Thursday, September 22, 2016

NDC SPONSORS MONARH AGAINST BAGBIN

By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, September 22, 2016

It is being speculated that there are frantic efforts by some gurus in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to retire the majority leader, Alban S.K. Bagbin, from parliament.

The NDC is said to be tacitly sponsoring People’s National Convention (PNC) Chairman, Bernard Monarh, to unseat Mr. Bagbin, who has been in parliament on the ticket of the NDC since 1993, representing the people of Kaleo-Nadowli - formerly Nadowli West - in the Upper West Region.

The ruling party’s behind-the-scenes manouvres to remove Mr. Bagbin became apparent recently when it emerged that the PNC Chairman received a Toyota Hilux pick-up with registration number GR 8724-16 from Tony Lithur, a lawyer of President John Mahama, for his campaign in the majority leader’s constituency.

Bernard Monarh later admitted that he indeed received the vehicle under reference and added that it was going to aid his campaign at Kaleo-Nadowli; but berated the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) for releasing the registration documents of the vehicle to the public.

Monarh had previously contested for the parliamentary seat at Wa Central.

NDC Contradictions
The latest happenings in the Kaleo-Nadowli NDC strongly contradict the party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia’s allegations that it is detractors of the NDC who are teaming up with the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to remove Mr. Bagbin from parliament.

"It is not everybody who wants Bagbin in parliament and those who dread his name want to find ways of removing him from parliament. But if they come frontally they know they will be defeated. So they are coming through us, the NDC people,” he said during his tour of the region.

"The NPP, the name they fear in parliament is Bagbin. They go behind and use some of the NDC people so that they will appear to be attacking from within and then NPP will say it is his own people who are fighting him. We don't have anything to do with it.
"It is a lie. It is NPP that is using pliable NDC hands to execute that agenda; and Nelson Mandela says a traitor is worse than the enemy himself," he maintained.

Scapegoat
The constituents are said to have realized that the presidency and some powerful elements in the NDC are bent on removing Mr. Bagbin. The NDC General Secretary, they said, wanted to use the NPP as a scapegoat to deceive the NDC members in the constituency by portraying a united front for the party in the area.

Monarh Equation
Bernard Mornah, whose own party’s youth are calling for his suspension over the vehicle saga, spilled the beans when he tried to blame the DVLA for releasing the vehicle’s documents.

“I received the car from my friend and brother Tony Lithur after I had made an appeal to him. I got to know him through the ‘Free Tsatsu Movement,’ which he formed, and I was a part of. As his former student, I know he imports cars so I appealed to him during my campaign and he gave me one of his imported cars.

"So it was only proper that I registered the car in my name. But it’s obvious the DVLA has leaked the confidential registration documents to people for whatever reason known to them. And I think we should be worried that we cannot trust our DVLA,” Monarh told Starr FM.

However, speculations are rife that the brand new vehicle was given in the name of President Mahama to aid Monarh to unseat Bagbin who had publicly castigated him (president), describing his administration as very corrupt.

Frosty Relations
Mr.  Bagbin had a frosty relationship in the early years of President Mahama's regime, accusing the president of surrounding himself with nonentities in direct reference to the caliber of people advising him (president).

Mr. Bagbin once accused President Mahama of running ‘family and friends’ government and also said the president had surrounded himself with ‘fair weather friends.’

His outbursts were stemmed from his being relegated to the position of ‘3 wise men’ - who had no official portfolios. E.T. Mensah and Cletus Avoka completed the ‘wise men’ list.

The relationship appears to have been repaired after Mr. Bagbin returned to his front bench role as majority leader in parliament.

Bagbin’s U-turn
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that before the NDC opened nomination for its parliamentary contest, Mr. Bagbin had intended not to contest again and went ahead to discuss the exit plan with some powerful NDC gurus at the presidency.

However, when he realized that the NDC elements wanted to ‘do him in,’ he changed his mind and decided to run again and his campaign was somewhat ‘frustrated’ by some powerful people in the party but he scaled through in the end.




Wednesday, September 21, 2016

NDUOM FIGHTS NDC OVER MILLS DEATH

By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A comment by the founder and presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom that some members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) thanked God over President John Evans Ata Mills’ death has sparked war-of-words between the two parties.

