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17.08.2004 General News

Kufuor got warning on Bamba in February 2003

By Palaver
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It has been revealed that as far back as 5th February 2003, the Ghana Auctioneers Association warned President John Agyekum Kufuor that Alhaji Musa Moctar Bamba, NPP MP for Wenchi East and disgraced former Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs who later became Deputy Minister to nobody when the Ministry of Presidential Affairs was abolished, was engaged in very corrupt and fraudulent deals in the area of the auctioning of Government vehicles, equipment and assets, but the President did nothing about it.

In a scathing and blisteringly devastating letter which with hindsight must have been clairvoyant dated 5th February 2003 and signed by the National Chairman, Mr. A. S. Williams, the Ghana Auctioneers Association complained that Government vehicles, equipment and assets earmarked for auction sales were being pegged at funny low prices by a valuer with doubtful credentials, qualification and competence at the command of Hon. Moctar Bamba.

The letter further alleged that Alhaji Bamba also appointed illegitimate and unqualified auctioneers to sell clandestinely to their favourite customers to their mutual benefits and to the detriment of the state.

Alhaji Moctar Bamba had earlier been appointed permanent Chairman of a 3-man ad hoc Auctions Committee by the then Minister for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff, Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, by a Memorandum dated August 24.

The duties of the ad hoc Auctions Committee were given as follows:

(a) Award the auction of Government vehicles and assets to an auctioneer who must be a paid up member of the Auctioneers Society;

(b) Monitor the conduct of the auction;

(c) Ensure that Government valuation officers always set a reserve price/correct valuation;

(d) Ensure that a proper report on the auction is prepared, verified and filed.

In their letter of complaint to the President, the Auctioneers Association charged that under Moctar Bamba's supervision, corrupt and illegitimate auctioneers were paying huge bribes to their collaborators in Government and in the Civil Service for undeserving allocation of jobs, with illegal expenses being recouped through fraudulent conduct of the auction sales.

The letter then proceeded to make the following specific charges of corruption and fraud against Alhaji Moctar Bamba:

(i) Moctar Bamba had disappointedly maintained the fraudulent and corrupt procedures apparently for his benefit as he continuously appointed illegitimate and unlicensed auctioneers;

(ii) Moctar Bamba favoured and encouraged the fraudulent activities in the auction sales for his apparent personal gains against the interest of the state;

(iii) The Chief of Staff engaged in the illegal, inequitable and unfair allocation of jobs to unlicensed and illegitimate auctioneers while the legitimate auctioneers were denied jobs;

(iv) To cover up his fraudulent activities and inequities, Moctar Bamba organised and incited the unlicensed and illegitimate auctioneers who benefited from his discrimination and nefarious conduct to infiltrate and fight the elected executives whose 4 years mandate had not expired;

(v) Moctar Bamba had explained his misconduct on the basis of the "exceptional assistance" he gave to President Kufuor in the 2000 elections;

(vi) The corruption and fraudulence in the auction sales had become worse under Moctar Bamba's administration than when the subject was being handled by the Ministry of Finance.

The Auctioneers Association also gave the President specific instances of the fraud and corruption perpetrated by Moctar Bamba that they were complaining about.

In one instance, he managed to use his influence to have discontinued Police investigation of one Mr. Doku of Premier Mart in connection with the disappearance of Police Nissan Patrol No. GP 188, which was assigned to him for auction sale.

In another instance, staff of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protested vehemently against the criminal conduct of an auctioneer who Moctar Bamba had appointed to conduct public auction sales of 5 vehicles belonging to the Agency. He auctioned only one of the vehicles and reserved the remaining 4 for clandestine sale to pre-arranged customers including a Minister of State by the command of Moctar Bamba.

According to the letter to the President, the Association finally sued Moctar Bamba in the High Court to stop him from further illegal and dishonest practices and succeeded in getting an interim injunction granted against him by the High Court presided over by Justice Asare-Korang.

Incidentally, the court action was commenced by Mr. Ray Kakraba-Quarshie, the Association's solicitor and a leading member of the NPP.

Upon the intervention of the new Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani, however, the action was withdrawn for settlement out of court. Once the Association agreed, nothing further was done and in its letter to the President, the Association expressed its woeful disappointment and peevishness "by the matter bordering on rule of law".

The Association referred to a situation under former President Rawlings who reacted to a mere copy of the Association's written complaint to the then Chief of Staff Nana Ato Dadzie about some top NDC executives looting some vehicles and equipment assembled at Yakwei near Konongo in the Ashanti Region for auction sale by ordering the immediate return of every item taken away, and wondered why the NPP Government could not react to similar complaints of fraud, corruption and dishonesty.

The Auctioneers Association was explicit in its letter to the President that "although our confidence in your person and governance is not ended by the incitements stated above, we will be doing you a great disservice if we do not call your attention to crucial matters of this kind for redress".

They advice that "experience has taught that hypocrites around Presidencies have taken undue advantages to commit criminal offences to embarrass Governments and Presidents. A scenario which we respectively advise you to be mindful of. We also advise you most humbly to be critical with your appointees and deal severely with those who would want to mar your integrity and credibility by their criminal conducts--".

For all these reasons, the Ghana Auctioneers Association recommended to President Kufuor to "possibly set up a commission of enquiry to go into this vital complaint with the view to establishing the facts for an appropriate deterrent action to curb the ever-mounting fraudulence in the auction sale. Misconduct which negate against transparency, probity, Accountability and "Zero Tolerance" concepts of government must be halted while the nation is rescued from her rape by looters, grabbers and wreckers".

As usual, President Kufuor did nothing and looked on while Hon. Moctar Bamba's fraudulent and corrupt practices extended to forgery, abetment of crime and visa fraud, finally landing in his resignation in disgrace.But such is the man who is still contesting in the NPP primaries for the Wenchi East constituency to be an NPP MP in the December elections.