Outspoken journalist, Manasseh Azure has questioned authorities over their dedication to preventing corruption.
The award-profitable journalist remarked that months to the 2016 basic elections, the NPP chastised the previous authorities led by H.E John Mahama.
The NPP he underscored accused the federal government of benefitting from corruption-associated actions alleging that the Mahama-led administration did little in sending out a transparent message.
Nevertheless, Manasseh Azure acknowledged that regardless of the bashing acquired by the earlier authorities, Akufo-Addo administration appears to be doing similar.
He thus questioned the president on what it’s doing retaining him protected and conscious
Discover under the content material of the article written by the ace journalist.
Pricey President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,
When former President John Mahama and the Nationwide Democratic Congress (NDC) accuse you of profitable the 2016 elections by way of deceit, it’s straightforward to dismiss such criticism as baseless political speak.
When one objectively separates that message from the messenger, nevertheless, one is confronted not solely with deceit however fraud, which the federal government perpetuates towards the already impoverished republic.
Within the coming days, I’ll reveal or moderately remind you about a few of these rots. At this time, nevertheless, I would like a solution to at least one easy query.
Mr. President, do you benefit directly from this theft? Earlier than you reply, let me clarify.
On November 16, 2016, three weeks to the 2016 election, your social gathering, the New Patriotic Celebration (NPP) held a information convention in Accra to deal with a 500 million cedis corruption scandal. That press convention was addressed by then Coverage Advisor of the NPP, Mr. Boakye Agyarko. The contract in query was the sanitation contract underneath the Youth Employment Company (YEA), beforehand generally known as the Ghana Youth Employment Entrepreneurial Improvement Company (GYEEDA).
“This act of corruption is a matter for which Ghanaians must demand, and deserve answers to,” Mr. Agyarko stated.
He continued, “We also need to note the fact that the Board of the Youth Employment Agency is being asked to take all necessary steps to ratify the sanitation contract for 2013 – 2015. Since this contact has expired and not in operation, why would they ratify it by backdating?”
Mr. President, the GYEEDA scandal was one among your primary marketing campaign weapons within the 2016 election. It was one of many important causes you and the NPP stated the John Mahama authorities was incurably corrupt and have to be modified. And one of the crucial outrageous GYEEDA contracts in this scandal was began by President John Agyekum Kufuor’s authorities and aggravated in March 2011.
In accordance with that association, which exists until date, about 45,000 sweepers have been positioned on the sanitation programme with the YEA. Every month, GHc22.5 million of the taxpayers’ cash is dolled out to fund this contract. Out of this, GHc solely four.5 million is spent on paying salaries of the 45,000 staff whereas a whopping GHc18. Million cedis is paid to Zoomlion Ghana Restricted as administration charges.
So the blue-sporting sweepers throughout the nation, who battle with the nation’s filth and stench, are allotted GHc500 every month however the contract says Zoomlion ought to hold GHc400 and pay the employees GHc100 cedis. This implies, in a yr, every employee will get GHc6,000 cedis allocation from the state; Zoomlion makes GHc4,800 whereas the employee will get GHc 1200 ($245) a yr from that allocation.
In 2013, Pleasure FM carried out a complete investigation into the operations of GYEEDA, which revealed large corruption within the scheme. One of many contracts that got here underneath scrutiny was the sanitation contract with Zoomlion. Opposite to Zoomlion’s declare that it used the administration charges to offer instruments and gear to assist the employees, Pleasure Information came upon throughout the nation that the employees had no instruments to work with. In Damongo within the Northern Area, for example, the NGO referred to as World Imaginative and prescient, turned so frightened concerning the deplorable plight of the employees that it donated instruments and gear to help them ship their providers, for which Zoomlion was paid.
If anybody doubted Pleasure FM’s expose, the committee arrange by authorities to probe the scandal got here out with extra damning revelations about Zoomlion and its operation of this contract. Web page 131 of the GYEEDA report, which is on-line, outlines critical overcharges Zoomlion made on the state for this contract. The next are three paragraphs from that report concerning the contract from 2011 to 2013:
“By Zoomlion’s own admission, the cost of a fully fitted tricycle is GHS1,200 and they are replaced every two years. The total number of tricycles in circulation is less than 10,000 (about 6,000). Even assuming 10,000 tricycles, Zoomlion requires only GHS12m every two years to replace them but charges the MOYS GHS37.5m an excess of over GHS25.5m”
“Zoomlion suggests that it buys motorbikes for its supervisors (numbering about 600) and replaces them every two years. Zoomlion suggests that the cost of a motorbike is circa GHS1500, meaning that Zoomlion requires GHS900K to replace them every two years. MOYS, however, pays GHS49.64 over the two years period for motorbikes. This is an overcharge of circa GHS48.7m.”
President Akufo-Addo was extensively criticised when he visited Jospong and brazenly praised and inspired Joseph Siaw Agyepong (CEO of Zoomlion).
The GYEEDA Committee didn’t finish there. It said that the contract didn’t pas the worth for cash check and will, subsequently, be discontinued. Any future engagement, the committee famous, ought to be opened to aggressive bidding. Fortuitously for the federal government, it didn’t should battle with Zoomlion over the termination of this contract. By the point this report got here out, that contract had already expired in February 2013.
