The Leadership Of Education Labour Unions Must Be Congratulated For Resisting Kissi Agyebeng’s Abuse Of Power In The Name Of Fighting Corruption

Feature Article The Leadership Of Education Labour Unions Must Be Congratulated For Resisting Kissi Agyebengs Abuse Of Power In The Name Of Fighting Corruption
FEB 19, 2024 LISTEN

I agree entirely with the ultimatum given by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), and Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) to the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) on Wednesday 14 February 2024 to release promptly the salaries of all the remaining teachers in the Northern Region that Kissi Agyebeng, the Special Prosecutor has unlawfully suspended in the name of alleged identification of infractions within the payroll system of teachers in the Northern Region.

First and foremost, Kissi Agyebeng, the Special Prosecutor has no mandate under the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) to suspend the payment of salaries of teachers in any region of Ghana without those multitude of teachers not being under suspicion of a specified corruption or corruption-related offence falling under one of the offences defined under Section 79 of Act 959. Kissi Agyebeng has run amok with this lawlessness of using lawless officers of the OSP to intimidate ordinary working citizens struggling to earn a living to look after their hungry families and themselves within the current economic mess brought upon Ghanaians unwillingly by the mismanagement and corruption in the body politic.

Secondly, there is more than abundant evidence to demonstrate that the payroll system of the OSP suffers from identified criminal infractions than any other payroll of any public institution in Ghana due to the direct abuse of public office for private profit, and corruption by public officers in the OSP. Consequently, Kissi Agyebeng who is overseeing the loot of the public purse in the OSP through the OSP's payroll system and other public resources has no legal or moral right to suspend the salaries of already suffering teachers or any category of Ghanaian workers without any authority from a court of law. I will be demonstrating with just a few examples how Kissi Agyebeng has since his appointment as the Special Prosecutor impoverished the public purse through the OSP's suspected offences of causing financial loss to the state, corruption by public officers, and abuse of public office for profit.

Before then, let me say with all my heart and with all my soul that I am in total agreement with the views expressed at a press conference on 14 February 2024 by the leadership of education labour unions consisting of GNAT, NAGRAT and the CCT at which they described the conduct of the OSP as lawless and gave the OSP 72 hours to release the rest of the salaries to the remaining workers or face industrial action the following week. The President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu was absolutely within the law and the 1992 Constitution when he questioned the authority of the OSP to block those salaries and stated that: “The misbehavior of the OSP may have to stop now, the principal (sic) of workman compensation should never be violated. If the OSP wants to deal with ghost names, he must refer the matter to the Ghana education service (sic).” The President of the CCT, King Ali Awudu was also right to have expressed surprise about the auditing procedure of the OSP and to conclude that: “For unions, we can do a lot of stuff, we are asking that the over 400 teachers should have their monies released to them. Mind you, Controller has paid the money, the money has hit the account. It is the OSP who has blocked their salaries.”

The Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, has engaged in similar lawless and unconstitutional conduct in the Labianca case, without courageous and patriotic citizens like the leadership of the education labour unions to challenge his criminal abuse of power, the 1992 Constitution,

and the wanton rape of the very Act 959 under which he owes his appointment as the Special Prosecutor. In all these cases Kissi Agyebeng has been unable to point to a specified corruption or corruption-related offence defined under section 79 of Act 959 pursuant to which he was allegedly exercising his mandate as the Special Prosecutor.

None of the 1,310 teachers from the Northern Region whose salaries the OSP blocked from payment has ever been informed of being suspected of a specified corruption or corruption- related offence for which reason the auditing of the payroll system was being conducted for purposes of preventing the commission of a corruption offence under Regulation 31 of L.I 2374 which I introduced into the draft legislative instrument. The original draft legislative instrument submitted to me by the Attorney-General's Department in April 2018 did not contain a corruption prevention provision and I introduced those provisions merging legislation from the United States of America and OECD which had assisted emerging Eastern European countries in their fight against corruption. Regulation 31 comes into play when there is reasonable suspicion of the possible future commission of a specified corruption offence under Section 79 of Act 959 pursuant to which L. I. 2374 was made. The prevention of corruption falls under the Investigations Division in Section 19 of Act 959.