The fight has drawn in a brother of the late president who is contesting for the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) seat in the Central Region on the ticket of the NDC, threatening to ‘expose’ Dr. Nduom, an indigene of the area if he (Nduom) did not desist from those comments.

Taboo topic
Dr. Nduom, at a rally in Cape Coast recently, had said some NDC officials put on a public show of sorrow over Prof Mills’ demise but privately rejoiced, adding that the death paved the way for the NDC’s electoral victory in 2012.

“If you didn’t kill Mills and if you are not happy Mills died, produce the autopsy report. We are challenging John Mahama to produce the autopsy report of [late] President Mills. The Central Region people here, I want you to listen to me: if John Mahama comes to your region, tell him to produce the autopsy report,” Dr. Nduom had fired.

The PPP later re-echoed the demands by many people to get the NDC to disclose the autopsy report so that everybody would know what actually killed Prof Mills.
Bizarrely, within the ruling party the issue over what or who killed the law professor is a taboo topic.

Nduom Attacked
Matters came to a head yesterday when Samuel Atta Mills, younger brother of the late President Mills, attacked Dr. Nduom, threatening to ‘expose’ him if he fails to stop talking about his brother’s death.

 “Now what Papa Kwesi Nduom (needs to do) – and I’m sorry to call him Papa Kwesi Nduom – is, he needs to explain to Ghanaians why he changed his name from Joseph Yorke to Papa Kwesi Nduom. Look, the fact that we are peaceful doesn’t mean that you can take us for a ride. Papa Kwesi Nduom, this is a warning to him, he needs to shut up about always asking questions about who killed Prof,” he said on Class FM in Accra.
“Now if he keeps on saying that then it means he has some information. If he keeps on doing that his clan will have to come and explain to our clan what happened. My advice to Papa Kwesi Nduom is this: ‘If you don’t want a dog to lick you in the face, you don’t play with it.’ I don’t know why Paa Kwesi Nduom is making it his crusade. If he doesn’t shut up about that, I will make it my project to expose him.”

PPP Fires Back
However, PPP has issued a release challenging the NDC and Prof Mills’ brother to bring the so-called damning report the ruling party claims to have on Dr. Nduom and reiterated their demand to know what killed the former president.

A statement issued in Accra by PPP Director of Communications, Paa Kow Ackon, described Samuel Atta Mills as “the opportunist stranger in KEEA” and said the NDC candidate had caused a fight he would live to regret.

“It is a fact that President John Mahama and the NDC have repeatedly sought to use the death of the late President Atta Mills for political gain.  This obviously has suited the interests of Samuel Mills.
Does the younger Mills not know that the late Atta Mills was president for the whole Ghana and not his family only?  For crying out loud, what has Samuel Mills done to pursue his brother's death certificate and cure the inconceivable insult of his strange death and illegal burial?” the statement averred.

Elmina stranger
“The eccentric manners of Samuel Atta Mills and his ilk who in this 2016 year of our Lord think that there is something negative to ‘expose’ about Dr Nduom’s name (Papa Kwesi Nduom) is a confirmation that truly he does not even come from KEEA.”

The release said, “We cannot also rule out misguided mischief since the NDC from 2001 have tried to call Dr Nduom Peter Yorke, John Yorke, etc. Every Fante has both ancestral and Christian names and this is common among Fante families. So it is only non-proper Fantes like Samuel Mills who will cry over such basic Fante naming values.”

Elmina origin
“Everyone who is from KEEA and specifically Elmina knows that in Dr Nduom’s family there are popular names such as Nduom, Asankoma and Yorke. And it is public knowledge that at birth, Dr Nduom was named Joseph Hubster Yorke Jnr after his father; and Papa Kwesi Nduom after one of their illustrious family members. If Samuel Atta Mills cares to know, both names are in Dr Nduom’s baptism and birth certificates. Who in Elmina does not know Dr Nduom as Papa Nduom since his childhood?”

The party described Prof Mills’ brother as “a stranger who is trying so hard and quite unsuccessfully to convince people that he is also from KEEA who can expose himself about his ignorance to the extent of publicly threatening to expose Dr Nduom about a so-called change of name from Yorke to Nduom; when in actual fact, there has not been any change of name.”