The John Mahama authorities didn’t terminate or renew the contract. It stored paying Zoomlion and by November 2016, almost GHc500 million had accrued. That is why the NPP held that information convention. This was what necessitated the NPP’s press convention.
At that press convention, the NPP stated ,“The President could not prosecute [Zoomlion, rLG and other big companies implicated in the GYEEDA scandal] because he directly benefited from the theft.” They stated this contract was a fraudulent association by President Mahama and his authorities to defraud the state. They stated it was insensitive to provide Zoomlion a lot and the poor sweepers so little.
Mr. President, virtually two years into your presidency, this contract nonetheless exists within the wake of extra disturbing circumstances. There has not been any cancellation or prosecution.
Your social gathering stated President Mahama couldn’t act as a result of he was benefitting directly from the theft. So at this level, it’s protected to ask whether or not you’re unable to behave since you are benefitting directly from this theft. There are extra causes on your authorities to have terminated this shady deal than the Mahama regime.
In February this yr, the YEA, underneath your watch, introduced it will finish this contract by June 2018. At a head rely carried out by the YEA, solely 38, 848 out of the 45,320 variety of beneficiaries confirmed up. Sources within the YEA informed me the 38,848 appeared inflated as a result of they felt a number of the YEA coordinators on the district degree have been compromised.
The YEA was additionally found that a lot of the beneficiaries have been recruited with out recourse to the Company.
“Therefore, no appointment letters were issued to these beneficiaries…a practice the agency finds unacceptable. Until now the service provider [Zoomlion] has been unable to furnish the Agency with the payment record of beneficiaries on its payroll,” the CEO of YEA, Justin Kodua Frimpong disclosed at a press convention.
He informed Ghanaians all that mess can be over by June 2018, when the YEA would interact service suppliers beneath aggressive bidding. June 2018 got here and went. And the contract has not been cancelled or reviewed.
Mr. President, are you unable to behave “because you benefit directly from the theft”?
The YEA wrote to sought authorized recommendation on the contract from the Lawyer Basic and Minister of Justice in a letter dated June 13th, 2018. In a response letter dated July 18, 2018, the Lawyer Basic suggested:
“If YEA is desirous of terminating the Agreement it ought to serve a written termination notice of three months on Zoomlion in Accordance with Article 23 of the 2011 Agreement.”
Three months after receiving this recommendation from the Lawyer basic, no discover has been served on Zoomlion, although Zoomlion had, in a press launch, “commended the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) for its plans to restructure the Sanitation Module of the Youth Employment Programme”.
In 2016, when the NPP accused John Mahama and his authorities of fraud in relation to this contract, the federal government on the time had stated numerous steps must be taken earlier than Zoomlion was paid because it had no present contract. The Mahama authorities stated the board ought to take steps to ratify the settlement. John Mahama’s cupboard additionally stated there ought to be a complete audit on the contract earlier than additional funds have been made.
When the “incorruptible” authorities of Akufo-Addo took over, funds have been made with out the ratification of the contract. However that isn’t all.
In a letter dated 24th Might, 2017 and signed by Roberta Assiamah-Appiah (Deputy Auditor Basic for Auditor Basic), the Audit Service stated it couldn’t certify funds to Zoomlion due to quite a few causes. The letter from the Audit Service said:
“We are unable to certify payments of the arrears in the sum of GHc441 million to Zoomlion Ghana Ltd because: (i) we have not seen or verified contracts covering the periods to which the payment request relates – i.e. 2013-2015 and 2015 to 2017, (ii) we have not seen any evidence of services provided and certification by the District Assemblies in line with Section 16(1)(a) of ACT 654, (iii) we have not received other relevant documents mentioned above, and (iv) of the refusal of the Administrator of DACF [District Assemblies Common Fund] to grant us access to their payment records to confirm or deny payments already made to Zoomlion Ghana Limited.”
This damning letter from the audit providers, the YEA’s headcount, the Pleasure FM investigative findings, the GYEEDA Committee’s report and different comparable audit studies on Zoomlion and this problematic contract are sufficient to push any authorities that’s critical about preventing corruption and safeguarding the nationwide purse to motion.
The place lie your anti-corruption credentials, Mr. President?
I’m conscious this contract has been mentioned in your cupboard a number of occasions. I’m additionally conscious the senior minister is has ordered one other headcount. I’ve acquired studies that regional and district administrators of the YEA are secretly recruiting extra sweepers to make up the numbers. The aim for the headcount will probably be defeated, however there are sufficient causes and proof to behave on this contract. So I’ve been asking myself many questions.
Why is President Akufo-Addo refusing to behave? Is it since you are “benefitting directly from the theft” which your social gathering accused President Mahama of? Nana, why would a lawyer of your calibre superintend over a authorities that pays an organization GHc270 million annually with no written contract? Do you care concerning the women and men who battle with the nation’s filth and go house every month with GHc 100 or $20? Why would a human rights lawyer of your standing supervise this trendy-day slavery?
Mr. President, these are the questions that hassle my thoughts, and any time I attempt to discover solutions, Mr. Boakye Agyarko’s phrases come again to thoughts: “The President could not prosecute because he directly benefited from the theft.”
Sir, show me and people who nonetheless have some modicum of belief in your integrity mistaken.