A coalition report that accused government of abusing its incumbency, has been challenged by the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ellembelle Constituency, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, and the Ellembelle District Assembly, over its claims.
In a swift rebuttal to the report, which cited Mr. Buah, among other MPs as having hijacked Common Fund projects of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAS) as personal initiatives and for partisan gains, Mr. Buah accused the coalition, comprising Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) of using it to achieve pure partisan objectives.
The coalition accused some government officials in five regions as having abused their office by engaging in political activities on official state sponsored or stage organised programs.
Denying flatly the allegations in the report to The Business Analyst in a telephone interview, Mr. Buah, who is also the Deputy Minister for Energy (Petroleum) said the report was concocted and targeted at the National Democratic Congress (NDC), since it was the only incumbent party.
He expressed surprise that for a report that the group expected Ghanaians to take serious the group did not find it necessary to verify from the Ellembelle District Assembly, which it purports to have funded a market shed at Bomoakpole that he had funded with his share of the MPs common fund.
“In the first place, it was not a new shed built by the Assembly as the report claimed but was started by the community long ago and abandoned in the 1990s due to lack of funds,” Mr. Buah explained.
“I funded the rehabilitation of the market sheds from my own sources, without a penny from the District Assembly,” he emphasized, stressing, “They got the facts so wrong!”
According to him, the event to handover the project on itself was organized by the chief of Bomoakpole and his elders, sitting in state in full regalia, who had invited him to hand it over to them and thank him for that.
He said the people were excited because their request for the completion of the shed had been pending since 1994, when it was abandoned.
The GHC85, 000.00 project was handed over to the community in the last week of May this year, at a ceremony, where both the Chief of Bomoakpole, Nana Minla Kpanyinli III and the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ellembelle, Mr. Daniel K. Eshun had thanked Mr. Buah for the project.
Meanwhile, the Ghana News Agency (GNA) reports that the Ellembelle District Assembly, has also refuted the report by the governance institutions that the Bomoakpole market shed project was built with funds from the District Assembly's Common Fund.
According to the GNA report filed from Nkroful on Monday, Mr. Eshun said the MP for the area, Buah used his lobbying powers to solicit for funds to undertake the project at Bomoakpole.
'Mr. Eshun advised the organisations to do their home work well and correct the wrong perception created out there to deceive the public,' the report continued, adding that 'an MP, who had the development of the people at heart, could move all out, using his influence to present proposals and solicited for funds to initiate projects to improve the living standard of his people.'
The report, under the theme: “monitoring the abuse of incumbency in the 2012 elections,” covering the period between May and June 2012, cited also Information Minister Fritz Baffour, Brong Ahafo regional Minister, Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, and the Eastern Regional Minister, Ambassador Victor Smith of using their office to campaign.
The report cited also, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for the Abuakwa North Constituency in the Eastern region, J.B Danquah as acting in a potentially corrupting manner by renovating the Old Tafo Presbyterian Church and distributing unregistered motorbikes to some constituents.
The coalition also accused the state-owned media, specifically the print media of giving a higher percentage of coverage to the ruling government as compared to the other political parties.
The project areas were the Sunyani West Constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region, the Avenor-Ave Constituency in the Volta Region, the Ellembelle Constituency in the Western Region, the Cape Coast Constituency in the Central Region and the Abuakwa North Constituency in the Eastern Region.
The report, which was read by the Executive Director of GII, Mr. Vitus Azeem, was based on
research conducted in one constituency each in five regions, namely: Sunyani West Constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region, the Avenor-Ave Constituency in the Volta Region, the Ellembelle Constituency in the Western Region, the Cape Coast Constituency in the Central Region and the Abuakwa North Constituency in the Eastern Region.
The project was supported by Star-Ghana, funded by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DfID), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), European Union (EU) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and spans February 2012 to January 2013.
The report cited the practice of providing high value gifts to people, including religious and traditional leaders as well as some youth groups, which could amount to 'vote buying'.
The print version of this article was first published in The Business Analyst of Wednesday, 15th August – Tuesday, 21st August, 2012. E-Mail: [email protected]