Politics of Tuesday, 2 October 2018
The leading opposition, National Democratic Congress (NDC) has dispelled any falsehood being disseminated by a document circulating in some newspapers and tabloids claiming to be audit reports on operations of former government officials.
In a press statement signed by party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, the purported audit report which was published in a defamatory manner, sought to tarnish the images of ex-appointees of the erstwhile Mahama government.
The statement alleged that the audit report was signed by a former Auditor General, Edward Dua-Agyeman as ‘Secretary to the Cabinet Committee’, though he is the Chairman of the Board of the Audit Service.
Edward Dua-Agyeman was also accused of sole-sourcing some private firms which supposedly audited the state agencies in question. According to the NDC, all these revelations, coupled with other discrepancies, are basis on which it is advising the general public to disregard the audit report since it was published based on lies and propaganda.
Below is the full press statement by the NDC on the NPP government’s audit reports on operations of former NDC government officials:
STATEMENT BY THE NDC ON THE NPP GOVERNMENT’S FAKE AUDIT REPORTS ON THE OPERATIONS OF FORMER GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has taken note of a certain document purporting to emanate from a Cabinet Committee said to be responsible for the “Coordination of Investigations/Forensic Audits”.
This document has been published widely in a number of pro-Government newspapers and tabloids in a denigrating and defamatory manner. The intent, obviously, is to tarnish the hard-won reputation of ex-appointees of the former NDC Government and, by extension, the NDC.
We note, rather curiously, that the purported Cabinet document is signed by a former Auditor General, Edward Dua-Agyeman, as “Secretary to the Cabinet Committee”. Incidentally, Edward Dua-Agyeman is also the Chairman of the Board of the Audit Service and is engaged in a “duel to the death” with the Auditor General, Mr. Daniel Yao Domelevo, who has accused him of undermining his authority.
We also note that the Cabinet document lists certain private firms that are supposed to have audited the State Agencies in question. We have credible information that these private firms were not legally engaged since they were not officially authorized by the Auditor General to conduct these ‘audits’. Under the 1992 Constitution, it is only the Auditor General who is authorized to carry out audits of State Agencies. Where, for some good reason, such audits have to be carried out by private firms, the Auditor General’s consent has to be sought. Indeed, it is the Auditor General who is supposed to choose the firms and authorize them on their mandate.
Our information is that this did not happen in this case, and that these private companies were sole-sourced by Edward Dua-Agyeman, who also works in the office of the Senior Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo.
We also have information that it was Mr. Osafo Maafo’s idea to convert the illegal reports of the unauthorised private firms into a supposed “Cabinet Committee Report”. This was after the Auditor General had refused to own the audit and issue a report on them on professional ethical grounds.
We therefore wish to ask Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo and the Secretary to the Cabinet, Madam Debrah-Karikari, when the said “Cabinet Committee” was set-up, who set it up, who the members of the Committee are, details of their meetings and why and how a non-Cabinet Member, Mr. Edward Dua-Agyeman, came to be appointed Secretary of the “Cabinet Committee”.
The NDC has further credible information that an amount of at least US$6.8 million has, so far, been paid by the NPP Government under President Akufo-Addo’s watch to these private firms to carry out work that is already being done or has been completed by State Agencies. Meanwhile, the tax-payers money is being spent on State Agencies like the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), the Special Prosecutor’s Office, the Auditor General’s Department, and the Attorney General’s Department, any or all of which could have carried out those audits.
We have evidence from some former NDC appointees that while they have been or are being subjected to EOCO investigations and while they have submitted themselves to regularly reporting to EOCO, they have also received letters from some of these private firms to answer the same questions they have already answered at EOCO.
The NDC therefore wants to ask:
• What is the justification for these parallel investigations?
• What is the justification for the misuse of our taxpayers’ monies?
• What is the justification for paying huge amounts to private firms to do exactly what the state agencies are in the process of doing when these state agencies are under resourced?
• Who are the real and ultimate beneficiaries of these huge payments?
These questions must be answered by President Akufo-Addo’s Government and must be answered now.
