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Opinions of Sunday, 18 April 2010

Columnist: Prah, Prince

Massive Fraud In Recruitment!

True to predictions by military experts and analysts on military and security matters in Ghana and especially on P/NDC tactics, there has been a massive fraud in the 2010 recruitment exercise. The Ghana Armed Forces General Recruitment Exercise in 2010 has been bedeviled with fraud right from the beginning of the process to date.

The fraud started from the short-listing of the qualified candidates to appear at the ten regional capitals for the screening phase. The fraud was planned at the highest government level with the consent, concurrence, cooperation and support of the Castle, the National Security Coordinator, the Minister of Defence, the Military High Command and the teams that were sent to the ten regional capitals of Ghana.

Instructions were issued from Castle and the office of the National Security Coordinator to NDC Ministers, MPs, MCEs/DCEs, National, Regional and District NDC Headquarters to forward the names and documents of the NDC activists, sympathizers and members who are to be recruited into the Ghana Armed Forces to the authorities concerned. This directive was part of the grand strategy to recruit only NDC members and sympathizers into the GAF for Agenda 2012. When the names were forwarded to the castle and office of the National Security Coordinator, a list was prepared to be given to the Director Manpower Planning, Colonel T. N. Ba-Taa-Banah at the General Headquarters (Personal Administration) in Burma Camp. The no-nonsense Colonel Tom Ba-Taa-Banah politely refused to be part of that fraudulent practice and maintained his stand that he would work as a professional military officer and not as a politician since he is not a politician. In fact, he was very harsh on some of the politicians and military personnel who approached him or tried to give him directives on the massive fraud that was to be initiated. As an antidote to the intransigence of Colonel T. N. Ba-Taa-Banah, the short-listing phase of the General Recruitment Exercise in 2010 was for the first time in recent times decentralized. Instead of allowing the Director Manpower Planning and his staff (mostly National Service Personnel) to do the short-listing, the politicians (NDC government) used the Military High Command to direct the Director Manpower Planning to hand over all application forms to the three Service Headquarters and the Medical Directorate namely Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, Airforce Headquarters and General Headquarters (Medical) respectively to do the short-listing. The massive fraud started this stage.

The three Service Headquarters and the Medical Directorate were staffed with NDC officers and men to ensure that all the personnel elected by the NDC machinery were short-listed. The lists from the Service Headquarters and Medical Directorate comprising mainly NDC foot-soldiers, activists, sympathizers, members and their children /Wards were then sent to the Director Manpower Planning to issue them with individual letters.

The Director Manpower Planning did not have the documents of the applicants to verify their eligibility or otherwise and yet was obliged to invite them for the regional screening. Thus, a lot of NDC sympathizers and wards who did not qualify were given invitation letters to appear at the regional screening phase while most of the applicants who genuinely qualified were rejected at the short-listing phase. That explains why the Minister of Defence said on the floor of Parliament in February 2010 that out of over 46,000 applicants only about 7,000 were short-listed by the GAF for further screening.

The next major fraud occurred at the regional screening. The letters of the few non-NDC sympathizers who were short-listed were collected from them under the pretext that they did not qualify but were given letters of invitation inadvertently. Those affected were driven away by the Military Police and members of the selection teams. Another group of applicants who were allowed to write the examinations but were found to be non-NDC sympathizers were also sacked when the results were announced. The letters of this group of candidates were also collected from them before they were dismissed.

In lace of these two categories of applicants, who were sacked either before or after the examinations, were inserted names of NDC sympathizers who did not pass the examination at the regional screening. The letters of the affected persons were collected from them to ensure that they would have no documents to show as evidence in case of any investigations. What the teams did was to camp all the applicants at the respective stadia (centers) from the beginning of a day’s proceedings to the end without allowing anybody to go out at any stage.
It was only after letters had been retrieved and names of the successful applicants had been announced that all the candidates were escorted out of the stadia.

The worst form of the recruitment fraud was to happen in Accra after the regional selection teams had submitted their reports.

