Ghana Integrity Initiative takes govt to task … Over corruption investigations

Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo,Executive Director,GII

Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo,Executive Director,GII

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has called on government to update Ghanaians on the status of investigations into series of high profile corruption allegations that rocked the country in the course of the year.

According to the GII, Ghanaians deserved to know the outcomes of such investigations to enable them to make firm judgement on whether the country was winning or losing the fight against corruption.

Addressing a news conference in Accra yesterday, the Programmes Manager for GII, Mrs Mary Addah, said such corruption allegations could not be swept under the carpet since they had implications for the country’s development.

According to her, prominent among some of the cases of corruption were the Metro Mass Transit scandal, diversion of premix fuel, Ghana Bauxite Company scandal and the GFA and Kwesi Nyantakyi scandal.

Also mentioned were the Australia Visa Scandal, the $74 million waste bins and the 98 million fumigation contract scandals involving the Jospong Group of Companies as well as the double salary allegations against some Members of Parliament (MPs).

Giving detailed account on the cases, she explained that earlier this year, some media investigations uncovered that the Metro Mass Transit (MMT) lost at least GH¢1 million, as a result of undervaluation of more than 200 buses sold by the company.

She explained that the buses, even though had been declared unserviceable and in line with the company policy were supposed to be sold as scrap, turned out that during the valuation process, they were undervalued.

It was subsequently, found out that the valuation process was compromised, thus causing the company to lose more than one million cedis in revenue for which the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Mr Bennet Aboagye, was asked to step aside while investigations continued.

Mrs Addah said it was instructive to note that his deputy who was asked to act in his stead had subsequently been confirmed as the substantive CEO; “yet government had failed to tell Ghanaians what the outcome of the investigation was.”

On the Australia Visa scandal, she said even though the former Deputy Minister of Sports, Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, who was suspended along with the Board Chairman of the National Sports Authority, Mr Kwadwo Baah Agyemang had been cleared of any wrong doing, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) which was tasked to investigate the matter, had failed to inform Ghanaians of the persons behind that embarrassing scandal.

Touching on the scandals involving the Jospon Group of Companies, Mrs Addah, said the amounts involved in the scandals were so huge that government could not pretend not to care about it.

She said the “Robbing the Assemblies” investigative series,  revealed that GH¢ 98 million was paid to 11 companies belonging to the Jospong Group to undertake fumigation and open spraying in some selected Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across the country.

However, the contract which was awarded in 2015 and was expected to have been executed within 20 days as at the close of 2017, had not been done yet even though monies had been paid.

“We invited you here today to demand of government particularly agencies of state mandated to investigate and prosecute corruption, the status of the several alleged cases of corruption which inundated the airwaves during the course of the year,” she said.

Mrs Addah said it was unfortunate that barely a year after some of these corruption cases were made public, nothing had been done to assure the public that the perpetrators, if found culpable would be punished.

“To the extent that government initiated steps of promise to deal with them, the GII deemed it appropriate to demand an update on what has been done so far as the year 2018 comes to an end,” she emphasised.

The GII Programmes Manager said the GII was scandalised by the report that some government officials and appointees were withholding information from the police and the Attorney General’s Department, stressing that “this development, we are told, is making it difficult to proceed with some of the cases.”

She noted that corruption had hurt and continue to hurt the country in a number of ways, “thus all actions that appear to be impediments in the way of fighting corruption should not be tolerated.”

“We therefore call on the President to step in and call government appointees to order. We also challenge the police and the Attorney General to use the constitutional and legal powers at their disposal to enforce compliance from the government appointees concerned,” she added.

The GII also commended government for the budgetary allocation to the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and further called on the Ministry of Finance to ensure that disbursements were timely made to the OSP to enable the office perform its mandate as the public had high expectation from the office.

By Cliff Ekufful and David Takyi

 

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