General News of Tuesday, 14 March 2017
A former MP for Salaga, Ibrahim Dey, has accused former National Security Advisor to former President John Mahama, Mr Baba Kamara, of unilaterally inflating by $8million, the cost of a bungalow being put up by the state to house the Vice President.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in late January 2017 revealed that the Mahama administration had pegged the cost of the edifice at $13.9million.
According to him, he was “shocked” when he was told of the price for the house, which, in his view, was “most likely sole-sourced”.
Speaking at a Good Corporate Governance Initiative event at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra on Tuesday, 31 January, Dr Bawumia said: “…There was this brouhaha about the vice president’s residence, I’m sure you heard about that, so in the context of discussing this issue, there’s supposed to be a vice president’s residence under construction, official, so to speak, so, I asked the question: why is this project being delayed, why hasn’t it been finished? And they said: ‘Well, the contractor is owed a lot of money.’ I said: ‘Well how much is this money?’ And then I’m told it is actually a lot of money. How much is this house actually costing? And I was shocked when I was told. Can you believe in Ghana we are building a house to house our vice president and this house is supposed to cost $13.9million? I mean what sort of house is this supposed to be? I mean, is the gate made of gold, the pavement of gold, the blocks of gold? [A] house in Ghana for 13.9 million dollars? I couldn’t believe it. How many boreholes couldn’t we have done [with such an amount?]. Of course I’m 100 per cent sure it didn’t go through competitive tender otherwise we would have known about it. It was most likely sole-sourced and there it stands uncompleted, but this is just an example of many contracts that we don’t have value for money for …”
The NDC’s General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia later argued that the amount involved was $3.5m and not $13.9m as claimed by the Vice President.
In a leaked telephone conversation, however, Mr Dey, an NDC member, revealed that Mr Kamara is responsible for the inflation of the cost of the project. “What is happening in our party? Are we safe? …You see, if you know somebody in BNI, let’s tip them about Baba Kamara. You know that money issue, he [Kamara] was the one involved: the vice president’s house. He was the one involved.”
According to Mr Dey, then-Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur estimated $3.5m for the project but that amount was later increased by $1.5m after which, he said, Mr Kamara unilaterally, on the blindside of Mr Amissah-Arthur, increased the amount by $8m more of which “he [Kamara] took $6m.” Mr Dey said Mr Kamara informed the contractor working on the project that the extra cost would be borne by the office of National Security.
Also, Mr Dey claimed there were about six state cars parked in Mr Kamara’s Salaga residence and urged his interlocutor to blow the lid on the former National Security Advisor.
“What kind of person is this? Even with all this, he is still coming to take our common fund, he is still not satisfied. We must also leak tapes to the people we know because this is the chance that we have to deal with this guy once and for all. If you know any of the BNI [personnel], we’ll give him tapes, I mean those on the NPP’s side, to find a way to deal with this man,” Mr Dey is heard saying on the tape.
Meanwhile, the Salaga South constituency of the NDC has petitioned the Prof Kwesi Botchwey-led committee that is probing the defeat of the party, to question Mr Kamara, who they accuse of “deliberately and maliciously orchestrating” and “masterminding” the NDC’s defeat in the constituency.
PETITION BY SALAGA NDC ON WHY THE PARTY LOST THE SALAGA SOUTH SEAT
We the underlisted concerned members of the Salaga South constituency of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), wish to bring to the notice of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, the Kwesi-Botchwey fact-finding committee, the Council of Elders, and all the other organs and stakeholders of the party, the causes of our unexpected defeat in the 2016 parliamentary election at the constituency.
First of all, we need to make it clear that the defeat of the party in the constituency in last year’s elections was deliberately and maliciously orchestrated by the former National Security Adviser, Alhaji Baba Kamara and his paid agents at the constituency.
The simple reason he gave for masterminding the defeat of the parliamentary candidate in the Salaga South constituency in his own words is to show the then MP and parliamentary candidate Alhaji Ibrahim Dey ‘where power lies’.
The NDC has since the inception of democratic rule in 1992 enjoyed tremendous support from the Salaga South (formerly Salaga) constituency, winning the parliamentary seat on four out of the seven elections so far.
But on almost all the seven elections since 1992, the NDC has been able to win the presidential elections by big margins, a clear indication that with the right strategy the party should be able to always win the parliamentary seat too.
It must be made clear and unequivocal that while he made little or no contribution to the party’s sustenance and victories in the constituency, Baba Kamara has on almost all the three occasions single-handedly masterminded the party’s parliamentary elections defeat especially in the years 2000 and 2016.
The simple reason is to satisfy his ego and punish those candidates or MPs he thinks are working hard for the people or showing some signs of independence and resistance to the corrupt systems he wants to put in place at the constituency.
Again, since 1992, he has sought to create and institute the twin British-style of Indirect Rule and ‘divide and rule tactics’ in the Salaga South constituency, using intimidation, financial inducement, character assassination and other negative Machiavellian political strategies. He practises Indirect Rule in the sense that he hardly comes out to campaign or even do anything to help the party or the people of the constituency in their developmental agenda. In fact one even hardly sees him in any gatherings or any meetings in the constituency and actually many party people even hardly know him in person.