It added that the NDC parliamentary candidate was only doing that to gain sympathy among the electorate.
“To set the record straight, it was Dr Nduom’s father who led Teacher Atta Mills to acquire the farm land at Essaman in Elmina for which today, Samuel Atta Mills has hired land guards to terrorize innocent people, even though he is unqualified to contest any election in KEEA. Was it not when the late Atta Mills became president that his family built a house at Essaman? The question is, so at what point did Samuel Atta Mills realize that he is from KEEA? Has he not always pointed to Cape Coast or Otuam as where they come from?” PPP queried.

More challenge
Earlier, at a rally in Accra, PPP General Secretary Murtala Mohammed had said the party stood by its demand for the autopsy report to be made public and dared the NDC candidate to go ahead and carry through his threat.

“…I was the one who made that request… The founder of NDC was the first person to tell us this story. Anita De Sosoo also said the same thing. Anyidoho said he was going to speak at the right time; [there are] rumours all over the place about how Mills died and what killed him as the first citizen of the land. The PPP is demanding they produce the autopsy report,” Mohammed posited.




MAHAMA MUST GO SAYS INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE


By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A 50-year-old environmental activist, who is lacing his boots to become president, says President John Mahama lacks ideas to continue to rule Ghana and must be booted out without delay.

According to Kwaku Antwi-Owusu, “President Mahama is superintending over corruption and rot” and cannot be given a second term to continue the total destruction of the country.”

Mr. Antwi-Owusu, Head of an NGO called Ako Verde International, told DAILY GUIDE after picking his nomination forms at the Electoral Commission (EC) in Accra that Ghanaians would choose between visionary leadership and mediocrity being exhibited by President Mahama and his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) on December 7 elections.

He said there is hopelessness and joblessness under the leadership of President Mahama coupled with heightened insecurity, he would reverse the trend if he becomes president.

“The attitude of the President and his ministers in dealing with issues concerning the ordinary Ghanaian is very weak. They are looking unconcerned while the people suffer and I have entered the race to change all these.

“The President promises economic take-off but we are never airborne. The state of the economy is not always favourable for investors. Ghana is being drawn back,” he said.

He said currently the majority of Ghanaians cannot afford three square meals a day.

Mr. Antwi-Owusu said if given the nod, he would unite the country through the traditional authorities and civil society and nip what he called ‘undue polarization’ in the bud.

He said that the President, instead of focusing on putting measures in place to improve the lives of Ghanaians, is all over the place copying the policies of the opposition.

 “He should let his works do the campaign for him. If he believes he has done so much, why is he campaigning all over the place?”

He said the health sector is collapsing under the current administration and the agric sector was on its knees.
“There is a big problem but he can’t admit it. He has put square pegs in round holes.”

Mr. Antwi-Owusu promised that when elected, he would strengthen the security agencies, particularly the police and stop political influence in their work to engender professionalism.

He said senior officers in the police service would be elected to their positions and help to normalize the police recruitment process, which are currently fraught with corruption and political influences.

He said he would divide the country into three sectors and focus mainly on youth employment, women and quality education for children, as well as tackle indiscriminate mining.

He condemned the remission of the sentences of the Montie trio by President Mahama, saying what the President did was to spite the judiciary.

“There is clearly leadership deficit and I am coming in to restore hope. The President is completely exhausted and he must leave for a more prepared leader to take Ghana to the next level.”




DOE ADJAHO JABBED

By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

United States of America-based law Professor, Stephen Kwaku Asare, has bemoaned the partisan actions of the speaker of parliament and said the head of the legislature has become an ‘appendage’ of the executive, headed by President John Mahama.

The speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, was reportedly delegated by President Mahama to represent him at a public function in Ho, Volta Region, over the weekend where he (speaker) used the occasion to push for his (president’s) re-election, but the law professor says it is an affront to the 1992 Constitution. 

Furthermore, the speaker recently disallowed a Motion the minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) wanted to present to the House, asking it to investigate reports that President John Mahama had received a Ford Expedition SUV as a “gift” from a Burkinabe contractor.

