THE NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) is at its wits end again with comments from two leading members of the party that the erstwhile NDC Administration never paid any of its appointees in United States dollars.
Mr Ato Ahwoi, head of the Ahwoi empire, and former PNDC Secretary for Energy, and Dr. Joe Tony Aidoo, former deputy Minister of Defence, last week, on various radio stations, declared that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration, has introduced a novelty to the administration of the state with the payment, in dollars, of a number of its appointees.
However, documents available to Daily Guide indicate that the culture of paying appointees in dollars has been a practice since the administration of NDC, with a number of the NDC appointees going home with heavy wads of monthly dollar bills, thus disproving the claims by Tony Aidoo and Ato Ahwoi.
According to the documents, Ministry of Finance alone, under the NDC regime, had about 11 appointees, styled as special assistants, who were all paid in hard-crisp US dollars.
The appointees included Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, who was engaged as a consultant to the Government of Ghana, on the Gateway Project, on a salary of $6,500 a month, while still holding a position at the Ministry of Finance, as Director of Legal Services and Financial Institutions.
In a consultancy agreement, signed between the consultant (Yankey) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, represented by Mr Dan Abodakpi, then a deputy minister, Dr Yankey is recorded as receiving $157,440 as payments for a two-year consultancy service rendered to the Gateway Project.
“The (GOG) shall pay the consultant for services rendered at the rate(s) of 160 hours per month at $41 per hour, equal to $6,500 per man/month spent (or per day spent or per hour spent, subject to a maximum of eight hours per day) in accordance with the rates agreed and specified in Annex C.”
Additionally, Dr. Yankey enjoyed other benefits including first-class travels, free telephone and accommodation, among others, as well as re-imbursement for other expenses incurred on outside trips.
Payment Conditions Payment shall be made in United States Dollars not later than 15 days following submission of invoices in duplicate to the Co-ordinator designated.
Another special assistant who benefited from dollar payments was Emmanuel Martey, who received a salary of $60,000 per annum as special Adviser to the Minister of Finance, during Mr. Kwame Peprah's tenure as the Finance Minister.
Mr. Martey's agreement with GOG took effect from July 1997 to June 2000, and earned $180,000 for the three-year service, with payment coming from the proceeds of the divestiture of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, special assistant, Office of the Vice President, also struck a deal with the Ministry of Education, where he received $1,300 as monthly salary, after securing a consultancy agreement with the ministry on the implementation of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme.
Rojo got the consultancy contract when he was a special assistant to the Minister of Education, Harry Sawyerr, in 1996.
He had earlier been the National Co-ordinator of the Non-Formal Education division (NFED) of the Ministry of Education, on a monthly salary of $1,000, between September 1987 and 1993.
Early last week, Kwasi Pratt's Insight made a fetish out of the payment of $4000 monthly salary to Mr. Annan Arkyin Cato, Secretary to the Cabinet, under a World Bank Project.
However, contrary to the impression created that Mr. Cato may disclose Cabinet minutes to the World Bank, since the bank was financing the deal, the cabinet secretary was responsible to no other persons than the President of Ghana.
In the contract document, published by the Insight newspaper, which had flown the kite of subservience to the World Bank, the contract reference stated, emphatically, that the “consultant shall be accountable to H.E. The President of the Republic of Ghana, and shall prepare such reports, as the President shall desire.”
Messrs Tony Aidoo and Mr. Ato Ahwoi have been vocal in their claims that President Kufuor has an over-sized government, and that, apart from that, the NPP Administration is paying huge sums of money to special advisers and assistants, in dollars.
On an “Alhaji and Alhaji” programme on Radio Gold, two Saturdays ago, Dr. Tony Aidoo offered a tall list of persons working at the Castle, seat of government, whose monthly salaries, he claimed, were denominated in dollars.
He mentioned such persons as Mr. Annan Cato, D.K. Osei and several others, whom he alleged, as consultants working for the National Institutional Renewal Programme (NIRP), were drawing salaries in dollars.
Dr Aidoo stated this to buttress his point that the size of the Kufuor Administration was big, and that apart from the 88 ministers and deputies, there were many others who worked as special advisers and special assistants, being paid huge sums of money in dollars.
The former deputy minister added that the Kufuor appointees were also enjoying such benefits as free accommodation, cars and free fuel, whilst Ghanaians were being asked to tighten their belts.