I just made a return trip from the 18 Harmattan School of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies of the University for Development Studies where I gave a keynote address touching on citizens' actions in enforcing the 1992 Constitution and the laws of Ghana, particularly the provisions governing the electoral process for the 2024 elections. I am, therefore, elated that the leadership of education labour unions are manifesting the viability of citizens' actions to stop the OSP which is itself a massive corruption and procurement malpractices crime scene from hiding its own crimes behind the appearance of the sainthood of investigating teachers who have never been told of being suspected of any corruption offence. Identification of infractions in payroll system is not a corruption offence under Section 79 of Act 959. In any case the salaries suspended could at any time after investigations that establish any offence be ordered repaid by the Ghana Education Service or a court of law rendering it pernicious to suspend those salaries without any concluded investigations.

I congratulate the leadership of the education unions for their bold and courageous citizens' action to stop the Special Prosecutor who is presiding over payroll abuses, procurement malpractices and suspected abuses of public office for private profit at the OSP from presenting a holier than thou attitude to the Ghanaian public contrary to the labour laws and procedures of this country. I offer my free services as a citizen vigilante to the leadership of education labour unions and any other labour unions who will seek them to ensure that the OSP which is deeply suspected of committing more serious criminal offences is exposed and stopped from intimidating innocent public sector workers who are just plying their trade for a decent living under the current harsh economic conditions every Ghanaian finds himself.

I have stated and offered to demonstrate with just a few examples how Kissi Agyebeng is overseeing the loot of the public purse in the OSP through the OSP's payroll system and other public resources to have any legal or moral right to suspend the salaries of already suffering teachers or any category of Ghanaian worker without any authority from a court of law: I now proceed to do so.

Kissi Ayebeng was appointed by the President as the Special Prosecutor on 5 August 2021 and he assumed office on 9 August 2021 by visiting the office of the OSP at Yantrabi Road, Labone, Accra with a cortege and convoy of accompanying assorted security personnel. He moved from there in less than an hour to inspect the 10 story office accommodation I had secured for the OSP at 6 Haile Selassie Ave., South Ridge, Accra. He disappeared for almost three months working probably from a hide out. When Kissi Agyebeng emerged from his hide out with a mentor who acted as his Chief of Staff and Director of Operations, whose mansion is at Roman Ridge, he ordered the entire staff to evacuate from the offices at Yantrabi Street, Labone to its present location at 6 Haile Selassie Ave, South Ridge with further orders to leave all furniture and equipment at the Yantrabi Office untouched. Nobody knows what happened to those furniture and equipment subsequently.

Kissi Agyebeng without the involvement of any procurement entity committee proceeded to procure without any application to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) furniture and equipment from an amount of about Sixty-One Million Ghana Cedis (GHS61, 000, 000.00) the Ministry of Finance had ordered to be paid into the OSP operational account at the Bank of Ghana for purposes of obtaining PPA approval for the conversion of the empty 10 story building at 6 Haile Selassie Ave, South Ridge into occupiable office accommodation. This was a special and concessionary arrangement I had secured from Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta for purposes of sole sourcing Consar Limited, the original contractors who had the drawings of the building to convert the empty floors into habitable office accommodation. I could not expend the money on any other purpose and I did not do so because I had been advised by the then Auditor-General, Mr. Daniel Domelovo, that even if I bought stationery with the funds without a storekeeper to take delivery and issue them when required his auditors will charge me for audit infractions. I invite Mr. Daniel Domelovo to contradict me if I am misrepresenting him on the results of my consultation with him when he was the Auditor- General and I was the Special Prosecutor.

Kissi Agyebeng assumed office without a governing board until Tuesday, 21 June 2022 when the board was sworn into office and met for its first meeting on Thursday, 30 June 2022 to elect a chairperson and go into recess until its first formal meeting in December 2022 at which no major decisions were taken. The procurement of furniture and equipment without a formally established and working procurement entity committee and a governing board breached the Public Procurement Act as no application could have been made and was made to the PPA for approval. Kissi Agyebeng also imported over 50 assorted vehicles and took delivery of them from the Tema Harbour and hid them in the basement of the OSP at 6 Haile Selassie Ave, South Ridge, without any procurement entity committee, governing board or PPA approval. These included the bullet proof and fancy cars he ordered which Mr. Paul Adom Otchere has amply exposed on his Metro TV programme, Good Evening Ghana. Two of the pickup vehicles got involved in accidents when driven from the Tema Port to the hideout at 6 Haile Selassie Ave and one was a complete write off.

Act 959 empowers the OSP to investigate and prosecute procurement offences as a species of corruption and corruption-related offences, yet the Special Prosecutor himself breached those laws with wanton abandon and still claims a legal and moral right to investigate teachers who have not been informed that they are under suspicion for the commission of any specified corruption offence and to block the payment of their salaries.