Volta Assurance
The speaker assured the chiefs and people of the region that it (region) would not be taken for granted by the NDC government or any of its functionaries.
He said in Ho, the regional capital, during the climax of this year’s Asogli Yam festival celebration that the region was being accorded the needed attention by the government in terms of development.

“I want to pledge in the presence of all the dignitaries and chiefs gathered here that we, the sons and daughters of this region who are in government, won’t do anything to deprive this region of its share of development. Whatever we have to do however, to ensure the region’s progress we shall do it to the best of our ability,” he said.

Mr Doe Adjaho led a high-powered government delegation, including the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah and the regional minister Helen Adwoa Antoso, to represent President Mahama as a special guest at the festival which coincided with the official launch of the NDC’s manifesto in Sunyani, Brong-Ahafo Region.

Executive Appendage
Professor Asare, commenting on the issue said, “It seems the speaker considers himself as an appendage of the president and works for the government of the day. Why will a constitutional officer who is required to be non-partisan engage in open partisan politics? The answer is that the Constitution is not self-enforcing. It counts on people to give effect to its words.”

He said that in designing the leadership of parliament, a country can opt for either a partisan or nonpartisan speaker and cited the situation in the US where the speaker of the House of Representatives is both the leader of the institution and the highest ranking member of the majority party; and also the United Kingdom where the speaker, while still a Member of the House, is the highest authority of the institution but proactively renounces her political affiliation upon taking office.

UK Model
Prof Asare said that on paper, it seems Ghana adopted a ‘supercharged’ version of the UK model saying, “That is, not only do we expect the speaker to be nonpartisan, but also under Article 97(1) (b) she cannot even be an MP.

“Thus, a sitting MP who is elected as a speaker must vacate her position. In practice, however, it seems the speaker can be openly partisan and campaign on any political issue for her political party of choice.”

Fundamental Problem
“More generally, our fundamental problem is that we have difficulties following laws. This is especially so with those who hold high offices. Thus, our laws have become mere suggestions. Its sinews of life ruptured by the very human agencies to whom the powers of enforcement have been entrusted,” he said.

He added, “The other sad reality is, unless we start taking laws seriously by injecting it with its sinews of life, we must as well forget about advancing as a country. The key to our governance conundrum then is enforcement.

According to him, the enforcement agencies “must have zero tolerance of violations by powerful people. The commoners will not follow the law unless they see the powerful being held accountable for breaching the law.”

Constitutional Design
“There is nothing inherently wrong with the constitutional design for electing speakers of parliament. It has opted for the nonpartisan model used in UK and actually improved upon it. However, the Constitution assumes that a person who has taken the oath of the speaker will abandon partisan activities and count on the people to hold speakers accountable to this pledge of non-partisanship.”

Prof. Asare noted, “Until we adopt an enforcement mindset, we can only say that we have adopted a hybrid approach where the Constitution suggests that the speaker must be nonpartisan, but you and I know that she is allowed to be freely partisan in all her activities.”



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

GOV’T ABANDONS US…CIRCLE VICTIMS CRY OUT


By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Victims of the fire cum floods disaster that shocked Ghana in mid 2015 have complained bitterly about the government’s neglect.

According to the group claiming to be over 100, their incessant calls on the government to pay them compensation have fallen on deaf ears.

June 3 twin disaster or the 'Black Wednesday' as it has come to be known, were the result of heavy rains which started on June 2, causing intense flooding at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Accra.

Some pedestrians who sought shelter at the GOIL fuel station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle during the rains lost their lives when fire broke out at the station. Survivors were severely burnt.

Some businesses and houses located around the fuel station were also destroyed by the fire which claimed over 150 lives, destroying property worth millions of cedis.

Some of the victims who visited DAILY GUIDE yesterday narrated the harrowing experiences they had been going through at the hands of some government officials, particularly at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly in their pursuit for compensation.

They claimed the government paid GH¢10,000 each to about 100 of the families of victims who did not survive the disaster and also paid a similar amount to 15 of those who survived but had neglected the rest.

They said during the commemoration of the first anniversary of the disaster, the government created the impression as if it had sorted out all the victims, which was contrary to the reality.

