John Mahama is allergic to transparency – Atik Mohammed

John Mahama is allergic to transparency – Atik Mohammed

Atik Mohammed

The Policy Analyst of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Atik Mohammed has described President John Dramani Mahama as “allergic to transparency” and it will therefore be difficult for him to fight corruption.

Mr Mohammed is particularly worried by the President’s seeming inability to deal with the alleged rot engulfing the operations of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).

The workers of the refinery have consistently leveled allegations of corruption.

Documents available to show staggering levels of expenditure by the caretaker Board of the Refinery, with the 8-member body allegedly spending close to GH¢2 million on allowances and fuel within a six month period.

Board Chairman Eric Okai, according to the documents, allegedly received over GH¢6,000 as bonus in December 2012, while six other Board members received a total of Ghs36,666.66.

Mr Okai is said to have received a further GH¢20,000 as sitting allowance from January to June 2013, with seven others receiving between GH¢ 9,100 and GH¢17,000 for the period.

According to the document, the Board members as well consumed a total of 5,381 liters worth GH¢11,838.20 in the first six months of the year, apart from GH¢41,500 shelled out to settle fuel coupons cost used by the Board members between February and July 2013.

All the above amounts exclude their lunch and lodging before, during and after their meetings, the documents indicate.

The Secretary of the immediate past Minister of Energy and that of the current Minister are also alleged to be on the payroll of TOR, although they do not work at the refinery.

Kwadwo Obiri Anim, Vice Chairman of the Junior Workers Union, confirmed the figures to listeners of Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show, hosted by Captain Smart, on Wednesday August 14, 2013.

Commenting on the issue Atik Mohammed, who said he was not surprised by the figures, said the caretaker Board and other stakeholders in the energy sector had been emboldened to rip the state off because, President Mahama was “allergic to transparency, extremely allergic.”

The PNC Policy Analyst said President Mahama had shown through his actions over the years that he was not interested in fighting corruption, despite the many opportunities available for him to do so.

Asked by the host if government was unaware of the many allegations made by the TOR workers, Atik Mohammed stated: “Oh the president doesn’t listen, he doesn’t listen. We’ve been talking about these things for a long time. He doesn’t listen.

“I keep saying that this government especially John Mahama is very much allergic to transparency. Extremely so. He doesn’t want to hear anything about transparency. You know there are various stages of allergy, basic allergy and all that. But in their case the allergy is at the highest level.”

He accused the NDC government of implementing a “deliberate policy to collapse TOR” since 2009 by insisting that the only way it could survive as a going concern was to sell it to a private person. In the meantime, the core function of the TOR – refining crude to produce other petroleum by-products at an affordable price – had been deliberately curtailed, while several Bulk Distribution Companies had been allowed to take over its core duty.

Contributing to the discussion, a Deputy Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) John Boadu, insisted that the alleged corruption at TOR was even greater than those allegedly perpetrated under the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA).

He accused the Mahama government of implementing a subtle policy to collapse TOR and challenged it to show by word or deed, its oft-repeated pledge to revive the country’s only oil refinery.