The NDC has gathered from the document in question that the UNDP Office in Ghana has been funding or is being requested to fund Dua-Agyeman’s so-called “Cabinet Committee” to carry out these dubious audits. We wish to draw the attention of the UNDP to the fact that Dua-Agyeman does not have the integrity of character to undertake such an assignment. We therefore urge the UNDP to conduct a research into the background of the character called Edward Dua-Agyeman and it will be amazed at what it will uncover.
The reputation of Edward Dua-Agyeman as a trickster and a hatchet man precedes him, and the slightest investigation into his background would have revealed the following facts about him:
• It was Mr. Edward Dua-Agyeman who, in 1983, was banned by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana, from practising accountancy and auditing in Ghana for forging an audit report for a private firm whose accounts he had neither seen nor audited.
• It was the same Edward Dua-Agyeman who, in 1986, led a team to conduct special investigations and at the end of the exercise presented a false report causing some Heads of Department to suffer unjustly even though they were innocent, leading to Dua-Agyeman being sacked.
• It was the same Edward Dua-Agyeman who, on assuming office in 2001 as Auditor-General, sent BNI officials to arrest his predecessor Mr. Osei Tutu Prempeh in church, on false allegations of possessing confidential state documents.
• It was the same Dua-Agyeman who hauled Mr. Prempeh to the police station on another false allegation that Mr. Prempeh had unlawfully appropriated a Government vehicle on his retirement, only for it to turn out that the vehicle had actually been duly valued and sold to Mr. Prempeh by the state.
• It was the same Dua-Agyeman who falsely labelled a ‘Final Report’ of an audit into Castle renovations during President Kufour’s term that implicated some of his Ministers and officials as an ‘Interim Report’. He then formed a bogus Committee which doctored the report to exonerate some of the Ministers and officials and fraudulently described the doctored report as the ‘Final Report’.
• It was the same Dua-Agyeman who awarded himself End of Service Benefits and illegally took two luxurious state vehicles home and hid them in his Teshie Nungua residence while on his terminal leave, even though the vehicles had neither been valued nor purchased by him.
• It was the same Dua-Agyeman who, in 2005, leaked what was supposed to be an audit report on the publishers of Kwesi Pratt Jnr’s ‘Insight’ newspaper, deliberately quoting concocted tax liability figures.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is trite knowledge that the Commissioner for the then Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not report to the Auditor General on tax positions of companies and neither is the Auditor General’s office a debt collection agency for the IRS. The reason Edward Dua-Agyeman did this was that the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) of which Kwesi Pratt Jnr was a prominent member had announced an imminent major public demonstration agitating for a downward review of the prices of petroleum products in the country. His clear intention was to intimidate Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr and the CJA in a bid to frighten them and induce them into calling off the planned demonstration.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The following are more of the antecedents of the man Edward Dua-Agyeman:
• It was Dua-Agyeman who was appointed Acting Auditor General in 2001 when he was already past the mandatory retirement age of sixty years, and who stayed in office till mid-November 2009 when his terminal leave ended, even though the maximum duration beyond sixty years for his tenure under the Constitution is five years.
• It was the same Dua-Agyeman who the then Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Honourable Sam Sallas Mensah, then MP for Upper West Akyem constituency, accused of dishonestly staying in office after the expiration of his constitutionally permitted term and questioned the legitimacy of audit reports signed by him after 2006.
• It was the same Dua-Agyeman who hounded Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, running mate of the then NDC Presidential Candidate Professor John Evans Atta Mills, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the former Chairman of the Electoral Commission and others when they criticised the NPP Government of the day under President J. A. Kufuor.
• It was the same greedy Dua-Agyeman who harassed President Mills’ Government, claiming that he (Dua-Agyeman) was entitled to salaries from the state for the rest of his life after he had been paid ex gratia award as well as his emoluments.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You will recall that this same Dua-Agyeman is the subject of a recent petition by the incumbent Auditor-General, Mr. Daniel Yao Domelevo, addressed to the President of the Republic, complaining about the unlawful and unconstitutional interference of Mr. Dua-Agyeman in his work as Auditor-General and calling on the President to call Mr. Dua-Agyeman to order. The President is yet to respond to the petition.
Ladies and gentlemen!
• This is the same Dua-Agyeman who has been recruited by Nana Akufo-Addo’s NPP Government to do hatchet jobs on former appointees of the previous NDC Government.
• This is the same Dua-Agyeman who is being paid by the State to leak false audit reports.