But he always finds a way of using some few selected ‘shadowy’ but selfish individuals in the constituency to carry out his negative, selfish and destructive activities against the party, the constituency and the people in general.
While Larry Gbevlo Lartey and General Nunoo-Mensah used their offices as National Security Coordinator and Adviser respectively to help build schools and provide water (boreholes) and other amenities for their people and Ghanaians in general, Baba Kamara has used his position as national security adviser to destroy others for his selfish and egoistic interests. It must be noted that, since 1992, Baba Kamara has never built or initiated or even lobbied for one single project for the constituency. He will not also allow people who would want to help to have peace of mind. He always undermines them either by knocking their heads with others or furtively working against them using his paid agents at the constituency.
Again, as part of the divide-and-rule tactics at the constituency, he has always knocked the heads of the MPs and the DCEs together since 1992. For instance, in 2013 when he handpicked Mr Lukeman Aminu as the DCE, despite overwhelming protestation from party people and the general population of the district, he oriented him to always confront the sitting MP, Alhaji Ibrahim Dey. The battle between the DCE and the MP needlessly raged till the NDC eventually lost the 2016 elections with both the DCE and the MP losing their positions. He has also created a wide division within the party executives, with constituency chairman on his side working for the defeat of the party’s parliamentary candidate and others also working for victory.
We in Salaga, his hometown, are not surprised that many party activists and supporters nationwide are complaining about Baba Kamara’s negative and destructive roles in ensuring that the party and the President lost the 2016 polls. We have been living witnesses and have been at the receiving end of his wickedness and viciousness since 1992. We, therefore, agonised at the political fate of President Mahama when he brought him closer and later appointed him as his National Security Adviser. We knew from the beginning that it was just a matter of time that disaster would strike our affable and innocent President and his well-performing government. In the Eastern Corridor of the Northern Region that he claims he controls, only one constituency (Salaga North) has been won by the NDC. The Salaga South, (his hometown); Bimbilla, Wulensi, Kpandai, Yendi, have all been lost.
Here in Salaga South, while he hardly supports the party on the ground, he has always stymied our efforts towards building strong structures and always using intimidating tactics against leading members of the party who are willing to support the party.
In the 2016 elections, he sponsored two independent parliamentary candidates from the Salaga South constituency in order to deliberately divide the party’s support base and implant a seed of division to cause the defeat of the party.
Baba Kamara again set up a counter NDC campaign team led by the constituency chairman of the party, Mr Fuseini Yussif, and one Dan Saaka Ahmed, a political turncoat who entered into NDC and contested its parliamentary primary in 2016 ostensibly to cover for his roles in the infamous SADA scandal and seeks political protection from looming prosecution. Baba Kamara gave these two individuals and others resources meant for the party to actually campaign secretly against the party and its parliamentary candidate. As the party lost, we uncovered that they had set up an elaborate and effective underground campaign structure calling for ‘skirt and blouse,’ at mainly NDC strongholds.
In addition, Baba Kamara personally flooded torrent of cash on the NPP parliamentary campaign at the constituency using known NPP supporters. So, in the final analysis, the NPP was able to maintain its support base on the ground while that of the NDC was fragmented with some votes going to the two independent candidates.
Furthermore, campaign materials and resources meant for NDC parliamentary campaigns were diverted to the NPP. This was done according to Baba Kamara in order to “teach the NDC parliamentary candidate some important lessons of life” for disrespecting him, as the political “Overlord” of the constituency.
Again, agents of Baba Kamara, led by the constituency chairman and Mr Dan Saaka Ahmed, used financial inducement to compromise some of the party agents selected to protect the party’s votes across the constituency. Some of the agents have since confessed their sins and regretted their actions.
Last but not the least, the then Police Commander at the East Gonja district and some military men deployed to ensure law and order at the constituency intimidated and later ordered most NDC agents at the Salaga Community Centre where the constituency results were being collated to leave the scene. When confronted, the commander confirmed that he was taking an order from “above”, while he, Baba Kamara (the national security adviser), was staying in his house less than 400 yards from the collation centre. This paved the way for massive irregularities and rigging against the incumbent MP. In fact, the constituency secretary, Mr Thomas Langba, who was leading the party at the collation centre, was told that his safety could not be guaranteed by the security forces and had to immediately vacate the place.
Despite all these machinations by Alhaji Baba Kamara and his paid agents, the parliamentary candidate for the Salaga South constituency, Alhaji Ibrahim Dey, lost the elections by less than 30 votes, with the case pending in court.
While we write this petition to reveal the negative roles played by Baba Kamara and his agents, we also need to take this opportunity to bring to the attention of the party the important positive roles Mr Ibrahim Mahama, President Mahama’s brother, played towards the 2016 elections in the Salaga South constituency. It is his singular and dedicated support that brought us far and we would like to thank him for his support.
With all the issues raised above, we are calling on the NEC and the Dr Kwesi Botchwey-led fact-finding committee to institute a full-scale investigation into the circumstances leading to the loss of the important Salaga South constituency and the (negative) roles played by Alhaji Baba Kamara. The party should work hard to provide a long-lasting antidote to the perennial problems caused by the political activities of Mr. Kamara. In our opinion, this is the only way the party can ever regain the seat and maintain it at the constituency.
Dramani I. Wisdom (0247809142)
Muhammed Ibn Hafiz