By Richard Kofi Attenkah
The Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Vitus Adaboo Azeem has charged the President John Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to put in more efforts to ensure that it tackles the issue of corruption in the country aggressively.
Mr. Azeem described what the government has been doing over the years in its fight against corruption as selective and urged it to improve upon its efforts in dealing with the menace. He stated; “Although the government of Ghana has also started pursuing the corruption in the country, this still remains selective and needs to be improved.”
Commending government for pursuing officials of the National Service Secretariat (NSS), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Smartys and the GYEEDA, who were one way or the other involved in some alleged corrupt deals, Mr. Azeem pointed out that a lot more needs to be done.
“The AMERI case needs to be investigated”, he continued, adding “The African Automobile cars are left to rot at the Institute of Local Government Studies, even after the Judgment Debt Commission has concluded its work. “Some of the people indicted by the Commission’s report are still holding public positions”, the GII Executive Director stressed.
He lamented over the fact that public officers who won their parliamentary primaries on the ticket of the NDC are still holding onto their public positions, adding “this shows that we have still not put in enough effort and commitment in tackling corruption.”
Mr. Azeem made the declaration in a press statement he released in Accra yesterday to announce the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of the Transparency International, a leading civil society organization fighting corruption worldwide.
Ghana was ranked the 7th African country with high level of corruption in the 2015 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), scoring Ghana 47 out of clean score of 100, and ranked the country 56 out of 168 countries.
“Thus, Ghana slid back by one percentage point from the 48 points scored in 2014 but better than its performance in 2012 when it scored 45 and 2013 when it scored 46 points,” the statement said.
Ghana scored below six African countries namely; Botswana – 63, Cape Verde – 55, Seychelles – 55, Rwanda – 54, Mauritius and Namibia – 53. According to the statement, the CPI 2015 made use of eight data sources out of the 12 data sources to compute the index for Ghana.
The sources that assessed Ghana include; the World Bank (CPIA) – 47, the African Development Bank (55), the Bertelsmith Foundation (45), the World Economic Forum (33), the World Justice Project (37), the Economic intelligence Unit (54), the PRS International Country Risk Guide (50) and the HIS Global Insight (52).
The score made by Ghana, is said to be an average of the scores from the data sources of the institutions listed above. It, however, stated that Ghana’s score and ranking show that “the country has performed much better than several other African countries, including South Africa, Senegal and Tunisia.”
Government of Ghana signed a contract with Africa & Middle East Resources Investment Group (AMERI Energy) for the supply of 10 gas turbines to help address the problems of dumsor a couple of months at a cost of US$510 million.
Two investigative journalists from award-winning Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) published that the power generating gas turbines are estimated to cost $220 million on the international market.
Then Power Minister, Dr Kwabena Donkor, in his rebuttal, created the impression that all Ghana needed to do was to pay AMERI Energy a total of $510 million for five years for 250megawatts emergency power as part of efforts to solve the protracted power crisis (aka dumsor) which is wreaking havoc on the economy.
However, a careful reading of the contract showed that the $510 million is solely for renting the 10 new General Electric TM 2500 aero-derivative gas turbines and it means that Ghana is going to incur an additional cost of over $150 million in the deal.
This generated a huge debate in the country leading to a number of institutions, adding their voice to the debate.
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) told Ghanaians that AMERI will be smiling to the bank every year with the payment of $120 million, totaling $600 million for the five-year contract, with the Ghana government also picking the cost of fuelling.
“AMERI will be paid $850,000 per turbine per month. This will amount to $8.5 million for the 10 turbines, with cumulative annual payments of $102 million. In addition, an amount of $16.6 million will be paid as variable costs. This brings the total payment due to AMERI and its partners to almost $120 million,” ACEP said in a statement.
African Automobile Ltd
African Automobile Ltd (AAL) since 2005 had been battling government over a purported breach of contract in the importation of some 87 galloper vehicles in court.
The company among other things said it had lost its franchise for the importation of Mitsubishi vehicles into the country and was, therefore, claiming damages to the tune of $1.5 billion.
Government accepted liability for the vehicles, which were said to be rotting at the premises of the Local Government Institute but was challenging the damages being demanded by AAL.