A Deputy General Secretary of the opposition national Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Peter Boamah Otokunor has criticized the Akufo-Addo government for its failure to tackle corruption in his government, asking for Ghanaians to vote him out in the upcoming elections.
His call comes at the back of the resignation of Martin Amidu from office as Special Prosecutor over claims that his work was being controlled by President Akufo-Addo.
Mr Amidu, a former Attorney General under the NDC government, resigned from office on Monday three years after he was appointed by President Akufo-Addo.
Otokunor, who was speaking on Dwaboase on Power FM on Thursday made a strong case for the NDC flagbearer, John Mahama, and assured the former president is the only president in the fourth Republic who fought corruption to a point of prosecuting his own appointee, former National Coordinator of the defunct Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), Abuga Pele, for his involvement in the GH¢4.1 million GYEEDA scandal.
“No President has ever done that before in this country. President Akufo-Addo has not been able to do that. What he is interested in is clearing his appointees who would be mentioned in corrupt deals,” Otokunor said “Akufo-Addo is the engine of corruption; he boosts the speed of corruption in his government swiftly and it is clear in how he fails to punish his corrupt officials.”
Asked why Ghanaians should trust former president Mahama to outperform Akufo-Addo in the fight against graft, the NDC man said “we in the NDC have assured Ghanaians that we will bring Operation Sting which will deal with corrupt officials when we return to power in January 2021” adding that the approach to making corruption a risky venture under the next NDC administration has been spelt out in their manifesto.
Asking Ghanaians to believe in Mahama’s candidature and reject Akufo-Addo, the NDC Deputy Secretary stated the president was complicit in most corruption cases in Ghana which have hampered development.
“I set up a corruption tracker in my office which keeps recording the scandals in this government. The last time I checked we had recorded about 126 scandals under Akufo-Addo’s leadership,” he said while urging Ghanaians to vote out Mr Akufo-Addo, who has been accused of nepotism by anti corruption crusaders, out of government.
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.”