THE 100 SCANDALS OF JOHN AGYEKUM KUFUOR (PART 1)
—In this issue, the first 23 scandals!
Palaver -- Never in the history of Ghana has a Head of State been rocked by so many scandals as John Agyekum Kufuor. No, not even J. A. Ankrah with his Nzeribe Bribery Scandal; not A. A. Afrifah with his Krobo Model Village Scandal; not K. A. Busia with his Foreign Exchange in portmanteau scandal; not Kutu Acheampong with his missing shipload of Cocoa Scandal No, not one of them. With President Kufuor, it looks as if he is cursed. Indeed it is as if “he stands accursed”
Right from the da! y he was inaugurated into office from when he dipped his hands into the nation's offers to renovate his private residence and had to be bailed out by the almighty Farmer Marfo, now a servant in his house, to today, as we write, when his own Party Chairman is accusing him of not “transparently” disbursing bribes that he has collected from contractors meant for the NPP, the President simply stumbles from one scandal to another.
Our Research Team has been at work, and starting from this issue, and working backwards from 2005, we recollect for you the 100 scandals of President John Agyekum Kufuor in the 5 years that he has been in office.
We are limiting the number to 100, an average of 20 scandals per year, more or less, otherwise we will spend the whole of next year serialising the scandals of John Agyekum Kufuor.
We are doing this as a public duty, and also as a reminder to Ghanaians, that never again shall we ever vote for such a person as President of the Republic. So here we go – “The 100 Scandals ! of John Agyekum Kufuor” – beginning with the 20 scandals of 2005. The scandals are not arranged in chronological order.
1. President Kufuor collects “kickbacks” from contractors and disburses them in a non-transparent manner to Party officials at the Castle, according to the “Esseku-gate” tapes.
2. President Kufuor allegedly made a secret trip to the USA in a move to try to secure the release of the heroin-trafficking NPP MP for Nkoranza North, Eric Amoateng, and reportedly solicited the assistance of the firm of Karl Rove, the infamous President Bush strategist popularly referred to as “Bush's Brain”.
3. Ms. Giselle Yazji, Lebanese-American former Economic Adviser to President Kufuor, finally confirmed the long-circulating rumour that she had a torrid, rollicking and romping one-year love affair with President Kufuor out of which she bore the President a set of male twins whom the President named as John Kufuor and Philip Kufuor, after himself and his Defence Minister brother D! r. Kwame Addo Kufuor whose Christian name is “Philip”.
4. Chief John Addo Kufuor, 41, son of President Kufuor, put out a Press Release to the effect that he had put together a consortium of Banks led by Prudential Bank to purchase the 7-storey, multi-million dollar, ultra-modern, uncompleted Hotel situated adjacent to the private residence of his father. Nobody believed the story, and by far the greater majority of Ghanaians are convinced that the Hotel actually was bought by President Kufuor, using his son as a front man, especially when the President's paramour, Giselle Yazji, stepped forward to claim that she negotiated the deal on behalf of the President. The press quickly! named the edifice “Hotel Kufuor”, virtually drowning its actual name, “Golden Tree Hotel”.
5. According to the self-confessed lover of President Kufuor, Ms. Giselle Yazji, the President has several bank accounts outside Ghana and he and his children have formed several offshore companies since he came into office. 6. President Kufuor contracted an American lady, Rosa Whittaker, at a fee of US$300,000 per year, to advise the NPP Government on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
7. President Kufuor led a 48-member delegation to the USA allegedly to “market” Ghana in the USA and to preview a “Discovery” Channel film on the President. They stayed at the luxurious US$3,400 a night Willard Hotel in Washington DC, and on the way back left the First! Lady, Mrs. Theresa Kufuor, aka “Gari Kokoku”, to chill out for one week in the equally luxurious £2,000 a night Landmark Hotel in London.
8. President Kufuor, in the face of clear evidence against three of his ministerial nominees who appeared before the Parliamentary Appointments Committee – Dr. Richard Anane who admitted to moral turpitude and possible corruption; Isaac Edumadze who admitted to amassing wealth, and Sheikh I.C. Quaye who admitted to perjury – nevertheless went ahead to appoint and swear them in with the lamest of explanations that once Parliament had approved them, there was nothing he could do. When he had the opportunity, Chief Justice George Acquah was ! very scathing in his criticism of the President's conduct in the matter.
