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Opinions of Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Columnist: K. Badu

The minority NDC has been exposed!

It really saddens my heart to venture to state that in so far as we have individuals whose responsibility is to keep the executive in check, but have inexorably reneging on their mandated duty over the years, Ghana may never realise any meaningful advancement in our lifetime.

Let us be honest, it beggars belief that the minority NDC could only detect and prevent sleazes and corruptions while in opposition. How bizarre?

What actually prevented the same people from speaking against Ibrahim Mahama’s contemptible tax evasion, the scandalous corruption cases involving the infamous Bus Branding, Brazil World Cup, the Ford Expedition vehicle, GYEEDA, AZONTABA, SADA, SUBAH, the purported $200million debt incurred on the faded STS housing deal, the dubious Embraer 190 Aircrafts and hanger for the Ghana Armed Forces and over a US$100 million oil revenue loss between 2011 and 2013 as reported by the Public Interest& Accountability Committee?

Given that sleazes and corruptions were prevalent during the NDC administration, and the newly arrived anti-corruption crusaders kept mute, one cannot help but to express scepticism over the opposition NDC’s newly adopted patriotism and solicitude for the cause of Ghana.

It is worth stressing that the bribery and corruption cases escalated in the erstwhile NDC administration following the untimely death of President Mills in July 2012.

Although I have never been, and will never be an NDC apologist, I will forever highlight the late President Mills unparalleled adherence to moral principles.

Obviously, the late President Mills had his infelicities. Yet he was morally ahead of the other corrupt and greedy NDC apparatchiks.

Take, for instance, it is on record that prior to the scandalous Wayome’s judgement debt payment of GH51.2 million, the late Mills warned the ‘create, loot and share’ cabals not to effect payment.

Yet the cabals incredibly disobeyed the good old Mills orders and doled out the staggering amount to Wayome, who had no contract with the government of Ghana.

Disappointingly, though, the late President Mills somehow yielded to his appointees shenanigans and allowed the create loot and share cabals to have their way.

Upon the late Mills capitulation, the conspiratorial plotters started dipping their hands into the national coffers through dubious judgement debt payments and other cloudy deals as if there was no tomorrow.

The racketeers even managed to allocate judgement debt amount in the national budget (reported to be around GH800 million), with a view to creating, looting and sharing.

In fact, bribery and corruption cases were so pervasive during the NDC’s eight years administration.

Consequently, before his sudden demise, the late Mills exhibited unmatched rectitude and inquisitiveness when he constituted an Investigative Committee to probe into the acquisition of aircrafts from Brazil.

It would be recalled that during his State of the Nation Address on 19th February 2009, the late President Mills informed the Parliament that his government was looking into the decision to acquire two executive Presidential jets.

However, the late President Mills was somehow ambivalent over the acquisition of the aircrafts and thus observed: "Ghana simply cannot afford the expenditure at this time and we certainly do not need two Presidential Jets" (thestatesmanonline.com, 16/06/2016).

Astonishingly, however, whilst the late Mills was joyfully delivering his euphonious state of the nation address in the parliament, the Vice President John Mahama, who also happened to be the chairman of the Armed Forces Council, was blissfully entertaining delegations from Brazil and busily negotiating the acquisition of five jets, including the most expensive hangar without the knowledge of the late President Mills.

Unsurprisingly, the late President Mills became suspicious of the whole deal and decided to put a committee together to review the deal, according to Mr Martin Amidu, the former Attorney General under President Mills.

Could the minority NDC anti-corruption crusaders tell us whether if they took any interest in the work of the committee set up by the late Mills?

Unfortunately, President Mills mysteriously departed from life in July 2012.

Per Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, Vice President Mahama was the next in line to take over the presidency.

On assumption of office, things started to fall apart. It went from bad to worse after the 2012 general election.

Regrettably, though, Ghana’s total debt ballooned astronomically following the unbridled spending in the 2012 general election and the numerous corruption scandals involving GYEEDA, SADA, SUBA, Bus Branding, dubious judgement debt payments and many others.

The Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF) for example, estimates that monies lost to corrupt and dubious transactions under the presidency of John Dramani Mahama, amounted to over GHC5billion.

