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Opinions of Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Columnist: Kyei-Mensah-Osei, Kofi

The NDCs Gift of $42 Million and the Murky Cocaine

Turned Sodium Bi-Carbonate Saga

The President promised us an “Action Year” in the year 2011 but he rather took us on a rickety trotro ride on pot-holed and bumpy roads across the length and breadth of the country. Phew! What a ride!! Thank God that this bone-shaking ride is nearly at end. Three more days to but gosh, Ghanaians can’t wait to see the end of this rough ride!! Many had welcomed the Prof’s promise of an “Action Year” with glee but the aftermath of the promise has been lots of sorrow and gnashing of teeth to the ordinary Ghanaian: for shortly after his promise, prices of petroleum products soared. Then came the shortage of gas in the country with people having to queue for weeks to have their cylinders filled. STX housing project is yet to take off after so many promises. We haven’t forgotten how the NDC government entered into a dubious agreement to purchase 5 Embraer Jets which would have caused the state an additional $25 million per each of the aircraft purchased. Our rickety “action year” ride has also uncovered that $480 million of our oil revenue have vanished into thin air. With all theses happening, our President has buried his head in the sand. The first gentleman of the land has said and done nothing. The list of the heinous crimes being perpetuated against our country by the men and women in power is endless. It is daylight robbery!! Mother Ghana is literally being raped with the aggression of men and women on a combination of Viagra and akpeteshie bitters! Only the President and his henchmen can tell us whether the former’s “Action Year” has been a blessing or a curse to the country. Tongues are wagging and Ghanaians are really agitated about some of the things that have happened in the country especially in this inaction year. Sorry, I meant “action year”.

With the coming to an end of the inaction year 2011, some of us assumed that we have seen the end of the depravity the country was being put through but we were wrong as more horrendous secrets have been uncovered. Unfortunately, the future does not look any better as the recent revelations about the corruption in the corridors of power only brings repugnant stench in our nostrils. The stench goes right up to the throne of the asomdwee hene at the castle and no amount of political frankincense or mur could mask it. The shocking revelation of the Attorney General office entering into a clandestine agreement with an individual to pay him an amount of $42 million for no work done borders on criminal negligence and “causing financial loss to the state”.. For Ebo Barton-Odro, the Deputy Attorney-General to claim on a national radio station in Accra that his office did not contest the case because the state of Ghana “…had no defence…” against such monstrous financial sodomy borders on negligence and sheer incompetence! The state of Ghana does not enter into contracts with individuals and certainly not a certain Alfred Agbesi Woyome! An invitation to bid is not a contract. Do countries who bid for CAF, FIFA Football World Cup Tournaments and Olympic Games sue the respective bodies when they fail to win the bid? Sadly, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Alex Segbefia was on also on “Joy News File” on Saturday, 17th December virtually repeating Ebo Barton-Odro’s mantra that “…the government had a bad case and that was why the NDC administration did not contest the matter…” The Deputy Attorney General and the Deputy Chief of Staff’s assertion were undoubtedly the stance of the government and one wonders how the former’s office sought for a “stay of execution” as far back as 6th September 2010 and got it under His Lordship I O Tanko Amadu? Why the Attorney General decided to seek “stay of execution” in a case it knew from the onset that it was bad case is pertinent question which must be answered. Was the Deputy Attorney General just to wasting the state’s resources by contesting a “bad case” as Alex Segbefia, the Deputy Chief of Staff would want us to believe then? It is also on record that the then Attorney General Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu sought “an order to set aside the said consent judgement filed ……” where His Lordship Mr I O Tanko Amadu accordingly granted the stay of execution on the premise that since the payment of the date for the first instalment of $17,094,493.53 was overdue, that instalment should be paid to Mr Woyome pending the final adjudication of the suit filed by the Attorney General. However, before the final determination of the Attorney General suit, someone went through the backdoor and paid Mr Alfred Woyome all the 3 instalments of the above amount and even more as the total amount paid was in excess of $52 million.

Typically, President Mills is giving us the impression that he knows nothing about this payment and has called for a report. Prof Mills is either a shameless dye-in-the-wool hypocrite or physically blind who can’t see these figures when they are written down. Ghanaians could forgive the President if could not see but Prof Mills should tell us if he is deaf as well. This monstrous amount was captured in the budget read by the Finance Minister, Kwabena Duffuor. Is the President deaf not to have heard about this massive payout when he presided over cabinet to discuss the budget before it was presented to parliament? Why did he not say anything about it then? Did President Mills have to wait for the opposition to bring this matter up before he requests for a report? If the President indeed knew nothing about the payment of such a huge amount of money to an individual after one and half years then I’m really worried about Ghana’s wellbeing. What else doesn’t our President know then? President Mills should save us his crocodile tears. Ghanaians have seen through his pretence. He does not care. We are sick and tired of his cosmetic antics. In any case, his own Deputy Chief of Staff and his Deputy Attorney General have said that “the government…” which the President heads “…knew they had a bad case and that was why they did not contest” and so had gone ahead and made payment to Alfred Woyome so why is Prof Mills pontificating now? The President claims the country cannot afford $20 million for Biometric Registration and Verification to maintain the peace and democracy of Ghana but has managed to cough out that amount of money to his party financier; a clear case of robbing Peter to pay Paul! No wonder the NDC is building an ultra-modern $20 million head quarters in Adabraka and yet the President who is the leader of his party does not know. Methinks there’s something worryingly wrong with our President and I sincerely mean that.

Yet another embarrassing issue President Mills’ “Action Year” has thrown up is the cocaine that turned to Sodium Bi-Carbonate between Ghana Police and the Courts. Cocaine and other illicit drug trade is an evasive evil; even the best intelligence structures in the Americas and Europe are still grappling with it. Fighting it requires diligence and sophisticated approach. The might of America has diminished nor stopped the cultivation of coca (used in the production of cocaine) in Mexico, Colombia and the other countries; nor has the presence of NATO forces stopped the farmers in poor Afghanistan from cultivating poppies (used for the production of heroin). Once this trade rears it’s ugly head on the shores of any country, be it Mexico, Ghana or Papua New Guinea; it becomes difficult to minimise its impact on the youth in the country let alone to uproot it entirely. Sheer rhetoric and populist gamesmanship will not and cannot be the antidote but that is exactly what he NDC has turned the cocaine menace in Ghana to. After labelling the NPP with all sorts of names, theirs have become the Narcotics Distribution Company. Why and how a substance tested and certified to be cocaine under the NPP and handed over to the NDC when they assumed the reigns of the country in 2008, a party that supposedly came to eradicate the drug trade could be swindled by the same illicit traders beggars belief. Why and how the President thought raising his hands to be searched at the KIA would eradicate the problem is a subject for another day. What is obvious though is that, that comic relief has certainly not worked. Ghanaians are awaiting the outcome of the investigations. The 2 incidents above have unveiled the rot in President Mills’ administration and have made Ghana the laughing stock for the rest of the world. Christmas couldn’t have come earlier for Alfred Woyome with the $42 million doled out to him by the Attorney General for no work done; but cocaine turning to sodium Bi-carbonate whilst in the custody of Ghana Police after so much fuss by Akrasi Sarpong and the NDC!?! Boy! What a country we live in!!!

Kofi Kyei-Mensah-Osei