Dateline Ghana: Sharp-toothed Greedy Bastards

Posted by By at 15 January, at 14 : 08 PM Print

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Dateline Ghana: Sharp-toothed Greedy Bastards


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It is sad that President John Dramani Mahama stubbornly refused to walk his talk on corruption.

Ok, ok, the man can talk. After all, he was a communicator, hence the moniker Johnny the Talker. But there comes a time when enough becomes enough, and actions begin to speak louder than fanciful rhetoric. The time is now.

Ghana’s economy is in a mess – forget the fanciful rosy pictures they keep on painting for us. The clueless and incompetent bunch mis-managing our affairs cannot come up with anything more creative than raising taxes and borrowing money. Even the Masters of our Destiny at the IMF know that we are in a sorry, make that pathetic, state. When incompetence is coupled with unbridled gluttonous corruption, the result is the state of comatose in which we find ourselves.

It is sad that many Ghanaians today yawn when they hear their president make pronouncements on corruption. They have heard it all before. They know that their president talk big but do little. Scrap that, make it do nothing.

It is true that actions speak a lot louder than speeches. Most people can talk sweet talk, but few are endowed men of action.

A serious leader need not to talk too much. Actually most of the best performing leaders talk as little as possible. They allow their actions to speak for them.

On a visit to Europe recently, I read about how Nigerians are being asked by foreign shop owners what revolution took place in their country that made Nigerians stopped bankrolling some of the fanciest shops in Europe and Dubai.

Nigeria is one sad African country where totally amoral rulers have turned the national treasury into some war booty, which they obscenely shared among themselves.

The heart-bending revelations one read about how the National Security Advisor to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, collared US$2.5billion meant for arms purchases for troops battling the book Haram menace, makes one feel very sad for the former Giant of Africa.

Dasukigate is just one corruption case that has revealed the total abnegation of conscience by elected leaders, who have become a great shame to our Race.

Colonel Dasuki shared money meant for troops engaged in hot battle to fight elections for his boss. As though that were not heinous enough, he had the military court-martialed troops that refused to go to battle without proper gear and kit. The current Military High Command in Nigeria did the right thing by re-instating some of the dismissed soldiers and commuting the death penalty to jail sentences. It nevertheless remain a shame unto the erstwhile military top brass that they acquiesced in demeaning the noble ethics of their profession.

The ascension of Buhari put an immediate stop to the merry-making and the sheer impunity of Nigeria’s treasury-looters. Buhari’s stamp of authority is so emphatic that even foreign shop-keepers felt the pinch. Buhari has the aura, the charisma and, above all, the integrity to make people sit up and do the correct thing.

No one argue that corruption has been eliminated in Nigeria but few Nigerians will today have the audacity to publicly loot public wealth and brazenly show it off. Few of them will like to be seen to be plastering the shops of London, Paris and Dubai red with stolen Nigeria money. The same is true on the war against Boko Haram. The battle has not been won, but today no one sees Boko Haram embarrassing Nigeria by seizing and holding large swathe of Nigeria’s real estate.

It is leadership, idiot.

The very presence of President Muhammadu Buhari is enough to tell officials that there is a new Sheriff in town and it is never going to be business as usual. Buhari does not talk much. He has not send any new anti-corruption bill to the legislature. His presence alone is enough to wake up the officers at the agencies step up to fight against the canker f corruption. Officers know that they have new a Commander in Chief who brooks no nonsense, is incorruptible and will ensure that the right things are done ALWAYS.

It is pretty sad that it is no longer possible to keep pace with the number of corrupt cases reported daily in Ghana. This is despite the presidents claim to be committed to fighting corruption.

It is sad but Mr. President seems to be unaware that action truly speaks louder than mere pronouncements.

Were words to be effective, corruption and other social vices would have long been banished from Ghana Inc.

The late President Mills of blessed memory was undoubtedly angered and saddened by the level of corruption he saw in the land. Unfortunately the good man thought that his good intentions, admonitions and exhortations is enough to make citizens sit up and listen.

No, they did not.

President Mills all but shed tears at the Custom’s yard in Tema. He berated officers for their greedy, unpatriotic actions, which only sabotage the national economy. Of course, the officers listened, yawned and carry on with their business of short-changing the national coffers through their corrupt practices. For officers of the Customs and the Immigration, a posting to a border is akin to getting a license to print money. The question remains why the state continue to pay them!

One of the nice things I admire about the Netherlands is the way government goes about maintaining law and order. The low country is a well-regulated society. It is democratic and very tolerant, but citizens know their bounds limits. Once law is passed in the Netherlands, citizens line up to obey it without murmur or question. The reason is simple: The penalty for infringement is usually too stiff that few citizens want to pay the price twice.