According to them, the AMA Boss Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije organized them to the premises of the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra during the commemoration ceremony and told them that the payments were ongoing before serving them food and leaving them to their fate.

 “The following week, we started receiving phone calls from the AMA to come to their office and when we got there they told us to wait for them for some weeks but that too never worked.”

They claimed that since there was no result coming from the AMA, they decided to pursue it further but anytime they went forward, they were ‘harassed’ by the officials over there.



NDC JUSTIFIES AKUFO-ADDO 'COFFIN'

By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has endorsed the action of its supporters who carried a coffin bearing posters of the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP),  Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in Sunyani, Brong Ahafo over the weekend.

At the official launch of the ruling party’s manifesto, the supporters provocatively carried the NPP leader’s ‘coffin’ as if he were dead in the full glare of President John Mahama, his Vice, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, as well as all the NDC leaders at the Sunyani Coronation Park.

Nobody was able to call the errant youth to order.
Kofi Adams, the 2016 Campaign Coordinator for President Mahama, virtually endorsed the sacrilegious acts of his party faithful yesterday on radio, saying “it is not new in our politics.”

The coffin was said to have been brought from Bole, the home town of President Mahama.

“Without condoning the act, I must say it is not new in our politics. This is done in both the NDC and NPP, even sometimes it happens in internal elections,” Mr Adams, who is also the National Organizer of the NDC, told Okay FM in Accra.

“I saw this same act being done in our recent primaries in one of the areas that I visited. The carrying of Akufo-Addo’s coffin was mere symbolism and wasn’t part of our programme,” he said.

Mr Adams partly blamed the media for exaggerating the episode, saying “the media is always quick to bring such things on the front burner.

“Our focus on the day was selling our transformational agenda to the public which will see the living conditions of Ghanaians, including Akufo-Addo being enhanced.”

On his part, Mustapha Hamid, a spokesperson of the NPP leader, described the action of the youth as ‘reckless’ and ‘unfortunate.”

On Facebook, Hamid said “until we raise our game as young people in active politics, politicians will never respect us.

“Mahama brought these young guys to his manifesto launch; all he could do was to ask them to engage in this. Find a coffin and put Nana Addo’s poster on it and exhibit such crass buffoonery!”

He said, “Elsewhere young people are playing key roles in political campaigns in formulating policies to provide alternative direction to build their nations. In the NDC, the young people are trained to be dispensable buffoons- used and dumped and used again when it is elections. I bet 100% of these guys are jobless. Even after carrying this coffin, they’ll leave Sunyani jobless.

“How many times haven’t the NDC pronounced Nana Addo dead and how many times has God proven to them that He alone decides who lives and who dies?” Hamid quizzed.

“The NDC will never learn. Instead of finding ways of retrieving the DKM monies from Lordina to pay those poor customers, they waste time on praying Nana dies. I now understand why the rains came.”




CUSTOMS TAKES STEPS TO SALVAGE IMAGE

A group photograph of the participants with the dignitaries

By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, September 20 , 2016

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has organized special training for some of its officers as part of efforts to position customs as a transparent and accountable institution.

The three-day course, which forms part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reform agenda, focused on ethics and anti-corruption in the service, and the beneficiary officers resolved to help promote integrity in customs.

In their communiqué, the participating officers urged management of customs to “take ownership of the integrity initiative.

They also tasked the management to “be firm, committed, transparent and efficient in the implementation of rules and regulations and policies of the customs.”

According to the trainees, the internal anti-corruption units in the customs should be brought under one unit and strengthened in the fight against corruption.

At a short closing ceremony, Commissioner of Customs Division of the GRA John K. Vianney, said a trainee’s manual and plan had been developed to continuously build the capacity of the staff in the integrity initiative, adding that they were using the beneficiary officers who he called ‘focal persons’ to lead the campaign.

“These initiatives are part of a country-wide plan to reorient custom officers, and to infuse in them the tenets of professionalism, higher ethics and renewed sense of discipline,” the commissioner said.

He said GRA has launched two telephone hotlines that will enable the public and other stakeholders to report corruption related issues to the authority, saying “these hotlines will complement other media channels available to the public who seek information on tax matters, and to report on poor customer services by staff.”

