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Opinions of Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Columnist: Adjei-Brenyah, Dennis

Woyome, NDC, Our Money And Our President

Woyome, Ndc, Our Money And Our President: The Failure of Fair Representation

By: Dennis Adjei-Brenyah, Esq New York

As a general rule, I have always scrupulously avoided “political” discussions especially the kind showing malicious and unhealthy assault and insults on people. I have always subscribed to a discussion on ideas on how to manage out affairs and help improve the “situation” we find ourselves. I will try to keep to this principled approach in dealing with the present demonstration of national shame that people have described as the “NDC-Woyome” matter.

Originally when the story broke, I sincerely thought it as some kind of early April fools play on our nation. That somebody was attempting an unhealthy laugh at our expense. Then several weeks ago, I read that our President said “they” – meaning the government, had an obligation to pay this colossal sum of money because of some perceived breach of contract. My fears were affirmed. My grief at our nation’s woes extended. And, my remedy? As uncertain as they come. Can these people that we elected really do this to us? A struggling nation with our kids studying in “structures” that are not appropriate for any human beings; where in large parts of our country, study and examinations are done under trees! Water to drink from the stream. Could they really – criminally – do this to us? It appears that the most massive assault and insult on our nation has been viciously perpetrated by our own government: The Mills led NDC government in power!

Sometimes, I throw in some personal reflections – only as a sign of blessed humility to see issues from a peculiar angle – the better to contribute to this discussion. I have said in these pages before that I consider our President my friend and law teacher from Legon: a decent man. Honorable, level headed, - but alas, perhaps another gutless politician. And I say this with grief and severe pain.

The story of one Mr. Alfred Agbosi Woyome is startling whichever way you look at it. I concede that as a lawyer with some significant legal experience in litigation (and defense of issues) in court both in Ghana and in the United States, I would have preferred to have the entire file to review. I do not have that. I do have statements from out President that because the courts had ruled for Mr. Woyome (with no review by the Appellate Courts) against the government and people of Ghana “they” had to pay!! That alone would have been objectionable enough.

But then comes this rather stunning admission by our President that he had no hand in the putrid event known as the “Woyome payments.” Millions and millions and millions of your money and our money “paid” – actually, “given” to Alfred Agbesi Woyome for no work done.

Let’s do a throwback. It seems like yesterday that “these people” were pouring searing hot water on the former President Kufuor and his son because, it was alleged, the son (John) had somehow managed, by his own business acumen/resources, to procure the financing to purchase a hotel near his father’s private house in Accra. I heard here in New York – and confirmed when I went home – that “they” called this Hotel Waa Waa! Not a pesewa of government money was involved in that transaction! And yet, it became a huge political indictment of the government of the day------ getting rich “waa waa.” What do you call this Woyome payment – made in the name of the people to “one man” – to deprive the people of resources for the upkeep and development? What do you call this?

At the elementary level, the President and his cabinet are placed in authority to govern and take care of our resources! It is the first principle of governance.

Out President says now that he had no hand in this affair: That the acknowledged financier of NDC, who has now pocketed (banked is a better term) GhC58,000,000 of your money, got paid that sum of money under his watch as President, and he has no hand in .He has nothing to do with it!

This is a cruel insult of and to us as Ghanaians, by this President. We must hold him to account! President Atta Mils made some statements that are, in fact alt the heart of this national shame: First he says, he cannot be “so irresponsible to direct his finance ministers to pay such a whopping amount of money to one person while the masses suffer due to inadequate infrastructure and basic amenities.” Further, the President says now: “when I know the plight of our people, when I know out people are crying for water, the basic necessities of life, how can I be so criminally minded, so irresponsible to say give fifty-eight million to one person.” (See Ghanaweb January 9, 2012)

This is the crucible. According to him, the Minister of Finance (the same guy who has been paying “ghost” employees in out diplomatic missions abroad) did it all by himself. But there is a catch. The Minister of Finance is answerable to him. The Attorney General is answerable to him. All the cabinet members are answerable to him. And they do whatever they like? Especially when it comes to dishing out a huge chunk of national “cake” only because it has been “captured” in the budget! Our President is as good as saying – openly without shame – that he was and is derelict in his sworn duty to the people of Ghana. He was absolutely right: What has happened here in this putrid matter is “criminal, irresponsible, the height of naivety” (all his own words). For this President to surrender his oversight responsibility in protecting our national resources in indeed “CRIMINALLY IRRESPONSIBLE”

Parliament must convene now – better now – or whenever we throw the bums out, to review this matter, and upon such review, set it aside and disgorge, dislodge, reclaim and recover this money and restore our nation’s commitment to “probity and accountability.” This is not politics as usual. We need out money back.

I am certain that under the old PNDC (Rawlings) regime with claims of “probity and accountability,” somebody would have been shot – executed – for this. There is amply demonstrated here, a criminal failure of fair representation of the interests of our people. Such criminal failure of responsibility cannot go unpunished – not just through the political process, but through the legal process. Where is the “probity” we speak of. Where is the “accountability;” Rawlings preached! Who represents the people of Ghana? Who signed that big big cheque? Who did us so much damage? Who led the dogs of greed out – so viciously? Who? This is nonsensical presidential escapism that should not be allowed to stand. This cannot stand. He is nailing himself to his own cross of dereliction of responsibility and “criminal” (his words) surrender to party grabbing interests at the expense of the people of Ghana.

Our faith in our leaders must be restored. Our people must prevail. This President must go to Parliament and address the nation on how he is going to live up to his constitutional mandate and not surrender to hirelings under him in a matter as serious and as “criminal” as this; effected and carried on under his watch. What a shame! What a criminal shame!

Dennis Adjei-Brenyah Esq. is a practicing attorney in the State of New York, United States.