It is true that presidents cannot be everywhere at the same time and that they cannot do everything all by themselves. No one asked them to. That explains why the president is an Executive Officer with many offices created to assist him in discharging his statutory duties.

Good leaders need not be Omnipotent or Omniscient, they only need to set enough good examples for people to know that heads will roll if you cross the Big Man.

The new president in Tanzania is creating waves. He did this by making good examples of sacking officials who were caught not living up to their billings.

It does not show seriousness when the only penalty a minister paid when she is caught in a corruption web is to simply resign and that is the end of the matter. The case of the Minister who wasted GHC3.5million to rebrand buses bought with borrowed money showed that President Mahama has no belly to seriously tackle the gargantuan corruption that has engulfed the land.

It is quite simple: a Ministers shown to have colluded to fleece the state ought to be charged.

The law on causing financial loss to the state is still extant. Why is it not being used? There are even more draconian laws carried over from the PNDC era to prosecute thieving officials.

Which brings us to the more serious question of what exactly is wrong with us in Africa that made our officials think only of themselves.

Despite the parlous state of our economies, the general impoverishment of our people, the abject poverty in which our people still live, those that charged themselves with governing us think only of what they can steal from the commonwealth.

Ghana virtually bankrupted herself with the introduction of the Single Spine Salary Structure which saw the payroll jerked up astronomically.

The Executive Director the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), Professor Newman Kwadwo Kusi recently told us that wages and salaries, interest cost and statutory payments constitute 82% of the 2016 budget.

What this mean in simple terms is that the country will use only 18% of budget for actual capital expenditure – that is building roads, etc.

It is not known how we find ourselves in this abysmal situation but that is the stark reality we face.

So, you can stop thinking why that road is not being built or those children continue to go to school in those dangerous, dilapidated buildings. 18% of budget can go this far, but nor farther.

So, after collaring about 80 percent of national budget for their upkeep, officials still struggle to steal from the meagre remainder.


Were the bus branding scandal to be the only one is town it will still be scandalous enough, but we still have the stinking saga of the Turkish Bath, pardon, Barge to contend with.

Let us listen to Dr Bawumia of the opposition New Patriotic Party as he explain what may yet turn out to be the Golden Fleece of the Century. Speaking on the AMERI power deal at a lec­ture organised by the Prempeh College Old Students Group in Kumasi, the noted economists said: ”The issue of the AMERI power deal is the latest episode of issues bor­dering on corruption and the failure to ensure value for money for the people of Ghana. In this deal, Ghana is basically purchasing 10 gas power plants for $510 mil­lion even though the same plants can be acquired for S220 million on the market. The government in this deal contracted a middle man – AMERI – who also con­tracted another middleman – METKA – to purchase the plants from the original manufacturers, General Electric, though the govern­ment is clearly aware that General Electric are the manufacturers and Ghana could have purchased the plants directly from them.”

Dr Bawumia raised is­sues about why the govern­ment failed to purchase the power plants from either General Electric or METKA, since it is clear even from the AMERI agreement that these two companies could have of­fered Ghana a far cheaper alternative.

“The government has claimed that the manufac­turers of the plant, GE, would have provided the plant at a far more expen­sive price. However, information available indicates that GE submitted a proposal to VRA for a similar facility, and this proposal was found satisfactory by VRA. Un­fortunately, VRA’s precari­ous financial position could not permit it to enter into a rental agreement with GE. The VRA needed govern­ment support in terms of se­curity and guarantee for the transaction, which govern­ment refused to give; the same government has, how­ever, been able to issue the needed security and guaran­tee under this AMERI deal.

“In the AMERI deal, AMERI is buying the equipment from GE through METKA. With this long chain of sup­ply, can AMERI quote a price lower than GE? How can a manufacturer’s price be more than that of a re­tailer? Can the government furnish the public with copies of the GE proposal sent to VRA

“METKA, which is vir­tually executing the entire scope of AMERI’s respon­sibility under the agree­ment, i.e. engineering, procurement, construction, building, operations and maintenance of the plant, is doing so at a total cost (with profit) of not more than $350 million (payable in 5 years). Clearly, then entire plant could have been pur­chased for at most $350 million and paid for over the 5-year period. So again, why did the government not even procure this plant from METKA since they could offer the same package for $350 million? What value is AMERI bringing to the table to justify their $160 million entitlement? This contract also does not make sense.”

Thank you, Dr Bawumia.



About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

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