A representative from the UNDP said any country that seeks to facilitate trade and make economic progress must be able to put in place an effective customs administration.

She said customs administrations all over the world over are among organizations that are vulnerable to many kinds of “corruption from passive bribery to substantial fraud.”

She said the 2011 Global Integrity Report found that trading route checkpoints in Ghana foster corruption and the perception was corroborated by the 2014 Global Enabling Trade Report.

She said that steps being taken by customs to reverse the trend were reassuring.

Director of Anti-Corruption at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Charles Ayamdoo, who was one of the resource persons, urged the officers to live above reproach and make customs an important component of government business.

He said “building integrity in Ghana and for that matter GRA is critical. Integrity is an important component in our struggle to deal with the canker of corruption, as it is an important tool for changing systems, values and mindset rather than blaming individuals,” he said.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

BAWUMIA EXPOSES NDC BLOATED CONTRACTS

By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) vice presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has exposed the lack of value for money regarding infrastructural projects under the current National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration led by President John Mahama, saying some of the contracts were/are clearly inflated.

“The Mahama government has touted its achievements in the last eight years in its Green Book in the area of infrastructure (roads, water projects, hospitals, schools, etc.). The burning question by most Ghanaians is that if this NDC government has increased Ghana’s debt from GH¢9.5 billion to GH¢105 billion so far, can they point to an equivalent value of projects?” he underscored.

“Unfortunately, and sadly, the answer is no. The government is attempting to hoodwink Ghanaians by claiming a massive increase in infrastructure investment,” he noted.

At a public lecture titled, “The State of the Ghanaian Economy – A Foundation of Concrete or Straw,” last Thursday in Accra – which focused on the economy - Dr. Bawumia shredded the government’s economic performance into pieces, taking his time to prove to Ghanaians that the Mahama administration had collected so much loans but has less to show in the area of infrastructural development.

Dr Bawumia, a distinguished economist and former deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, said the ruling party is rather taking Ghana backwards with its policies, citing declining growth rate from 14 percent inherited by John Mahama to the current 3.9 percent.

Notable Projects
The NPP strong man cited projects such as Kumasi Airport runway, the much-talked-about AMERI deal, hospital projects and many others, to back his claim that some of the major contracts were inflated compared to similar projects executed in other jurisdictions.

“I saw two virtually identical sets of teachers’ bungalows in Dambai Teacher Training College this year; one constructed under the NPP in 2007 and the other by the NDC in 2011. These two buildings are side by side. The one constructed by the NPP cost some GH¢195,000 whereas the one constructed by the NDC cost some GH¢900,000 (4.6 times more). What accounts for this huge difference?” he wondered.

He said another example was a runway rehabilitation alone at the Kumasi Airport which he said cost the country $23.8 million, whereas a proposed airport at Ho was estimated at $25 million, pointing out, “It is on record that Ethiopia is building its Shire Airport at a cost of $21 million.

Ameri Deal
“The issue of the Ameri Power Deal is one episode of issues bordering on corruption and the failure to ensure value for money for the people of Ghana,” Dr Bawumia observed.

He said the government secured power plants for $510 million, even though the same plants could be acquired for $220 million on the market, adding, “The government has claimed that the manufacturers of the plant, GE, would have provided the plant at a far more expensive price. The situation of overpricing of contracts through the use of sole sourcing as the procurement method of choice is very typical of this John Mahama NDC government.”

According to Dr. Bawumia, GH¢3.65 million from oil funds which was earmarked for a supposed Osu railway, was used for the branding of 116 Metro Mass Transit buses, saying, “The company that actually did the work of employing Ghanaians to do the branding of the buses says it charged GH¢11,600 as cost for the branding of all the 116 buses.”

According to him, “Egypt is constructing a 1,800 Megawatt gas power plant at a cost of $1.3 billion. Abu Dhabi is constructing a 1,600 Megawatt gas power plant at a cost of $1.5 billion. Together, Ameri and Karpower will cost Ghana over $2 billion over five years, and yet will give us 505 Megawatts.”

Legon Vs Ridge
Dr. Bawumia noted that the University of Ghana acquired a loan facility of US$217 million from the Israeli Government to build a 600-bed teaching hospital at Legon saying. “The cost of building a new 600-bed teaching hospital by the University of Ghana is $30m less than the cost of renovating and expanding Ridge Hospital from 200-bed to 420.

