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Thursday, December 3, 2020

‘Akufo-Addo gov’t most corrupt in Ghana’s history’ – Alhaji Sinare

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National Vice Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alhaji Said Sinare has stated that the Akufo-Addo government is the most corrupt regime in the history of Ghana.

Alhaji Sinare, who is also Ghana’s former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia believes the citizens may have lost count of the corrupt scandals that have rocked the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government since its investiture in January 2017.

Recounting the scandals under the Akufo-Addo government, Alhaji Sinare said the corrupt activities among the appointees of the government “stinks” in a manner that they will affect the economy of the country.

“The NPP government today is the most corrupt government in the history of this country…This country stinks of corruption. Everybody is sick and tired [of the corruption]. Every single day when you wake up, there are scandals,” Mr Sinare told Inside Politics host Mugabe Maase on Power 97.9 FM Tuesday.

According to Ambassador Sinare, the president’s new tag ‘clearing agent’ which he got from personally clearing his appointees accused of corrupt activities before state institutions mandated to investigate them bring their findings out meant the NPP government adores graft.

“They [the NPP] want to enrich themselves of billions and billions of dollars…They are the most corrupt people. President Nana Addo and his people think of themselves first before anybody else. This government is so corrupt that it will take so many years to repair these damages that they have caused in the economy,” he added.

He mentioned the BOST, PDS, NYA, Kelni GVG and PPA scandals as corrupt acts that the government has swept under the carpet to deceive Ghanaians, adding that the corruption has affected the image of the country.

Ambassador Sinare’s observations come at a time the Akufo-Addo government is struggling to dodge the corruption tag it has earned from many Ghanaians. Nana Akufo-Addo himself has complained that he is not a corruption ‘Clearing Agent’.

Speaking at the 2019 Ghana Bar Association Conference in Takoradi in the Western Region on Tuesday, September 9, 2019, President Akufo-Addo, in an attempt to clear misconceptions about his inability to crack the whip on his corrupt appointees, noted that he is not the ‘Clearing Agent’ that some Ghanaians, particularly members of the opposition NDC have projected him to be.

While defending his inability to deal with corrupt appointees under his watch, the president said, “So far, every single alleged act of corruption levelled against any of my appointees is being or has been investigated by independent bodies, such as CHRAJ, the CID, and, in some cases, by Parliament itself.”

“From the allegations against the then Minister-Designate for Energy at his parliamentary confirmation hearings; to that against the former CEO of BOST; to those against the two deputy Chiefs of Staff; to the conflict of interest allegations against the Minister for Finance; to the claims of extortion against the Trade and Industry Minister; to allegations of doubling in visa racketeering against the then deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, the then Director General of the National Sports Authority, who, even though exonerated by the CID, later resigned, and the Chairperson of the Board of the National Sports Authority; to the allegations of bribery levelled against the Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining; to the latest involving the suspended acting CEO of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and the dismissed CEO of the National Youth Authority – they have all been investigated or are being investigated by the authorised institutions of our state, and not by President Akufo-Addo,” he added.

He continued, “It is not my job to clear or convict any person accused of wrongdoing, or of engaging in acts of corruption. My job is to act on allegations of corruption by referring the issue or issues to the proper investigative agencies for the relevant enquiry and necessary action. That is exactly what has been done since I assumed the mantle of leadership on 7th January, 2017. If an appointee is cleared of any wrongdoing, the evidence adduced and recommendations made by these agencies, after the investigations are concluded, are what clear the accused persons, not myself. None of these agencies has ever indicated any pressure from the Executive over their investigations.”

Why not Ghana Beyond Corruption?

Early this month, Netherlands’ Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker, asked the government why it is pursuing a policy of “Ghana beyond aid” and not “Ghana beyond corruption”.

Nana Akufo-Addo launched the “Ghana Beyond Aid” charter at a May Day celebration this year in Accra to lead a government that will manage the country’s resources in a manner that will allow the country to be self sufficient without external assistance.

Despite pushing huge funding into the campaign, the Netherlands’ Ambassador to Ghana is convinced the country rather needs a strong campaign to combat corruption which is common in the country than chanting “Ghana Beyong Aid” while the government keeps borrowing from other countries.

In a video that has gone viral on the internet, Mr. Strikker said, “You need a good business climate to attract foreign investment…corruption is a very bad thing and companies suffer and will stay away if they think that they are going to be harrassed by corruption in a certain country…Your official policy is Ghana Beyond Aid; why not Ghana Beyond Corruption?”

Corruption everywhere

Akufo-Addo’s governance has been marred with huge corruption scandals in the past 24 months.

Notable among them are the allegations against the former CEO of BOST Alfred Obeng who is alleged to have superintended over the Movenpina-Zup Oil 471,000 litres of contaminated fuel. Two the two deputy Chiefs of Staff were alleged to have engaged estortion at the seat of the president. Same were raised against the Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyeremateng.

Recently, the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) boss, Adjenim Boateng Adjei, was busted in allegations of conflict of interest after investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni exposed him over an alleged sale of state contracts.

In Manasseh’s documentary dubbed ‘Contracts for Sale’, the suspended PPA boss had established his own company under the name Talent Discovery Limited (TDL) in June 2017 to seel contracts. The 46-minute long documentary revealed that TDL had won some government contracts through restrictive tendering, and was ready to sell one worth a ¢22.3 million to a non-existent entity created by the investigators.

Although Mr. A.B Adjei’s matter has been referred to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor for further investigations and a possible sanction, many Ghanaians believe just as some appointees were cleared by the president, the others under probe will not be punished.

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