16.03.2023 Politics

Akufo-Addo uses national awards to clear questionable ministers - Minority

By Naabenyin Joojo Amissah II Contributor
Akufo-Addo uses national awards to clear questionable ministers - Minority
16.03.2023 LISTEN

The Minority Caucus in Parliament have accused the Akufo-Addo government of lowering the standards of the National Awards Schemes instituted by Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1960.

According to the minority, the NPP has desecrated the once cherished National Awards and reduced it to a scheme to reward persons being investigated by a Parliamentary Committee of Enquiry.

This was contained in a statement issued by the NDC minority in reaction to the 2023 edition of the National Honours and Awards event held at the Accra International Conference Centre.

The occasion was used by the President to honour some illustrious Ghanaians who have excellently distinguished themselves in the fight against covid-19 pandemic.

However, the minority MPs took a swipe at the government and accused the President of using the national event to clear off some persons under investigations for one infraction or the other.

The Member of Parliament for Juaboso and Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Mr Kwabena Minta Akandoh alleged that the President has deliberately lowered the standard of the scheme.

He explained that if the event was meant to serve its rightful purpose, it would have recognised those who dedicatedly committed themselves to save lives at the expense of their lives during the outbreak of COVID-19.

According to him, about 6,543 frontline workers contracted COVID-19 while some of them died in line of duty in selfless attempts to save others from dying of the deadly virus.

“Their awards wait in perpetuity even as we hurriedly confer national awards on those whose actions are yet to be justified before a parliamentary committee of enquiry,” He said.

He mentioned that the frontline health workers who risked their lives to ensure that several others did not die, should have been awarded instead of a mere mention of their work.

He posited that the national event has suddenly “turned out to be a final attempt at clearing persons being investigated by a Parliamentary Committee of Enquiry on their stewardship in the management of covid-19 funds”.

He further alleged that the President desperately decorated such persons in an attempt to “finalize the corruption clearing process that he began during the message of the state of the nation address”.

The minority cited the health minister as one person who was recently investigated for the manner in which he allegedly flouted procurement laws to award an overpriced contract.

This, he said, happened during the procurement of Sputnik V vaccine which was meant to help combat the deadly Covid-19 virus by the Ministry of Health.

In Mr Akwandoh’s view, the whole procurement process “looked like an underhand dealing to defraud the state” but the minister in charge was given the high honour of the Order of the Volta.

Lamenting further, he also wondered why the Minister for Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah was also honoured by the President on the day.

He purported that Mr Oppong Nkrumah was recently cited by the Auditor General for having made unauthorized allowance payments to staff of his office during the pandemic.

The Information Minister, he wondered, was “publicly draped in the high honours of the Order of the Volta even before his conduct or misconduct is fully investigated”.

Venting his spleen on the government, he expressed his disappointment over the President’s decision to confer national honours on Frontiers Healthcare Service Limited.

In his views, everything about the company, particularly, its ownership has been shrouded in secrecy but was used to fleece Ghanaians of their mega resources during the pandemic.