Thus, it did not come as a surprise at all to some of us when President Nana Akufo-Addo disclosed during his state of the nation address that Ghana’s total debt has rocketed to a staggering GH122 billion as of December 2016.

In spite of the fact that corruption is a serious economic, social, political and moral impediment to the nation building, our corrupt public officials are bent on duping the nation.

If we take a stroll down memory lane, somewhere in October 2010, the British media brought up sensational reports about how the then Vice President John Dramani Mahama, was lobbied by a British Cabinet Minister to get a reprieve for the ban imposed on Armajaro Holdings, one of the cocoa buying companies who were found guilty for smuggling the commodity out of Ghana.

It would be recalled that Armajaro Company was banned together with a few other companies, when the award winning investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposed the smuggling of uncountable bags of cocoa into neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire.

Shockingly, however, the British media reported that subsequent to the meeting between the then Vice President John Dramani Mahama and the British Cabinet Minister, Armajaro Company was given a needless reprieve and then started its operations.

What action did the then majority NDC operatives who have now found their voices take back then?

The fact of the matter is that Ghana’s transgressed and incompliant politicians often get away with murder.

Take, for instance, the investigative work carried out by the award winning investigative journalist, Joy FM’s Manasseh Azuri which exposed former President Mahama’s furtive gift of a brand new Ford Expedition vehicle worth over $100,000 by the Burkinabe Contractor, Djibril Kanazoe.

According to the report, the Burkinabe Contractor Kanazoe undertook a number of contracts which were secured through sole-sourcing and handpicking, amid allegations of former president Mahama’s influence.

Manasseh reported that Djibril Kanazoe over the years took part in the bidding process for contracts in the country. However he was not successful until a middleman led him to meet then Vice President Mahama.

Subsequent to meeting the then Vice President Mahama, Kanazoe was handpicked to build the $650,000 Ghana Embassy fence wall in Burkina Faso.

In September 2014, when officials of the Bank of Ghana met the Public Accounts Committee of Ghana Parliament (PAC), it came to light that an amount of $656, 246.48 had been spent on the construction of a fence wall over a parcel of land belonging to the Ghana Embassy in Burkina Faso.

Apparently, PAC requested the Bank of Ghana to look into what it referred to as: “the outrageous” cost of the project.

However, it came to light that the procurement process was violated to the advantage of former President Mahama’s Burkinabe friend.

Amazingly, during an interview with Manasseh, Djibril Kanazoe admitted that he did not put in a bid for the contract, but it was rather the Ghana Embassy in Ouagadougou that wrote to his company to request price quotations for the project. And, he subsequently forwarded the necessary quotes and was selected.

“Subsequently, the Burkinabe contractor delivered to former President Mahama, the ‘gift’ of a brand new Ford Expedition vehicle in 2012, the same year his company was selected, again through sole-sourcing, to execute more projects” (See: ‘Burkinabe Contractor offers controversial gift to President Mahama’ ; myjoyonline.com, 15/06/2015).

Shockingly, despite unobjectionable evidence of wrong doing, the then majority NDC operatives kept defending former President Mahama until discerning Ghanaians rightly voted them out of power.

It is also worth emphasising that the majority NDC operatives back then, went to sleep over the then Vice President Mahama’s dreadful handling of the STX Housing deal, which was supposed to provide affordable housing to the security agencies.

In spite of the fact that the deal did not materialise, the then Vice President Mahama, gave us a bill of an excess of $200 million. How strange?

What is the minority NDC saying about the dubious deal then?

Moreover, after the failed deal with STX to build 30,000 housing units for the nation's security agencies, the NDC government entered into another deal with the GUMA Group, for the construction of 500 housing units.

The deal which was spearheaded by the then Vice President Mahama was widely criticised by various stakeholders, just as the STX deal following the decision to side-line local construction firms in favour of the foreign company. The unusually high cost of the project was also a source of concern to many.

As a matter of fact, the minority NDC operatives approached their duty lackadaisically whilst in power, so I am not surprised that the good people of Ghana showed them the exit on 7th December 2016.