“If you sum the cost of all the infrastructure expenditure undertaken by this NDC government from loans, grants and taxes between 2009 and 2015, it is less than $7 billion. Meanwhile, the government has borrowed some $39 billion; so where is the rest of the money?”

IMF Director
“Indeed, according to the Managing Director of the IMF, most of Ghana’s borrowing has been used for consumption and not for investment. The overpricing of contracts, corruption and the absence of value for money considerations are partly responsible for this,” he echoed.

He said investment in infrastructure under the Mahama-led NDC government had been on the decline.

Massive Resources
The NPP vice presidential candidate stressed, “Indeed, given the resources at its disposal, one should expect at least four to five times the quantum of investment that the NDC claims to have undertaken.”

He said with the huge resources at the disposal of the NDC, the government should have solved the water and energy problem, put in place at least 1,000km of asphalt road in each region as well as transformed agriculture in the Northern Region, Afram Plains and the rest through investment in machinery, irrigation and dams.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

NDC CATCHES COLD ...LINES UP 6 MINISTERS AGAINST BAWUMIA


By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is oiling its propaganda machinery to ‘douse’ the flame ignited by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) vice presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, last Thursday at a public lecture on the economy where he shredded the government into pieces in respect of the economy.

The distinguished economist and former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, delivering a lecture titled, “The State of the Ghanaian Economy – A Foundation of Concrete or Straw,” rubbished the NDC’s economic performance saying the ruling party was rather taking Ghana backwards with its policies, citing declining growth rate from 14 percent inherited by President John Mahama  to the current 3.9 percent.

NDC Dazed
Apparently dazed by Dr. Bawumia’s revelations, the NDC, led by the former propaganda secretary, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, (who is the current Minister of Transport), said he was leading a team of NDC propagandists to ‘correct’ the ‘untruths’ being ‘peddled’ by Dr. Bawumia in their “Setting the Records Straight” encounter. The NDC programme was expected to take place tomorrow at the party’s headquarters, but Fifi Kwetey announced last night that it had been postponed because of other engagements.

“Enough of the untruths being peddled; we are going to set the records straight from next week,” he posted on Facebook last Friday.

He said, “You may already be aware that every election year, The NDC Forum for Setting the Records Straight organises a number of press conferences to address pertinent issues ahead of the general election and this year will be no different. On the 14th of September, 2016, the first in the series of the press conferences will be held at the NDC headquarters in Accra.”

According to Fifi Kwetey, the forum would be attended by Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, the scandal-prone former Sports Minister who supervised Ghana’s worse FIFA World Cup participation in Brazil in 2012 amid serious corruption claims against him, but shielded by the president; Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, a deputy Minister of Education; Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy and Petroleum; Casiel Ato Forson, a deputy Minister of Finance; Felix Kwakye Ofosu, a deputy Minister of Communications; Kojo Twum-Boafo of the Free Zones Board as well as Sam George Nettey of the presidency.

“I know majority of you can’t wait for the NDC’s “Setting The Records Straight” press conference slated for this Wednesday.

“But we have had to postpone it to a later date because the President, John Dramani Mahama is unveiling highlights of the party’s Manifesto tomorrow evening,” Mr Kwetey stated.

Falsehood
Fifi Kwetey is noted for peddling falsehood against his political opponents and the possibility of misleading Ghanaians at the so-called forum once again will not be ruled out.

In the heat of the 2008 general election, he published that then President John Agyekum Kufuor had stolen all Ghana’s gold reserves at the Bank of Ghana, but when pushed at the vetting committee to provide evidence, he admitted he lied.

He may be on another journey to spew out falsehood for political expediency in support of his paymasters.

Veep’s Challenge
Since Dr Bawumia’s public lecture, anxious Ghanaians have thrown the gauntlet to Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, who is an economist and head of the Economic Management Team of the government - which had succeeded in throwing the economy into disarray. He is to counter the NPP vice presidential candidate’s claims, especially since he (Amissah-Arthur) had earlier warned that he was ready to match the NPP boot for boot.

