11.02.2004 Feature Article

Something is rotten in the camp of NPP MPs

By Palaver
Something is rotten in the camp of NPP MPs
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Corruption Scent no-o-o-o-o-o?Agye Babiaa-a-a-a-a-a NPP MP for Wenchi East in forged Government Guarantees NPP MP for Akim Swedru given 'Ghana House' to manage NPP MP for Lower West Akim in Multiple Austrian Visa Fraud NPP MP for Assin North bails Visa Contractor Father who absconds NPP MP for Odotobri in Fraudulent Vehicle Insurance Claim NPP MP for Effiduase-Asokore wanted in USA Extradition Proceedings In William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet, Prince of Denmark', Act 1 Scene IV, Marcellus, a Danish officer on the watch in the night, tells Horatio, friend to Hamlet on the watch with him when the ghost of Hamlet's father, traitorously murdered by his own brother Claudius and who then marries his dead brother's wife, appears to them on their watch that "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark". Horatio answers, "Heaven will direct it". Such is the state of decay and putrefaction (scent no-o-o-o-o-o) in Ghana's ruling Party in Parliament that one can aptly say that "something is rotten in the camp of the NPP MPs" and that unless something is done about it, or unless God himself directs it, they risk bringing down the entire Parliament of Ghana into disrepute and with it, the country's fragile democratic edifice. (1) NPP MP for Wenchi East and a Company called "Emirates" Honourable Musa Moctar Bamba is the NPP MP for Wenchi East in the Wenchi district of the Brong Ahafo Region. Until last Saturday, he was also the Deputy Minister for nobody knows what Ministry, his previous portfolio of Presidential Affairs having been abolished with the exit of Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey from the Castle.

As far back as July 2002, under the caption "Who are Behind Emirate Investments Limited", Ghana Palaver published that within the NPP, a new Company had been formed called "Emirates Investments Limited", the baby of Hon. Alhaji Musa M. Bamba, Deputy Minister (of Presidential Affairs?) in the Office of the President and MP for Wenchi East.

We published that "what Alhaji Bamba does with the company is to use letterheads of the Office of the President to lure and entice prospective foreign investors, particularly from the Middle East, to come to Ghana to invest.

After creating the impression that the invitation is an official state invitation from the President of Ghana, Hon. Bamba then meets the investors on arrival in Ghana and insists on Emirates Investments taking shares in whatever investments the visitors propose".

Nobody minded us, probably because it was the Palaver, and the NPP Government's adversity and hatred and their policy of benign neglect of whatever the Palaver writes is very well known.

One and a half years after this initial "red alert", the 'Chronicle' has now effectively blown the lid off the cover of the "Emirates" Company and the Honourable NPP MP for Wenchi East stands stripped more naked than Kweku Baako Jnr could ever strip former President Rawlings as he is forever threatening.

In a five-series expose, Raymond Archer of the Chronicle has revealed the following and in the process forced the Deputy Minister without portfolio to resign:

(i) Hon. Bamba has used the Company to dupe unsuspecting prospective investors;

(ii) Hon. Bamba has used letterheads of the Office of the President to issue fraudulent Government Guarantees to foreign and local businessmen;

(iii) Hon. Bamba has forged the signature of a colleague Minister of State;

(iv) Hon. Bamba has abetted the failed NPP MP for Upper West Akim, Raymond Kwame Akuffo, to impersonate the sitting MP for the constituency;

(v) Hon. Bamba has, contrary to the Constitution, taken up directorships of a private limited liability company without the permission of the Speaker of Parliament;

(vi) Hon. Bamba has conspired with Raymond Kwame Akuffo to defraud various Banks in Ghana;

(vii) Hon. Bamba has on several occasions abused and misused the Office of the President to fraudulently acquire visas for NPP activists;

(viii) Hon. Bamba attempted to bribe Raymond Archer of the Chronicle with money and a gift of a car when the latter threatened to expose his criminal activities. (2) NPP MP for Akim Swedru and the Management of 'Ghana House' Hon. Felix Owusu-Agyepong is the NPP MP for Akim Swedru in the Birim South district of the Eastern Region. He is also the NPP Majority Leader in Parliament and the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs

Without tender or any other competitive processes, his management consultancy firm was 'given' the former Head Office of the erstwhile GNTC at Accra's popular Post Office Square known as 'Ghana House', arguably one of the most prime and most expensive pieces of property in Ghana, to manage. 'Ghana House' had at the time been renovated at a cost running into tens of billions of cedis out of the 'GNTC Winding Up Account' by the then outgoing NDC Government.

The terms and conditions of the management consultancy contract are not known; neither are the consultancy fees that the Minister is being paid also known. When contacted by Ghana Palaver, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, NPP MP for Offinso North and Minister of Trade and Industry under whose auspices 'Ghana House' was 'given away', stated as follows:

"I want you to talk to Mr. Osei-Adjei [NPP MP for Ejisu-Juaben and then Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, now Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs], because as far as I am concerned, he advertised, he went through a selection process and selected.

In fact when he selected Mr. Felix Owusu-Agyepong, because he happened to be a member of our government, I wrote and you can check for the memo, that they should make sure that the appointment is going through the procedure.

They took it to the Attorney General's Office to verify if there will be any conflict of interest.

The Attorney General's Office prepared the contract and gave it to the Deputy Minister Osei-Adjei who signed it.

I, Dr. Apraku, had nothing to do with it". (3) NPP MP for Lower West Akim and the Fraudulent Austrian Visas Hon. Peter Kwaku Amoabeng is the NPP MP for Lower West Akim constituency in the West Akim district of the Eastern Region. He got two unrelated adults to pose as his parents and swear an affidavit falsely attesting to his having been customarily married to one Jane Amoabeng in 1979 with whom he has two children, all three of whom were traveling with him on holiday to Austria.

