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Opinions of Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Columnist: Annor, Joseph

President Mahama shrugs off Bugri’s corruption allegation

By Joseph Annor

Undoubtedly, corruption allegations have been level against President Mahama and his Government more than any of his predecessors during the 4th republic, and perhaps more than any other Ghanaian government including even General Acheampong.

Moreover, most of corruption allegations against the previous governments were mainly based on perceptions rather than proven facts. For example, Rawlings’ Government was perceived to be corrupt but most of the allegations are still unproven.

The same applies to President Kuffour. For example, Dr Anane was accused of being corrupt based on the quantum of money he sent for his child maintenance in the US, however, an official investigation could not establish any wrong doing.

Similarly, under President Mahama there have been many corruption allegations that are based on perception and as such still unproven. For example, it is alleged that Afriyie Ankrah as Sport Minister and others engaged in corruption during the world cup in Brazil but the allegation is still unproven.

On the other hand, there are several corruption scandals against President Mahama’s Government including GYEDA, SADA, judgement payment to Wayome and the Smarttys bus branding saga, which the facts of corruption have been proven. In the case of the bus branding and others, the Government own enquiries confirmed wrong doing. However, the Government has virtually left the culprits of these illegal acts scot-free by showing no interest in prosecuting them.

Although, while the President might not have directly been involved in all the above corruption cases, the fact that he has been complacent to ensure that justice is served means that any blame is put squarely at his feet. The President and his Government have treated the corruption scandals without seriousness and the perpetrators who are cronies of the President or supporters of NDC Government have gone unpunished.

In fact, just about two weeks or so, the OccupyGhana Group produced a document which shows that despite Wayome treating Ghana and state institution like Supreme Court with impunity by refusing to refund the money he duped Ghana of, the Government is entering into another dubious agreement with him.

When I read about it, I asked myself, is the government arrogant or stupid? Which sensible government will tolerate Wayome again with his so called “financial engineering”. Wayome lawyer recently stated that Wayome is also entitled to eat. Of course that is true, but no sensible government will entertain Wayome at all.

Wayome does not only have to eat by duping Ghana, he can also do any other thing just like others do. If others struggle to engage in “Kayayo” and other things in order to eat, why can’t he also do the same but only interested in acting as parasite on the Ghanaian tax payers and engaging in spurious deals?

Interestingly, it is not only NPP members who are accusing the Government of being complacent in retrieving the money from Wayome, some NDC members such Mr Amidu are at the forefront of getting the money retrieved, and President Rawlings has genuinely described Wayome as a thief.

More importantly, some other corruption allegations have involved the President Mahama himself including:

• the allegation that as a Vice President, he inflated the prices of the aircraft Ghana acquired from Brazil which he was the chief negotiator. And President Mill set a committee to investigate him.

• accepting a Ford Expedition SUV as a gift from a Burkinabe contractor who his Government had given him a contract to construct a fence around Ghana Embassy in Burkina Faso at an inflated price.

• as a Vice President, he led the negotiation for the STX building project which despite all the advice that it was not a good deal, the Government went on with the deal and when it failed Ghana lost close to $300 million for no job done. It is alleged the President benefited financial from negotiating the deal.

While the president has so far got away with the corruption allegations against him, just about week or so ago, another one came up that he and his brother Ibrahim Mahama, sought to bribe the NPP Chairman of Northern Region, Mr Bugri Naabu with large amount of cash and expensive cars so that Mr Bugri Naabu would leave NPP and accuse Nana Akuffo Addo as ethnocentric, just as they have used Haruna Atta to do.

Since the story appeared public, neither the President nor his brother has said anything to deny it. However, some NDC members and another brother of the President have tried to deny the allegation as summarised below:

• Koku Anyidoho (Deputy General Secretary of NDC) stated: “It’s a criminal offence to be bribed under the laws of Ghana, so the police should pick up Bugri Naabu for taking bribe.”

• Kofi Adams (also Deputy General Secretary of the NDC) described the allegations as “cock and bull stories.”

• Asiedu Nketia (General Secretary of NDC) stated only fools will believe NPP’s bribery story.

• Alfred Mahama (the senior brother of President John Mahama and Ibrahim Mahama) stated that "…When I heard NPP's allegations, I was sad because it's false", he said, adding: "We won't bribe Bugri Naabu to join
NDC because he will not add anything to the arty". "Ibrahim is a benevolent man. Many NPP members have benefited from his kindness. I leave them to posterity".