 He announced at an NDC rally at Ashaiman that he was getting ready to disprove Dr. Bawumia’s claims, particularly on interest payments on loans, which the erudite NPP stalwart said were exceeding capital expenditure owing to unbridled borrowing.

He said that Dr. Bawumia misled the public on the interest payments issue and justified the high interests being paid by the country to lenders.
Mr Amissah-Arthur, former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, said that the money borrowed was purposely for projects so there was nothing wrong with payments of interests at whatever rate.

“So whenever you take money and pay interest or repay the amount you have collected, it is for the road that you have borrowed the money for so that is the one that you are paying, so there is no way you are paying interest for nothing at all; you are paying interest for projects that you have borrowed money for.”

“So how can you say that you pay interest more than capital expenditure? It is that capital expenditure money that you are paying as interest. This one is a simple thing in primary school; you learn it. I don’t know how people with higher qualifications cannot understand this simple context,” he charged.

Classification
The vice president explained, “In economics we call it classification. You have to classify that interest payment for the thing you use that money for. You do not pay money for nothing but you pay interest if you have not borrowed money. When you have borrowed money you are paying interest for that by saying this one for this road, for that hospital, this one for the project you have borrowed money for.”

“You cannot come and say that interest payment has exceeded capital expenditure so we have made a mistake.”

Dr. Bawumia has continuously insisted that the Mahama-led government had over-borrowed and that is why the government is paying so much to service the interests amounting to GH¢10.5 billion for this year alone - more than the GH¢9.5 billion inherited by the NDC administration from the NPP in 2009.

Model
Finance Minister Seth Terkper has remained largely unwavering in responding to issues about the economy.

Last Friday, Mr. Terkper said Dr Bawumia ‘masked’ the true state of the Ghanaian economy by being selective in his use of data and said that he (Dr. Bawumia) was using different models in his analysis of Ghana’s debt to suit a political objective of making the government unpopular.

“If we are going to use Dr Bawumia’s model, let us use it comprehensively because he cannot use other data when it suits his criticism and reverts to his model when it does not suit him,” he said, adding that the economist’s assertions that government’s debt management policy is not rational needed to be refuted.

“We have a debt management policy that has many objectives. We do not have only one objective.  Given that the Ghanaian economy has begun to pick up, it will not make sense to keep a one billion Eurobond debt for ten or fifteen years,” Terkper said.

Running For Cover
Interestingly, when Mr. Terpker was asked to provide figures to contradict Dr. Bawumia’s debt to GDP ratio claims, he said he was travelling and would provide it on his return.

Casiel Ato Forson, who also tried to pour cold water on Dr. Bawumia’s revelations when given the chance to provide figures to contradict his (Dr. Bawumia’s) figures, said he was yet to leave his house for the office.

Public Debt

Dr Bawumia warned that government’s continuous borrowing would push the national debt to $42 billion in December.

He accused the government of failing to put to good use the huge loans it had contracted.

“In fact, 66 per cent of Ghana’s debt from independence has been accumulated under the presidency of John Mahama in just the last three-and-a-half years.

“By the end of 2008 following the adoption and implementation of the HIPC initiative, the government’s policy framework of fiscal discipline, the country’s debt to GDP ratio, had declined from 189 per cent in 2000, to 32 per cent of GDP by 2008,’ he disclosed.

He added, “In terms of the dollar equivalent of the borrowed amount, this government has borrowed some 39 billion dollars in eight years.”

“When I mention this, they either get confused or pretend to get confused; so for the sake of clarity, I have put in this document” (referring to the paper he was delivering) “a table that shows them clearly the dollar equivalence of all the amounts borrowed from 2009 to 2016, in fact by December 2016, the government would have borrowed $42 billion dollars.”

“The government would claim no doubt, that the book value of the debt is $26 billion dollars; but quite frankly, that is a weak argument.”

“The only reason why the book value of the debt is $26 billion is because we are applying today’s exchange rate which the same government succeed in collapsing to the value of the debt; and not the exchange rate at the time the money was borrowed. With this major increase in the debt, Ghana’s debt to GDP ratio has increased from 32 percent in 2008, to 72 percent at the end of 2015,” Dr Bawumia explained.