The New Patriotic Party (NPP) believes President John Dramani Mahama does not have what it takes to punish members of his government who fall foul of the law.
It follows investigations ordered by the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, into how the award of a contract which was supposed to have cost far less than GH¢2 million ended up making the Ghanaian tax payer cough up a whopping GH¢3.6 million, in spite of the fact that the Ministry of Transport, then headed by Dzifa Attivor, did not have funds to pay for the controversial contract.
In her report, the Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, made recommendations for the public officials involved in the scandal to be investigated by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) but till date no such action has been taken.
This, according to the NPP, was part of reasons corruption and its related incidents have become so pervasive in the country.
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, Communications Director of the party, Nana Akomea, raised issues with government’s commitment to the retrieval of the over GH¢1.9 million fraudulently paid to Smarttys for bus rebranding contract.
Even though the Attorney General had made recommendations for further investigation and subsequent prosecution of all the public officials involved in the procurement and payment process in the ‘stinking’ deal, he said, “President Mahama’s government has not taken any action at all on this most crucial recommendation.
“This failure of President Mahama’s government reinforces the great disappointment among Ghanaians on the government’s commitment to fight against corruption.”
In view of the fact that the Attorney General established that the country’s procurement law and processes had not been followed, Nana Akomea said, “This straight away calls for prosecution as there are penalties for breaching the anti-corruption laws of the country.”
He wondered how “the NDC government of President Mahama will not prosecute officials who have been deemed to have infringed the same procurement laws, especially when that determination of infringement has been made by the Attorney General herself and the government.”
For him, “what Ghanaians are being presented with as the fight against corruption, as exemplified in this bus branding saga, is this new-found plot called ‘refund of corruptly paid-out monies.’”
In this new plot, the NPP’s Communications Director said, “NDC government officials go into collusion with individuals (who invariably have NDC affiliations), to misappropriate poor taxpayers’ monies, (create, loot and share).”
When these collusions become exposed, he said, plot two is activated in which “the NDC government…goes into negotiations with these partners in the plot, that they should refund the monies” and that “in plot three, the NDC government comes to tell the taxpayer that ‘oh some of the monies have been refunded.’ And the poor taxpayer is expected to be grateful and clap for the government.”
At worse he said, “The NDC connected individual co-plotters, knowing the joke; do not bother at all to follow through with any payments” and that even after the exposure, “the NDC government itself doesn’t bother at all with the exposures, and just move on.”
According to the NPP Communications Director, what annoys the NPP most in this entire scheme is the fact that “there is no talk whatsoever of interest payments when individuals and organizations who defraud the state are caught and asked to refund monies.”
He posited, “So the new most profitable game in town is: Collude to misappropriate taxpayers’ monies; deposit the monies into high-yielding instruments or investments; if alarm blows, you will be required to pay back the principal at your convenience; and if out of the goodness of your heart, you do some refund, you get to keep the huge interest, even if invested in treasury bills.”
The opposition party has charged the NDC to pay the full cost of GH¢3.6 million for “this political advertising.“
By Charles Takyi-Boadu