When Kissi Agyebeng was appointed the Special Prosecutor, one of his first unlawful acts was to invite his former client and friend, Superintendent Emmanuel Amadu Basintale (Basintale) to head the investigations division at the OSP while still serving the Ghana Police Service in the Western Region, as the Legal Officer/Jupol since January 2020, without the knowledge and consent of the Ghana Police Service. Kissi Agyebeng had no legal authority to employ the services of a serving police officer to perform the duties of an authorized officer of the OSP without the approval of the Police Administration. Kissi Agyebeng and Basintale knew that they were committing the crime of wilful oppression by public officer by unlawfully using Basintale as an authorized officer of the OSP to abuse their authority as public officers and intentionally causing injury to innocent persons and member of the public.

Basintale also knew that he was in breach of the Police Service Regulations, C.I. 76 in leaving his station to perform investigation duties at the OSP without authorization from the Police Administration.

Kissi Agyebeng and Basintale, the two bedfellows in the suspected crime of wiful oppression by public officers invited and interrogated Mr. Joseph Adu-Kyei, the Deputy Commissioner of Customs of the GRA on 10 January 2022, the proprietress of Labianca Limited Ms. Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh on 19 January 2022, and Col Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd.) the then Customs Commissioner at the GRA on 16 February 2022, to produce the unconstitutional and unlawful Labianca Report dated 3 August 2022. The High Court in Ex Parte Damoah quashed the findings contained in that unlawful report on 27 November 2023 in Suit No. GJ/1232/2022.

Kissi Agyebeng then encouraged Basintale to put in a voluntary retirement from the Ghana Police Service as a Superintendent of Police on the understanding that Kissi Agyebeng will appoint him formally to the OSP and promote him to the rank of the Director of Investigations Division of the OSP, the equivalent of a Commissioner of Police overnight. By the cumulative criminal conduct of Kissi Agyebeng and Basintale, Superintendent Basintale put in his letter of voluntary retirement effective 8 March 2022 with the deceptive reason that he intended to go into full time practice as a lawyer. The Police Administration had no option than to approve the request on 2 May 2022. Basintale assumed duty at the OSP the same day, 2 May 2022 as its Director of Investigation. Basintale knew that deceit of a public officer, in this case the Inspector-General of Police, is a criminal offence under Act 29.

In the interim, Kissi Agyebeng had already offered Basintale appointment into the OSP with the rank of Director of Investigations with the equivalent rank of a Commissioner of Police in the Ghana Police Service with all the conditions of service and retirement benefits of a Commissioner of Police including retirement awards while Basintale was still a police

officer. The OSP did not have a governing board at the time for even the President to make such appointments under Article 195 and Section 21 of Act 959. After voluntarily retiring from the Ghana Police Service, Basintale collected a juicy lump sum gratuity from the Controller and Accountant-General's Department in December 2022 and is waiting to collect his monthly police pension under Cap 30 from the public purse upon the attainment of the age, 60.

Superintendent Basintale was not a Chief Superintendent of Police and had to become one before becoming an Assistant Commissioner of Police, then a Deputy Commissioner of Police, before becoming a Commissioner of Police. Kissi Agyebeng and Basintale acting in concert, violated the procedures of the Public Service which governs recruitments, transfers, and promotions and caused financial loss to the public purse by their criminal conduct.

The context of the friendship and relationship between Kissi Agyebeng and Basintale helps to demonstrate the create, loot, and share compact between the Special Prosecutor and his

Director of the Investigation Division of the OSP and how that relationship is exploited to unlawfully make decisions adversely affecting the rights of citizens appearing before the OSP for investigation or anti-corruption risk assessment.

By a Ghana Web report of 14 June 2017 captioned: “Ghc1.3m gold Scam: Police Officers Involved to Sue Police Service” Ghana Web carried a statement issued and signed by Kissi

Agyebeng, Managing Partner, Cromwell Gray LLP dated 14 June 2017 in which he deplored:

“….a rather rueful negative media campaign a couple of months ago against our clients, DSP Emmanuel A. Basintale, RSM John Sovor, No. 41306 G/CPL. Baleto Boafour, No. 39891 G/L/CPL. Ignatus Asamoah Mensah, and N0. 44o65 D/L/CPL. Cyrus Egbert Conduah of the East Legon Police command in respect of the arrest of some persons and retrieval of some substances purported to be gold.”

