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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Columnist: Gyimah, Gilbert Adu

What is it about GYEEDA?

Reflections from Edmonton – What is it about GYEEDA?

We are told that investigations conducted into the operations of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) have unearthed shocking accounts of corruption at the once reputable NYEP program.

These investigations, we are told, were started by Mr. Manasseh Azure Awuni, a Senior Journalist with Joy FM.

Then came an investigation by a committee that was set-up by Mr. Abuga Pele, then National Coordinator of GYEEDA. This investigation we shall call Investigation #2. Based on the findings of Investigation #2, Mr. Pele felt sufficiently alarmed to inform the sector Minister. The Minister was Mr. Clement Kofi Humado, then Minister for Youth and Sports. Fearing that Investigation #2 might barely have scratched the surface of the corruption and administrative irregularities at GYEEDA, Mr. Humado invited the National Security outfit to step in and carry out further investigations.

The National Security outfit dutifully conducted their investigations into the alleged malfeasance at GYEEDA. Thus came what I shall call Investigation #3. Investigation #3 was allegedly completed on June 7, 2012.

As it is said, New King, New Law. Only the new king was actually a new minister for Youth and Sports in the person of Mr. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah. And the new law was in the form of a new investigative committee. Thus came Investigation #4.

After 12 weeks of work, the report resulting from Investigation #4 was presented to the President. You might think that the buck would stop with the President. Oh, no. Not with the enigmatic GYEEDA report. In early August 2013, Mr. P. V. Obeng, a Senior Presidential Advisor was directed by the President to lead yet another team to review and report on the Investigation #4 report. Investigation #5 had been born.

On the surface, it may seem surprising that to date, not one of the several reports noted above has been officially made known to the Ghanaian public. But then when one thinks a little bit more deeply about how governments are loathe to publishing anything that might appear politically damaging to themselves, it does not appear that surprising.

Naturally, quite a number of commentators on this relay of committees and investigations feel that some cover-up might be afoot. Others feel that the final report would be significantly different from the draft report, all in a bid to minimize any political fall-out.

In short, there seems to be a strong suspicion on the part of many that the final report that the President has promised would be made public would have deletions or subtractions of “juicy” elements that might have been in the earlier investigative reports.

My caution is for the skeptical public not to be worried so much about “subtractions” as “ADDITIONS” in the final report.

The specific instances of corruption and irregularities at GYEEDA since 2009 that I suspect is consistent in all the reports cannot be white-washed away or deleted from the final report. The NDC government knows it and indeed they are too smart to attempt to do anything that silly and obvious.

However, the government can ADD something to the draft report as published by some sections of the media that would be even more troubling and disingenuous than if they deleted or “subtracted” portions from the draft report.

And how do they do that? By simply “adding” NPP to the GYEEDA mess. I will not put this Machiavellian tactic past the NDC government.

As happened with the various judgement debts saga during the Mills-Mahama administration, the one aim of the ruling NDC administration would be to “share” blame. That way, any discussion on GYEEDA, once the final official report is released would not be focused on the issues at hand but rather which party (NPP or NDC) gets blamed for what. Never mind that the corruption at GYEEDA, like the judgement debt payments was under their watch.

Given what transpired during the Mills-Mahama administration courtesy of the Judgement debt saga, the Mahama administration’s overarching concern would not be about retrieving lost funds or punishing their own or admitting that they dropped the ball with GYEEDA but rather how to minimize any political fall-out. Let’s not forget EOCO and their inconclusive report that only sought to make President Mills look good as someone who had his eye on the ball and rather sought to indict NPP administration officials for the ineptitude of the NDC government.

My understanding is that a few Kufuor-Administration officials were interviewed in connection with some of the GYEEDA investigations. Since the investigations were supposedly focused on corruption and irregularities at GYEEDA that took place after the exit of the Kufuor administration, it is my humble opinion that the Kufuor-Administration officials should have declined to be interviewed as I suspect it was all a trap to be roped into a blame equalization scheme. They should only accept to partake in commissions of enquiries (1) after the corruption and irregularities in question have been uncovered and dealt with, and (2) if the government seeks to restructure GYEEDA and is seeking/soliciting inputs on the way forward as far as structural transformation is concerned.

Is the real objective of the P.V. Obeng team to minimize any fall-out to the NDC government by doing an equalization of blames among NPP-NDC?

Time will tell.

Gilbert Adu Gyimah Executive NPP-Edmonton, Alberta, Canada