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Opinions of Friday, 11 March 2011

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

Mahama: The Most Corrupt V.P. of the Fourth Republic.

After Anas A. Anas’ video about Cocoa smuggling along the Western corridor was released, three Cocoa purchasing companies were consequently banned from operating in the country. One of these companies was Amarjaro Holdings/Limited. But in less than six months, the ban on Amarjaro was magically and quietly lifted. As usual, the Mill- Mahama Administration would have succeeded in keeping Ghanaians in dark, had it not been for an expose, by the Sunday Times of UK, on a British Conservative MP’s dealings with Amarjaro Holdings, the banned company.

In the said article published by the Sunday Times – from documents obtained under UK’s Freedom of Information Act – the public official was sought by Amarjaro to lobby our Vice President on behalf of its interest. Our Vice President, the documents stated, promised to give the matter his utmost priority as soon as he returned home. True to his promise, the ban was lifted. According to the documents, our Vice President ‘sold out’ Ghana over dinner and a glass of wine – with the official – in a London restaurant. And that Amarjaro and the officials involved in the lobbying, later on, gloated over the speed with which the company’s operating status was restored. (Perhaps unprecedented in their dealings with high ranking corrupt officials of the Third World) Now it is not necessary to go into the catastrophic implications of the actions of the Vice President – they are self evident- but to say that this is the single most devastating act of corruption in the history of Ghana. No hyperbole here; this is an act in league with only Judas’, more serious than sedition and more dangerous than treason. It qualifies as an impeachable offence. For one need ‘no reminding’ that it is Cocoa we are talking about here. It is not some high ranking party officials putting up mansions all over the place or even giving a former president $5million to retool his factory. We are talking about an Industry that gave birth to a nation; the Industry that built our schools, roads, hospitals. In short, the Industry that built our nation, (which, in effect, makes anyone involved in corrupt practices in the industry, the number one nation wrecker, in this case, the Vice President, John Mahama). But destroying the Cocoa industry was not enough for our V.P!

After the Sunday Times expose came out, one would have expected, the P-ndc to, henceforth, severe ties completely with Amarjaro or distance itself from the Company. But true to the adage, ‘ a Crab really does not beget a bird’………. As it has turned out, the lobbying of our Vice President was just the beginning. A few days ago, the Mills-Mahama government announced that it was jumpstarting our cotton industry in the Northern Zone. Folks, guess which company was given the ‘contract’? Amarjaro Holdings. Double guess who made the announcement? Yep, you doubled guessed correctly, our Vice President, at one of the events in commemoration of March 6 in Tamale. (Apparently, the Mills-Mahama government inspired by precedents, precedents set by the Chairman’s 20 year corrupt reign, did not see anything wrong with rewarding the contract. After all, the Chairman and his cronies got away with similar misdeeds. The Chairman was even rewarded with two terms. He is currently enjoying life as an Ambassador of virtue yet fully clothed in vice)

Once again, it will be unnecessary to go into the implications of the Vice President’s actions and the image it presents to the world (to have a Veep involved with a corrupt company) - they are self evident - but to say that our Veep is the most corrupt vice president in the history of the Fourth Republic. It is not been suggested that Arkah, Mills and Aliu were incorruptible. Only God is incorruptible. But these men executed their duties with dignity and with principle. Arkah even paid for his principles with his life while Mills skillfully kept his corrupt thoughts under wraps until he ascended the ‘throne’. (Mills now lords over a den of corruption comparable only to the ‘forty princes’ Ali Baba dealt with. Their treasure domes are filled to the top. One can hardly see the ceilings of their caves).

Now, there are ‘veritable’ rumors that Mills is not going to run again, with all signs pointing to the vice president as Mills’ successor. (Evidently, the Chairman and his wife had ‘foreseen’ this, thus their early start.) But God is good. Ghanaians have been given a taste of the coming days of Mahama if he is given the nod (although I doubt if any other actions of the Veep would ever top the Amarjaro dealings). It is, therefore, up to citizens to pay heed to this premonition.

Using his Status as VP, he has single handedly overturn the tide against the fight to stop Cocoa smuggling in Ghana. All the painstaking investigations by the journalist have come to naught. The lower lever officials involved in the smuggling are walking around free. The company has been granted another ‘fat contract’. The Veep himself, more confident that ever, is currently on a pre-campaign tour. And to think that he is a heartbeat away from the Presidency……. what would he do - or would not do - when given the nod.

In a true democratic government, the VP would have quietly resigned and saves us the trouble. Unfortunately, a P-ndc government is in power. Luckily however, in two years, Ghanaians would be able to force the resignation of the Vice President, his party, government or whomever they present at the polls. It is, thus, crucial that Ghanaians exercise this option in 2012. For if Mills happens not run, the P-ndc would present one of two frontrunners: the most corrupt VP in the history of the Fourth Republic or the wife of the most corrupt President in our history, pick your choice. But bear in mind that we can’t afford to have a government that continues to support entities which are bent on wrecking our ‘Savior’, the Cocoa industry.

One important question remains, though. In the Sunday Times article, Amarjaro reportedly contributed almost a hundred thousand pounds to the Conservative MP and his party. So the question remains: how much did Amarjaro pay the Vice President? At what price did our Vice President sell the Nation’s birthright? Equally important: how much money have they promised the VP in the upcoming election?

Akwasi A. Afrifa Akoto.