Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, has stated President Nana Akufo-Addo is not the disciplinarian he used to be before he was elected into office as Ghana’s president.
The vociferous lawmaker believes the radical nature of the president before assuming power would help him fight graft and indiscipline but that has become only a dream especially as he was tagged by most persons who had worked closely with him as a strict person.
Kennedy Agyapong who was speaking on pro-NPP Asaase radio on Sunday bemoaned the level of corruption under the watch of Akufo-Addo who was described as a saint prior to the 2016, saying the president has become so quiet regardless the pressure from watchdogs and Civil Society Organisations.
The Akufo-Addo government under 4 years have been hit by huge corruption most of which are either brewed at the presidency or championed by close associates of Akufo-Addo. The scandals have not only put the president under bad light but shrink his credibility.
Against this backdrop is why Kennedy Agyapong is worried the ruling NPP’s failure to tackle corruption and punish indicted government appointees can cost them the 2020 elections.
“He [President Akufo-Addo] has become so quiet and gentle since he became President,” Agyapong said while wishing the president would be bold enough to tackle graft which has become a key issue in the run up to the December elections.
“Surprisingly he [Akufo-Addo] is so gentle,” Agyapong said and said if he were occupying that office, he would fire appointees who are busily cooking shady deals in the government.
The lawmaker said he thought Akufo-Addo would have been like the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, and ensure that there is discipline the country but the president has been tamed.
Kennedy believes some people around Akufo-Addo are corrupt and have succeeded in making him quiet over certain corrupt acts, adding that the development is because the president maybe afraid to lose elections.
Corruption under Akufo-Addo
Akufo-Addo’s governance has been hit by huge corruption scandals in the past 24 months. Notable among them are the BOST, PDS, NYA, and Kelni GVG shady deal.
There is a corruption scandal that hit the former CEO of BOST Alfred Obeng who is alleged to have superintended over the sale of Movenpina-Zup Oil 471,000 litres of contaminated fuel.
Two of deputy Chiefs of Staff were alleged to have engaged in estortion at the seat of the president. Same allegations were raised against the Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyeremateng who is alleged to have sold seats in the famous ‘cash for seat’ saga. He was eventually cleared by the president.
In the last quarter of 2019, the then 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 to the highest bidder.
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.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice(CHRAJ) recently banned the dismissed CEO of the Public Procurement Authority(PPA) from holding any public office for the next five years.
This is after the CHRAJ found him guilty of conflict of interest after a year of investigation by the institution.
Why not Ghana Beyond Corruption?
Last year when corruption was battling with the Akufo-Addo government, the Netherlands’ Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker, asked the government why it was 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?”
Since then, Akufo-Addo is struggling to dodge the corruption tag it has earned from many Ghanaians.
Last year when the president kept clearing his appointees who were caught at the centre of corruption cases, Nana Akufo-Addo complained that he was 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.”
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.”