The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) says the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government cannot fight corruption and insists the ruling party’s record “is still one of create, loot and share.”
“The NDC government has sought to take some solace from the 2015 Transparency International report on corruption. This attempt amounts to a fantasy, a mere fiddling while Ghana burns from corruption and a poor attempt by President Mahama’s government to tickle itself and laugh,” the NPP said in a news release on Friday.
The statement issued in Accra and signed by NPP Director of Communications, Nana Akomea, was a reaction to the recent Corruption Perception Index (CPI) published by anti-graft body Transparency International (TI), which ranked Ghana 56th out of 168 countries in the world with a score of 47 in the fight against corruption.
According to TI, Ghana is the 7th least corrupt country in Africa after Botswana – 63, Cape Verde – 55, Seychelles – 55, Rwanda – 54, Mauritius and Namibia which scored 53.
The news has been received with glee by President John Mahama who posted on his Facebook wall that the government was on course to tackling corruption in the country. But the NPP has described the government’s position as a ‘fantasy.’
“One basis for the government’s fantasy is that it had placed 56th out of 168 countries and placed 7th in Africa. But the government is not able to say if these positions amount to improvement or not,” the statement said.
“In 2008, Ghana ranked 67th but out of a bigger sample of 180 countries. Is 56th position out of 167 countries in 2015 better or worse than 67th position out of 180 countries in 2008? The stark reality is that Ghana actually dropped from a score of 48 out of 100 in 2014 to a score of 47 out of 100 in 2015.
“Quite strangely, while the NDC government seeks some dubious comfort from the report, it is at the same time attempting to pass it off as report on perception, largely caused by false allegations in the media and also due to some so-called ‘paradox of exposure,’” the statement added.
“If the government’s fight against corruption is really great, how can the media reports of this positive and great fight lead to negative perception against the government?” the NPP queried.
Nana Akomea said “the government also seems happy about its claim that Ghana and Senegal have been mentioned as making progress in the fight against corruption in Africa,” but said “this claim is also dubious!”
He said “Ghana was mentioned in terms of increased civil society and individual’s activism in anti-corruption activities. This has nothing to do with government. The credit for this belongs to civil activists like Occupy Ghana and lmani Ghana and to individuals such as Martin Amidu and Anas Aremeyaw Anas.”
On the pledge to continue to implement the national anti-corruption action plan, the NPP had “a little advice to the NDC government: just implement the laws such as AFRCD 58, (as advised by the Attorney General), the financial administration act, the financial administration regulations, the law on causing financial loss, the procurement law, etc.”
The NPP said the poor record of the NDC government in fighting corruption was rooted “not just in perception but in stark reality,” adding, “GYEEDA, Woyome, SADA, Subah, Waterville, Smarttys, etc are not perceptions.”
It said the TI report identified transparency and accountability as well as prosecution as key ingredients in fighting corruption but the NDC government’s record on these “is appalling.”
“Major financial dealings such as loans for the GNPC, floatation of ADB shares and the IMF loan agreement were not taken to Parliament. Value for money audit for the many sole sourced public works is largely not done. Mandatory reports on public procurement to Parliament are not done.”
Record on Prosecution
“The record on prosecution for financial wrongdoing is even worse. Two former ministers of state in another government were prosecuted for alleged infringement of the Procurement Law. Ghanaians are therefore still in a state of shocked disbelief over the twists and turns that have led to the loss/siphoning of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ monies in the Woyome affair, in the Waterville affair, in GYEEDA, in SADA, in Subah, in Smarttys, etc.
“President Mahama’s government, this time, will not prosecute. Even when court orders to recover taxpayers’ monies are secured through the efforts of others, the NDC government is unable to recover the monies,” Nana Akomea said and added, “even where the government goes into agreements for mere refunds of taxpayers’ monies, very little refund is reported. Massive payments of taxpayers’ monies for no work done have been regular.”
The NPP further said the bus branding saga involving Selassie Ibrahim’s Smarttys Productions “clearly illustrates the corruption-friendly profile of President Mahama’s NDC government.”
“The Attorney General’s investigation into this matter found that the bus branding work was awarded, commenced and completed even before the procurement process was started, and before any contract was signed; and that the sole sourced contract resulted in over payment of nearly two million Ghana cedis (GH¢ 2 million).”
The statement added: “The Attorney General recommended further investigation of all state officials involved in this breach of the various laws on the use of public funds. So far, what has happened is the resignation of the sector minister and President Mahama ordering a refund of the excess looted taxpayers’ monies.”
By William Yaw Owusu