• This is the same Dua-Agyeman who is requesting extension of donor support from the UNDP and logistics for his hatchet agenda.
• This is the same Dua-Agyeman who has signed a letter to the Cabinet describing himself as “Secretary” of a so-called “Cabinet Committee” when he is neither the Secretary to the Cabinet nor a member of the Cabinet.
• This is the same Dua-Agyeman who has designed his own letterhead for the so-called “Cabinet Committee” with the title “Cabinet Committee for the Coordination of Investigations/Forensic Audits”.
• This is the same Dua-Agyeman whose so-called forensic audit reports allege that the GNGC, under the previous NDC Government, caused financial loss to the state by purchasing helicopters. Yet it is on record that those helicopters are stationed at the Ghana Air Force base, being actively used by the Ghana Air Force, and that it was one of those helicopters that was used recently to convey Vice President Mohamadu Bawumia to Wa when he went to distribute relief items to flood victims which have turned out to have expired relief items for which his brother-in-law, who is the Deputy National Coordinator of NADMO, has been suspended.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is the same hatchet man Dua-Agyeman, acting in the irresponsible, egotistic and sleazy manner that he has become infamous for, who has been responsible for all these acts of mis-governance and illegality. Shoddiness is his first name, dishonesty is his middle name and vindictiveness is his surname.
In 2005, the Chronicle newspaper in one of its editorials wrote:
“Mr. Dua-Agyeman has already been retired and therefore let us see him back home where he belongs, so he does not continue to denigrate this important office, so it does not become a national embarrassment, such that nobody would place any value on reports they spend the taxpayer’s money to come up with”.
Against this background of all that we have enumerated so far, the NDC leadership has advised former NDC Government appointees not to subject themselves to the so-called investigative processes of these private companies with dubious mandates.
We call on President Nana Akufo-Addo and his NPP Government to stop the incessant harassment and witch-hunting of former NDC Government appointees. The Government must concentrate on the unbridled thievery and corruption of today. In particular, the Government must concentrate on fighting the menace of ‘One Day, One Corruption Scandal’; by speedily, thoroughly and properly investigating the following alleged corruption scandals and maladministration of the NPP Government:
• The $178 million Kelni GVG and Ministry of Communication corruption scandal
• The $1.5 million Startimes-Rebecca Akuffo Addo bribery scandal
• The $1.2 billion National Identification Authority Scandal
• The $ 2.5 million Bawumia-GPS scandal
• The 5 million liters contaminated fuel scandal involving BOST, Movepiina and Zup Oil.
• The 230 cases of premix fuel diversions by the Ministry of Fisheries
• The GH¢800,000.00 website development scandal at the Ministry for Special Development and Initiatives
• The $700 million AMERI Novation scandal
• The $ 8million Nyantakyi/Akuffo Addo/Bawumia bribery Scandal from Anas’ investigations and so on.
These allegations must be properly investigated by the constitutionally mandated state investigative agencies and proper independent reports of their findings published and appropriate sanctions applied.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 2009, the NPP, in opposition, threatened that they would refuse to cooperate with EOCO and other state investigative authorities. They carried out their threat. The NDC is a law-abiding party so we will not stop our former appointees from cooperating with the state investigative authorities, provided that those investigations are not fishing expeditions designed to frame them up.
We hereby call on President Akufo-Addo and his NPP Government to render account for the US$6.8 million that is supposed to have been spent on the illegal and ghost audits and to justify to the Ghanaian public why those amounts were paid when the state investigating agencies are mandated to do this work, and when the monies could have been better utilized in funding those agencies.
We also call on Messrs Osafo Maafo and Dua-Agyeman to clarify their ownership interests in some of the private audit firms that conducted the “ghost” audits, in particular, Baffour Awuah & Associates.
We further call on the Secretary to the Cabinet, Madam Debrah-Karikari, to make public her findings on the culprit who leaked the bogus “Cabinet Committee” report to the NPP press, or otherwise resign from office for violating her constitutional oath of office and the provisions of the State Secrets Act.
We finally call upon President Nana Akufo-Addo to call his hounds to order, fix the economy and address the serious issues of mis-governance, incompetence and unkept promises.
We thank you very much for your attendance.
Long live the NDC.
Long live Ghana.
Hon. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia
2nd October 2018