Ghana’s Parliament, Onaapo!
Last week I got upset for nothing. The Senior Staff Association (SSA) of Korle Bu is asking for the CEO to be interdicted. This is due to some GHC500,000 the CEO is alleged to have wrongly appropriated.
This is similar to the end-of-year gold gift the Bank of Ghana gave to itself. It will be recalled that, without any provocation, the Bank of Ghana, in a show of catastrophic opulence, bought gold watches worth over $500,000 for its exiting staff, and since most staff of Korle Bu may never benefit from such unbridled largess, they create their own means of self rewards.
A few years ago I was referred to Korle Bu on suspicion of Appendicitis. The Doctor told me I had to come back in two weeks for the surgery, because there was a long waiting queue of surgery appointments. Remember this particular condition is supposed to be an emergency. The Doctor told me all about the implications of not having the operation done by the next morning.
He gave me his card, and arranged for my surgery the next morning, in his private hospital instead, if I wanted a quick operation. His hospital would charge GHC2, 000.
This doctor did no test or scan or check to confirm or deny the referred situation. All he cared about was the money he was going to collect from me, and then he will rip me apart and remove whatever was left inside of me, appendicitis or otherwise, it did not matter.
Somehow I decided to seek a second opinion from a Doctor at Trauma Hospital in Winneba. He too, without any examination, he straight away wanted to arrange for a private surgery the following morning, and he was going to charge GHC1,500. When I asked if he was going to conduct his own independent assessment, he became angry and asked me to leave his office.
Meanwhile I did not feel the situation getting worst, so I took a dash to Mary Lucy Hospital at Awoshie, for a second opinion. It was then that Dr Davis told me that what I was experiencing could not have been Appendicitis. He did all manner of physical examinations, and took a number of scans, and he told me that I did not suffer from any Appendicitis.
So finally I walked away from the hospital feeling good, and it’s been four years without any Appendicitis surgery. So you see, if I had not taken responsibility for my own health, these doctors would have opened me up for nothing.
In the same year I was referred to the Urology department of Korle Bu; that one too turned out with nothing, I had no urine issue but I was wrongly referred anyway. To see the Urologist, I was given an appointment for seven weeks. However the nurse on duty told me that if I wanted to be seen quickly, then she could link me up with the doctor, the same doctor, but privately.
I agreed, and I saw the doctor the following day in his office, the same office in Korle Bu. I got all I needed, and I paid all I had to pay, including the GHC200 daily consultation fees, but the money went into the doctor’s private pocket. No receipt, nothing. I just paid money to a government doctor who kept the money privately but who was using government facility to treat me.
So while some of the Korle Bu CEOs are rewarding themselves with large sums of money, stealing money through dubious contracts, and giving themselves all the luxuries of life, their staff members are also finishing off from the bottom, giving patient private service for public treatment. The nurses and para-medical staff are looting the drug and ancillary stores, the cleaners are privately taking the detergents away, and the security men are taking their perks so they could allow the masons to tow the looted building materials away without problems.
In the end why should you a CEO try to sack me, a staff, for stealing, when you know that you are stealing more than me? Why should you a CEO take any decision that deprives me of informal benefits, when you are able to build a mansion out of one single contract you awarded dubiously? No one should sack anyone, if you sack me, I will make life difficult for you; that is why everyone is wrong, or everyone is right at Korle Bu.
Let us all stay. You are CEO, no one is competing with you, and no one is complaining about the amount of contracts you are awarding to yourself. But you too allow us to steal the drugs, allow us to operate our private clinics in the hospital, let us all pretend that we are looking after the patients, after all they will die one day, so let them die, so we can live.
We have long passed the days of “your reward is in heaven” parlance. We will all collect our rewards right here in Ghana. Otherwise why would our judges whom we held sacred, why would they have collected money, goats and dross? It was because they have long seen that heaven is too far, the earth is here with us, and we will all share our loots, right here on earth. If the ministers will not give us some of the stolen money, we will sell justice, and pretend all is well.
Of course pretence is the name of the new game. In 2013 the ex President, John Dramani Mahama increased his salary by 10%, and backdated it to 2009. Then in 2014 the ex president John Mahama reduced his salary by 10%. We all praised him for such sensitivity. By the time the president was leaving office, he had increased his own salary by 10%, taking retrospective effect from the year 2013. Do you get the drift? Do you remember Kweku Ananse and Ntikumah stories? We are sharing three mangoes; I am taking one, so that you also take one, so that I take one. Do you get it?
Corruption and greed is swallowing all of us. These days reading the Auditor General’s report feels as though one is enduring rape; it stinks, it’s evil, and yet the over $3billion stinky annual corrupt revelations in the Auditor General’s report is only a fraction of the sucking away of Ghana’s resources. Just think about the smelly Smartys deal when over half of the GHC3.6million contract sum awarded and paid was refunded to the state; no prosecution, nothing, and think about the dribbling spectacle the Woyome scandal turned out to be.
So why shouldn’t Korle Bu staff help themselves? If one MP will retire every four years, and take home GHC300,000, if one vetting beget GHC3,000 Ghana Cedis, why shouldn’t one judicial injustice begot one dross?
If an Assemblyman has to pay electorates for votes, then why should he not take money in order to approve a DCE or a Presiding Member? If a polling station executive pays before getting elected, then why should the MP not pay to get his vote? If an MP has to distribute trays, and kwankora for votes, then why should he not take GHC3,000 in order to approve a president’s nominee?
Why should an MP not take money before approving government bilateral agreements? Or you think the MPs are fools? You think they don’t know that before the loan agreement gets to the house for approval, you think they don’t know that the Speaker would have been sorted out, you think they don’t know that the President would have kick-backed by the time the contract is signed? You think they don’t know that for every one contract, there is a Ford Expedition?
Who told you that our MPs are in Parliament to make laws? If you care to know, our MPs are in Parliament to approve laws, not to make laws. They are in Parliament to balance their books. In fact they are in Parliament to take bribes, from the Speaker to everyone. My friend, get that into your head. Or if you doubt me, ask Algban Bagbin, ask P. C. Appiah Ofori, ask K. T. Hammond, ask them all, they will tell you what poverty of conscience has done to our sovereignty.
Who told you that Mahama Ayariga is accusing Muntaka for nothing? If indeed Agyarko tried to give money to Ayariga, it might have been because he knows the system, and he knows how it works. Otherwise how would any sane majority person attempt to bribe a minority MP in order to gain his ministerial approval, someone whose party is in power, and his party has majority in Parliament? How? Agyarko belongs to the NPP. The NPP has 168 MPs as against NDCs 105 MPs, but still decides to give each vetting member GHC3,000, aabaaaah, Ghana’s Parliament, Onaapo!
James Kofi Annan
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