Kissi Agyebeng denied the allegations against his clients stating that: “Our clients would be heading to court to clear their names and reputations and for reinstatement…” Kissi

Agyebeng stated the technical legal ground for heading to the court as follows:

“10. By signal dated 17 February 2017 and referenced as PO.2811/21, our clients were interdicted without any stated reasons whatsoever. 11 Reg. 105(12) of the Police Service Regulations, 2012 (C.I 76) states that '{I}f after three months of interdiction, disciplinary proceedings are not instituted against the officer, the Inspector-General shall revoke the interdiction and the officer shall resume duty.'”

Kissi Agyebeng secured a court order enforcing Regulation 105(12) of C.I. 76 and the Police Administration was compelled to reinstate the interdicted officers, including DSP Basintale based on the technical legal issue raised by Kissi Agyebeng. After a few years, DSP Basintale was transferred by the Police Administration to the then Western Region in January 2020 where he was still stationed when Kissi Agyebeng was appointed the Special Prosecutor and the conspiracy to abuse the payroll system at both the Ghana Police Service and the OSP begun, hatched, and executed as narrated hereinbefore.

The same criminal scenario repeated itself with Kissi Agyebeng's recruitment of Albert Akurugu who was just a Principal Revenue Officer at the GRA whom Kissi Agyebeng had requested the then Commissioner of Customs at the GRA to second him to the OSP. When the Commissioner for Customs of the GRA refused, Kissi Agyebeng caused Albert Akurugu to resign from the GRA. Kissi Agyebeng immediately offered Albert Akurugu an appointment as Director of the Asset Recovery and Management Division of the OSP with the equivalent rank of a Commissioner of Police with all the conditions and retirement benefits attached thereto. Albert Akurugu was offered the appointment while he was still a staff of the GRA and assumed duties on 2 May 2022 when the OSP had no Board to recruit staff pursuant to Article 195 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 21 of Act 959. Mr. Albert Akurugu still had a long way to go to become a Chief Revenue Officer, a management position, before becoming an Assistant Commission, then a Deputy commissioner, before becoming a Commissioner at the GRA. The looting of the public purse involved is too obvious to need repetition again.

Worst of all, Col. Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd.) has narrated how his pernicious investigation and unlawful findings in the Labianca Report was a retribution for refusing to second Albert Akurugu to the OSP upon the request of Kissi Agyebeng. The same retribution for the interdiction of Basintale and his cohort of police officers in the Green Global Resources Company Limited 13 gold bars “Ghc1.3m gold Scam” case in which Kissi Agyebeng was the defence lawyer, is suspiciously evident in the alleged on-going investigation into admission of serving non-commissioned police officers into the Police College to train for commissioning by the Police Administration.

As a result of the relationship between Kissi Agyebeng and Basintale the OSP caused the voluntary retirement of some of the police officers who were on interdiction with Basinatale in the Green Global Resources Company Limited 13 gold bars “Ghc1.3m gold Scam” case. Kissi Agyebeng then appointed these former clients and friends to exceptionally higher ranks in the OSP at the expense of the public purse and with equivalent exceptional higher ranks in the Ghana Police Service together with the accompanying retirement benefits. Each of these officers is in the meantime entitled to a gratuity and a pension from the police service on attainment of the age of sixty years, in addition to the retirement benefits from the OSP. Kissi Agyebeng has with the machinations of Basintale also recruited Basintale's late sister's daughter into the OSP without any prior advertisement for recruitments. I have documentary evidence of the abuses of the recruitment process at the OSP where without any public advertisement, relatives, friends, and cronies of a number of Board members have been recruited with higher ranks at the expense of the public purse which compromises the efficiency of the Board in the discharge of its functions under Act 959.

The foregoing which is only the tip of the iceberg narration of the rape of the national purse taking place against the payroll system and other resources allocated to the OSP by the poor taxpayer to provide facts to support the position taken by the leadership of the education labour unions against the unlawful suspension or blockage of the salaries of hard working teachers. These teachers are men and women toiling day and night to teach and train the youth of Ghana to take their proper place in our society while Kissi Agyebeng covertly recruits and promotes his friends, family, cronies, and associates in a manner causing massive financial loss to the state and bleeding the public purse. What the leadership of the education labour unions have done is to ensure that like Caesar's wife the OSP and its Special Prosecutor live above suspicion and they have my wholehearted support as they defend the 1992 Constititon against abuse of power. The 1992 Constitution mandates patriotic citizens to defend it against all inveterately corrupt and crime committing public institutions parading as law enforcement agencies such as Kissi Agyebeng's OSP.

Martin A. B. K. Amidu 18 February 2024