In my view, none of the above reactions actually rebut the allegation that Bugri Naabu has made against the President and his brother. In fact, the statement of Alfred Mahama appears to confirm that the President and Ibrahim actually provided Bugri with the gifts except he appears to trivialize it that this was not the first time that Ibrahim had given him the gift.

Whether Alfred Mahama’s claim is true or not is irrelevant. What is important is that according to Bugri Naabu, the gifts in question were offered with the sole intention of corrupting him so that he could lie against Nana Akuffo Addo. Thus, the gifts in question were special ones based on the alleged motive, the circumstance under which they were offered and/or promised, the value involved, the timing of it and so forth.

We all know that the President fearing that he may lose the elections has tried desperately himself to tag Nana Addo as divisive and ethnocentric.

However, it appears the voters are more interested in matters concerning the economy than propaganda and lies. In fact, other NDC people have even accused Nana Akuffo Addo as being a murderer and etc., yet no one is listening to these sort of lies except the core NDC supporters.

In any case, Koku Anyidoho’s argument that the police should pick up Bugri Naabu because he has offended by taking bribe is laughable. What Koku either ignorantly or mischievously does not realise is that if anything at all, the President and his brother are the worse culprits for offering the bribes, particularly, in a situation where the recipient did not solicit for it.

With regarding the bribe, Manasseh Azure (the respected Joy FM Journalist) has stated that bribes are not given with receipts and documentation. But in this case, the vehicle has a paper trail. The vehicle was owned by a company with one of the two owners being the President’s special aid, Frank Nuhu Alormasor. Therefore, the burden of proof [whether the President and his brother sought to bribe Bugri Naabu or not] is not on NPP. It is on Mr. Alormasor.

Accordingly, I concur that the President and his brother cannot simply sweep this matter under the carpet otherwise it will one day come home like a chicken to roost them. In fact, it is naïve to think that this scandal and others including the attempt to give another contract to Wayome will not affect the electoral fortunes of the President given that the issues are still fresh and close to the Election Day.

In conclusion, the above issues and others such as the gold of Ghana found in the Iranian plane at Turkey and etc. clearly indicate that President Mahama is the most corrupt president/head of state to have ever ruled Ghana. And that even Gen Acheampong was not as corrupt as this president.

While the NDC people are boosting about the so called “unprecedented infrastructure” the primary question is at what cost did they build them? For example, Mr Agyarko disclosed recently that: “Nii Laryea Afortey Agbo, Greater Accra Minister inaugurated a six class room block at 510,000 cedis.

Some 20 days later, MTN inaugurated a fully furnished six class room block at 170,000 cedis.” In other words, it costed the Government 3 times the amount MTN used to build the same or similar school block. And obviously it is John Mahama and his cronies that are benefitting from this extra 200% cost they used to build the school block. After all it is government money so they can recklessly misuse it without rendering any account.

Ladies and gentlemen, I can tell you that his is not an isolated case as this is the way that the Government has operated since its inception. In fact, many of us take loans, credit cards and etc in our personal capacity, to buy houses, cars and etc. However, it is important that whatever loan or credit card that one takes the person has the ability to service the loan.

One even has to take into account that interest rate can go up and in the worst scenario one can lose his job or even fall sick. Therefore, all these factors must be considered when obtaining a loan or credit card. Thus with such prudent approach, in the unlikely event of the occurrence of any of the aforesaid events, the impact on the borrower may be minimal, and this is how a responsible person acts.

The same principle should apply to a government but what have we seen about President Mahama and his Government. He claims he is undertaking unprecedented infrastructure but at certain point he had to run for IMF bailout for the Government to continue to function.

This simply shows that they are poor economic managers because a reasonable person or government should not borrow beyond his or its means, otherwise, it is an act of recklessness. And this is exactly what the Government has done.

In any case, if their so called unprecedented infrastructure is true as they would like us to believe, why is it that it is not generating jobs and more people are becoming unemployed? Unless they created the two million jobs that Ablakwah said the Government had created but never existed.

In short, I earnestly entreat all Ghanaians to vote massively against President John Mahama and his Government because they are not serving your interest but their own parochial interest. Mr Mahama is very incompetent, selfish and corrupt.

He cannot help Ghana, so your destination is now in your own hands, you can change it for better on the voting day or stay with him, and he and his family, cronies and core party members will continue to grow filthy rich while you as the masses become poorer and poorer.