accepted bribes while in Korea, and when they were questioned, Alan Bagbin, one of the delegates argued that they only collected things like camera from the STX Company in Korea. Dear Ghanaian votes, I strongly advise you that four years is a very long time and therefore, any decision made on 7 December may have serious consequence on Ghanaians and the generation unborn. Since NDC came to power they have not achieved any tangible things that have improved the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian. Records indicate that current NDC government has borrowed money from overseas more than all the previous government combined, yet they do not have any reasonable results to show for the money borrowed, as they have wasted them on payment of dubious judgment debts and huge inflated contracts, the profits they share among themselves and their cronies, why the ordinary Ghanaian has the difficult to put food on the table for the family. To the people of Western Region, Mr Mahama himself deceitfully promised you in 2008 that if they should win power, they would give you 10% of the oil revenue, where is the fulfillment of the promise?

Also, they deceitfully promised in 2008 to put money in your pocket, instead they are sharing your money with their cronies. They promised to reduce petrol price drastically, but has increased it drastically on several occasions. The exchange rate for the cedi has experienced free fall. They simply do not have answers for your economic problems.

They are only using deceit and propaganda to deceive you. So please, as 7 December 2012 is fast approaching, make your mind with millions of Ghanaians to vote out the incompetent and corrupt NDC government out of power, to prevent your country from becoming bankrupt, as the traces of their corruption are all over the place.

By: Joseph Amponsah