He further got authenticating letters from Parliament House, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ghana Embassy in Abidjan, armed with which he attempted to obtain Austrian visas for them at the Austrian Embassy in Abidjan.

There, it was detected that he had previously obtained an Austrian visa for another "wife" with the same name and the same personal particulars who had traveled to Austria and failed to return to Ghana.

According to the Chronicle, which published the story, this time round, however, the second "wife's" picture and passport number, which were different, gave him up. The Honourable MP was refused the visas. (4) NPP MP for Assin North and his Absconding 'Visa Contractor' Father Hon. Kennedy Agyepong is the NPP MP for Assin North constituency in the Assin district of the Central Region. His father, Mr. Thomas Agyepong, is an alleged visa fraudster who has been collecting monies in US dollars from the youth in the Assin district under the pretext of securing US visas for them under the USA visa lottery system.

When the father's fraud was exposed, he was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport en route to the USA and detained at the Nima Police Station. The Hon. MP stood surety for his father and he was released on bail. When it was time for the father to be produced, Hon. Agyepong could not do so. His father, Mr. Thomas Agyepong, had absconded.

According to the 'Heritage' newspaper that published the story, when contacted, Hon. Kennedy Agyepong said, "It is a matter between my father and the police. Leave me out of it". (5) NPP MP for Odotobri and the Fraudulent Insurance Claim Hon. S. Nkrumah-Gyimah is the NPP MP for the Odotobri constituency in the Amansie East district of the Ashanti Region.

He increased the insurance premium on his brand new Vento saloon car from ¢30 million to ¢120 million' bought a similar Vento saloon car which had been involved in an accident, and fraudulently presented the accident car to his insurers, Provident Insurance Company Limited as his brand new saloon car which had been involved in an accident, and fraudulently sought to claim the higher insurance value for his 'safe and sound' car.

His fraudulent conduct was brought to the attention of the NPP MP for Sunyani West and Senior Minister, Hon. J. H. Mensah and the NPP MP for Sekondi and Attorney General, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, who did everything possible to 'hush-hush' the affair and kill the story. 6. NPP MP for Effiduase-Asokore and the US Extradition Request Hon. Mrs. Grace Coleman is the NPP P for Effiduase-Asokore and the former Deputy Minister of Finance. Contrary to US Immigration and other laws, she sponsored her relative to go and live with her (Mrs. Coleman's) daughter in the USA and take care of the daughter's newborn baby.

Arising out of the arrangements and subsequent events in the USA, her daughter and her husband were convicted and sentenced to five years and six months (suspended) imprisonment respectively. Mrs. Coleman herself is wanted in the USA to face criminal charges relating to breaches of US immigration, slavery and human rights violation laws. A request for her extradition to face criminal prosecution in the USA has been filed on the Government of Ghana by the US authorities. Scent no-o-o-o-o-o "Agye Babia-a-a-a-a??" These are only six of corrupt, illegal and disgraceful activities involving NPP MPs that are threatening the dignity of Ghana's Honourable Parliament. It also seems to be part of the routine smell of corruptive putrefaction and odiousness, which is fast engulfing the entire NPP Government.

Against this background, one begins to understand why President Kufuor has refused to act on newspaper allegations of corruption, and his statement at the Cape Coast NPP Conference that his Government only calls its officials alleged to be corrupt and advises them, since to do otherwise would cause a loss of confidence in "the Government that Ghanaians have put in place", to quote the President's own words. Visa Racket Rumours of criminal visa racket operating within NPP Government circles have been around for a very long time.

It is even rumoured that the whole "visa connection" ring is officially sanctioned by the NPP, out of which contributions of US$1,000 per successful applicant are made to the Party.

In a reaction to the issue of visa racketeering involving NPP MPs at his Press Conference of November 27, 2003, Information Minister Nana Akomeah stated as follows:

"The NPP Party has officially written to the Leader of Parliament for investigation into the issue. Just this week there is even another report of an MP of the NDSC (sic.) also in some visa fraud. I am confident that Parliament would take appropriate action on the matter after due investigation and I hope the press takes keen interest in resolving these matters".

It is over two months since Nana Akomeah spoke these words, and nothing has been heard of the matter so far. As to how the press was supposed to "take keen interest in resolving these matters", the Information Minister did not say.

Visa racketeering has also been mentioned in connection with the overseas travel delegations of both President Kufuor and Vice President Aliu Mahama, and there is talk of a certain office on the Ring Road where the whole NPP visa racket is coordinated. Abuse of Office of the President According to the Chronicle's Raymond Archer, when he interviewed Hon. Alhaji Musa Moctar Bamba on his responsibilities at the Office of the President, he replied that he was there to help NPP activists obtain visas to travel abroad, go on hadj, obtain admission to Universities, purchase vehicles confiscated by the CEPS, and provide other such miscellaneous unorthodox and improper assistance requested of the President.

Given that Hon. Alhaji Musa Bamba was a Deputy Minister to nobody and had no portfolio, it is difficult to deny that such indeed was his charge at the Presidency, and that far from a commitment to 'zero tolerance for corruption'; corruption had indeed been institutionalized at the Kufuor Presidency.

It would appear that only a full-fledged Commission of Enquiry would be able to unveil the depth of corruption that was supervised by Alhaji Musa Bamba during the period that he operated his amorphous Deputy Ministry at the Office of President Kufuor.

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