You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2016 03 14Article 423323

Opinions of Monday, 14 March 2016

Columnist: Sydney Casely-Hayford |

Ghana’s Most Corrupt

When I was a much younger person, with strong bow legs, a full afro head of hair, twinkling eyes and a cheeky smile to boot (I am looking at one of my old pictures so I don’t paint a rosier picture) my Independence Day celebration was caught up with marching for the Osu Home School, proud to be leading the flag in the scorching sun and cooling off afterwards at home with family to be raged by stories of the struggle, either from my parents or my grandfather, depending on what assignment he had.

The night celebration was the show. A full Military tattoo with two competing units of the military assembling and disassembling a cannon from one end of the national stadium to the other and the winning cannon signaling success of the team that performed faster and more efficiently. I enjoyed those days. They were coordinated and interesting and we had the best seats in the stands, granddaddy being a member of cabinet and all, and most importantly, we spent the whole day really understanding what the struggle meant and why we decorated some members of the army and renewed our pledges to stay true to the cause.

So this year we again did the same. Slightly differently, but same nonetheless. We celebrated mediocrity and clapped away our infrastructure deficiencies.

Journalists were hurdled into the back of a tipper truck as a sign of how disrespectful we have become of their profession. And they climbed up that ladder into the back of that tipper, which we use for hauling trash and still proudly came back to crow that they had managed to capture images of the event.

I asked a good journalist friend of mine whether he felt that if his station had not managed to get any pictures for their online media, they would have lost readers. Is their audience being selective enough to decide to switch from one station to the next because they did not get a close up shot of Uhuru Kenyatta?

In this era when we still use old recycled pictures of JJ and Konadu even though are right under our very noses? We can do a story of Dr. Kofi Wampah’s daughter married to a drug dealer and the picture used for the story is the Bank of Ghana. And who doesn’t read the story because of that?

I would have shouted loudest from the roof for the station that boycotted that tipper truck as a matter of principle and determination to make change. Everyday they urge listeners and contributors to take a stand against what is wrong, but now it is their turn? Ah, maybe they see themselves fit to be tipped out whenever. All in the name of “soli”

In Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Rwanda where we all have family and friends these days, the embarrassment was beyond explaining. A cacophony of sniggering we are allocating to a printer’s devil.

Ghanaians are looking for a loincloth in which to bury their shame.

Was this sabotage? Some friends of mine are suggesting so. But who was the target? The highly egotistical Mr. Stan Dogbe, now a pivot of embarrassment, has suggested there are persons so envious of his proximity to the President they will do anything to make him look ridiculous. Should I have time for this? I am saying that if in this Ghana, he and Steve Obimpeh were part of a committee set up to handle independence day celebrations and neither one of them can hand over the name of the printer or the contractor, then it is a cover up, which would imply the person behind it will be severely discomfited if revealed.

I have had several power interruptions this week and I am not amused. I will not be so disingenuous to say there has not been an improvement in the supply, but damn it, let no person go and stand anywhere and crow as if there is no longer “dumsor” in Accra.

If you had a chance to follow the so called debate on the State of the Nation address in Parliament, you should be just as disappointed as I am at the spectacle we have created for ourselves by electing a group of so called legislators, who only needed a new fad to carry on the joking.

We started with “evidence-based” and then dramatically evolved into “withdraw and re-submit”. And the way they took to it. After the Speaker had taken the whip to a handful of them for not following the laid down protocol, Members then started the process of turning this vacuous event into a case of charades.

“I have a document I am quoting from; can you guess what it is? Mine is the original, yours is a copy. So now what do you say? Please withdraw”.

Parliament is one of the key reasons we are in the deep of our boondocks. You are torn between two minds whether to support the idea that we should only qualify persons with a basic university degree into parliament and hope we get some caliber of debate, or leave it this way to fester and destroy our cultural tapestry.

Doesn’t it occur to anyone that we can fix what is wrong in this country with a few strongly minded and dedicated persons? That is what a political party is supposed to do. Find the right synergies and piece them together. So why is this NDC just so confused? If they thought it would be easy, well they have had a large chunk of time to fix or mess. Time to urge them out.

After setting the platform Parliamentary jokes to begin, our President then sauntered off to create the even bigger joke of the year so far. Appoint Jomo Kenyatta’s son his co-President and I just feel so let down.

I spent most of this week reading through the Auditor General’s report, which I do most of the time when I get a copy. They just released the report on Ministries, Departments and Agencies for 2014 this week. I was looking for some stuff on the GYEEDA matters, but they swerved it out.

However, in summary, the Auditor tags the Ministry of Finance as the most corrupt, citing tax irregularities.

Tax, cash, Loans, payroll, stores/procurement, rent and contracts. All across board they are stealing the money and nobody is holding them to account.

My Most corrupt institution in this country is the Auditor General. Corruption is not only about taking cash from a kitty; that is theft. When you don’t do your job properly and allow others to get away with irregularities because you are seemingly incapable, it puts you out there with the most dangerous criminal within.

From the Audit Report.

“The overall financial impact of weaknesses and irregularities identified amounted to GH¢252,786,587. Tax irregularities amounting to GH¢217,186,533 was recorded during the year under review. The irregularities could be traced mainly to delays in the transfer of GcNET Revenue by GCB Bank and failure to collect tax revenue. We recommended that GRA should take steps to improve the efficiency of its tax administration to minimise the risk of delays and loss of tax revenue. Tax payers’ education should also continue”.

This is how he addresses the problem! GCB Bank, which is the clearly identified culprit is not even singled out other than the notoriety of a mention.

And because I am writing this piece on Monday instead of my usual Sunday slot, let me just say a few things about the “Printer’s Devil”. It is time President John Mahama did some of three things. Either he stops committing the blunder that he has a better command of the English language than any of us in Ghana; he stops displaying so much ignorance with the way things ought to be in this Ghana; or he stops pretending he is unaware of anything happening around him. He can do all.

Does he seriously want us to believe he doesn’t know who printed the Independence Day brochure? He comes to sit on TV and tell us the mistakes are due to the Printer’s Devil. I could use heavier language.