Feature Article of Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Columnist: Voice of Reason

Is Collins Appiah-Ofori A Dreamer?

The controversial NPP parliamentarian for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, Collins Appiah-Ofori, said on Friday, September 28, 2012 that ‘If Nana puts measures that would curb fraudulent practices in the public service and in the private sector, he will generate huge sums of income to finance the free senior high school education in addition to a host of other national projects resulting in improved quality of life for the people of Ghana’. I say yeah, right! Talk is cheap indeed. This is a very big IF. If wishes were horse, beggars would ride! What makes this guy think that Nana Bottom can (or will) do anything about fraud when he is a fraud himself?

When Nana Bottom was the minister Foreign Affairs, the Crusading Guide revealed the enormous corruption at the passport office by purchasing numerous genuine Ghana passports through a passport freelancer in London, by providing only money, names and photos. There were no other documents provided to prove that the applicants even existed. To prove corruption, the Crusading Guide procured a passport for President Kuffour, his vice president Aliu Mahama and the IGP. In the case of the president, they used his full name but purposely misspelled his last name ‘Agyakum’ instead of ‘Agyekum’ and provided the picture of a popular businessman, Mr. B. A. Mensah, but the passport office still swallowed the bait.

This expose revealed the decay at the passport office. It came to light then that there are numerous West African prostitutes and drug dealers around the world who were holding genuine Ghana passports with names that they some of them cannot even pronounce. Mr. Kwesi Quartey wept in public because he knew he had lost his ‘lucrative’ position as Director of Passports but Nana Bottom did absolutely nothing about the case. This happened around April of 2006. You can see a picture of the passport issued for president Kuffour on Ghanaweb General News of Friday, 19 May 2006 captioned ‘Castle contributed to passport scandal’. In fact, Nana himself reported that thieves had broken into his office and stolen nothing but blank diplomatic passports. Coincidentally, a relative of his, Raymon Amankwa, who was not in government, was soon after accosted in South America with drugs and a valid Ghanaian diplomatic passport.

Again, when Nana Bottom was the minister of Justice and Attorney General, three NPP members of the Djorwulu Women’s Movement were arrested in February 2002 at Kotoka Airport in Accra ready to embark on a plane with narcotic drugs. All three women later managed to flee the country while their case documents disappeared from the judiciary system. Nana Bottom has not addressed the issue. To this day he wouldn’t say how they fled detention and who assisted them.

When Nana was forced to leave office to campaign to become the leader of the NPP in 2012, he continued to use government motorcade at the expense of taxpayers to the point that, for a period of time, it looked as if Ghana had two presidents – Kuffour and Nana Bottom. It was only when the citizenry complained that he abandoned the use of the motorcade. Still, he continued using Ghana50 vehicles for his campaign until Mills was sworn in as president and NDC street guys threatened action. Nana Bottom did this audaciously because at the time Kuffour himself had garaged three government-owned bullet-proof BMWs that were intended for use by the reigning president Mills.

Nana’s close associate and fellow NPP member, Obetsibi Lamptery was busily changing the documents on a government bungalow to his name when Nana was losing votes during the final days of the 2008 elections. That was the crucial time that politicians put their best behavior forward but Lamptey did not care because he had to have the bungalow in case the NPP lost the election. At one point some youth in Accra surrounded the bungalow with Lamptey holed inside so he called the police to disperse the crown to enable him to come out and campaign for Nana Bottom. Had Nana been a morally upright politician, he wouldn’t want to be seen in public with Lamptey during his second, and maybe final, attempt to become president but, without shame, Lamptey is still in Nana’s campaign team.

Fellows, think twice before you cast your vote for Nana Bottom because he had the opportunity to show Ghanaians something but he failed. After several years in politics, his only accomplishment is that he took part in demonstrations against governments in power. Where was Appiah-Ofori when Nana Bottom was a minister in Kuffour’s regimes for seven years?