Instead of submitting reports directly to the Director Manpower Planning and giving copies to the respective Service Headquarters as had been the normal practice, the teams sent to the regions were directed to send their reports to the Service Headquarters and General Headquarters (Medical Directorate) only without copies being sent to the Director Manpower Planning.

The Service Headquarters and the Medical Directorate sent only lists of the short-listed persons from the regions to the El-Wak stadium on the stipulated dates. The Director Manpower Planning and his team were to act only on the lists of names submitted by the Service Headquarters and the Medical Directorate.

This strategy made it possible for the NDC to do yet another type of “delete” and “insert” all that stage.

Applicants whose names were mentioned at the regional centers to come to Accra for medical examinations were shocked at the El-Wak stadium when they realized that their names had been deleted and replaced with persons whose names were not mentioned at the regional centers.

Again, those affected had their letters confiscated from them and were made to wait until the end of the day’s proceedings before they were allowed to leave the El-Wak Stadium. While some of them were not allowed to write the examinations in Accra, a few were allowed to write the examinations but were all failed and driven away. Their letters were also retrieved leaving them hopelessly devastated.
As at date, it is only candidates from the greater Accra region who are yet to appear at El-Wak stadium as part of the Army first Batch, Naval and Airforce Groups on Wednesday, 14th April 2010 to do the final screening before proceeding to undertake medical examinations at the 37 military hospitals.
The number involved in the Greater Accra region is over 700. It is feared and anticipated that the mother and father of the massive fraud in the GAF 2010 General Recruitments Exercise would occur when this group reports at the El-Wak stadium.
Ghanaians would be shocked to realize that several hundreds of eligible Ghanaians who took part in the GAF 2010 general recruitments exercise and were short-listed in January 2010 at the national level initially and later at the regional level in February 2010 have dropped unjustifiably and wrongly and their places taken by unqualified NDC sympathize who failed during the selection process at the regional centers or at the El-Wak stadium. So far, the break-down of those affected persons who have been wrongly dismissed and their placed taken by NDC sympathizers are as follows:
A. Volta region: Army 15, Airforce 18
B. Western region: Army 19
C. Eastern region: Army 38
D. Northern region: Army 17
E. Upper East region: Army 10
F. Upper West region: Army 8
G. Brong Ahafo region: Army 30
H. Ashanti region: Army 60

Certainly, the massive fraud perpetrated by the Military High Command in the 2010 GAF General Recruitment Exercise calls for a Presidential Commission of inquiry. This call is made against the background that in 2009 the NDC government cancelled the recruit training of 1200 Ghanaians for no apparent reason. The Minister of Defence, General JH Smith, tried in vain to justify the cancellation of the initial 420 Army Potential Recruits and finally the entire 1200 Potential Recruits for the Army, Navy and Airforce in February and June 2009 when he appeared before Parliament.
This is a real test case for the NDC government. The Index Numbers and names of the applicants and candidates who have been robbed in this massive fraud are being kept for now and would be published later.
Parliament must also protect the current Director Manpower Planning, current TN Ba-Taa-Banah whose appointment career and life are being threatened. Already, Air Vice Marshal Dovlo former Director General (Personnel Administration) and Brigadier General Quist, the current Director General (Personnel Administration) are alleged to have sounded that warning of getting Colonel TN Ba-Taa-Banah removed from the appointment of Director Manpower Planning for his uncooperative for attitude towards the NDC machinery. So far they have succeeded in by-passing Colonel TN Ba-Taa-Banah in the massive recruitment fraud of the GAF in 2010.

They are however afraid of Colonel TN Ba-Taa-Banah’s insistence on conducting further examinations at the El-Wak stadium which have revealed a lot of anomalies in the selection process.

A Parliamentary Enquiry or a Presidential Commission is urgently required to trace the GAF 2010 General Recruitment Selection Process from the beginning to the end before eligible candidates are allowed to undertake military training.
The Enquiry or Commission must also check the regional balance and the gender balance as required by the Directive Principles of State Policy under Article 35 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.