9. President Kufuor and his Cabinet decided to contract an Indian Government loan of US$30 million to construct a Presidential Palace at a time when education, health, social welfare and almost all the social sectors are in deep financial crisis.
10. President Kufuor lied when he claimed at the commissioni! ng of the Ashaiman-Tema Overpass that the Overpass was financed through a loan he negotiated during one of his visits to France. According to Hon. Edward Salia, NDC MP for Jirapa, the 20 million Euro facility for the Overpass was negotiated and secured by the NDC Government from the French Government through the Agence France de Development (AFD), which was approved by Parliament on December 21, 1999. Residents in the area also confirmed that the left side of the Overpass (from the Accra end, or the right side from the Tema end) had been constructed at the time the NDC was leaving office.
11. President Kufuor's benefactor, Farmer Marfo, aka Kwasi Boadu, the “farmer” who paid ¢41 million to defray the cost of renovations to President Kufuor's private residence after the latter was exposed as having dipped his hands into the national kitty for that purpose and who is now living in the President's house as part of his household (according to the President's lover Giselle Yazji), aided and abetted by two macho men, mercilessly bent up one Sampson Nyamekye, a 27 year old reporter of the 'Searchlight' newspaper, at the Ashanti Regional Congress of the NPP in Kumasi but the President intervened to ensure that Farmer Marfo was neither arrested nor prosecuted.
12. President ! Kufuor at one of his numerous visits to the USA importuned US President George Bush to visit Ghana to enable him even scores with former President Rawlings during whose time President Clinton visited Ghana, and so irritating was his persistence and so undiplomatic his approach, that a Bush Special Aide described the President's call on President Bush as a “mission of self-glorification” and a real “pain in the ars-”.
13. After a joint military/police attack on some young men at the Aphrodisiac Night Club in Accra on Sunday, October 23, 2005, it was rumoured that the young lady who was alleged to have triggered off the incident, one “Priscilla”, a st! udent at the University of Ghana, Legon, was the girlfriend of the President or the President's son, and that following a “clash” between the President or his son and one of the boys involved in the incident, the President's bodyguards were set on the boy who beat and pummelled him into pulp before having him detained at the Airport police station.
14. President Kufuor approved for the NPP Chief Executive of the Ghana Investments Promotion Council, Kwasi Abeasi, to purchase for ¢275 million the Council's official one year old Audi A6 saloon car which was bought for ¢500 million and had done only 1,000 kilometres.
15. The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr. Ignatius Baffuor-Awuah, publicly stated that “DCEs are corrupt” and that they “have been conniving with contractors to exploit the nation”, alleging further that the DCEs arranged with district engineers to inflate project costs after estimates for the projects had been submitted by the contractors.
To quote his own words as reported in the Ghanaian Times of Thursday, October 27, 2005, “When the contract is approved and the contractor is to collect the money, the percentage ! added will be deducted. The DCE will again demand a share of the contract sum” In the face of his damning admission, and against the President's own mantra of “show me the evidence of corruption before I will investigate”, the President did nothing.
16. Minister of Education and Sports Yaw Osafo-Marfo was reported to have breached the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, one of the NPP's much-touted anti-corruption legislation, by signing a US$28 million books procurement agreement with Macmillan Education Limited without reference to the Public Procurement Board. President Kufuor did nothing.
17. President Kufuor authorised the purchase of 40 Rover cars for his Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Special Assistants at a total cost of US $1.4 million through Mr. Agyeman, nephew of Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs, from the Rover Company of the UK which is in bankruptcy and has been taken over by Chinese investors, at a time when the education system and the health system have all but collapsed. The Rover cars represent the fifth in the series of cars bought for NPP Ministers etc. within five years.
18. President Kufuor told the IMF Executive Director for Ghana when the latter called on him that Ghana had decided to wean itself from budgetary support from the IMF and its conditionalities with effect from the 2006 financial year. This was a lie and was exposed in the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies of May 20, 2005, addressed by the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Ghana to the Managing Director of the IMF. The Government itself had to send a delegation led by the Minister of Finance to Washington DC to explain to the Bretton-Wood Institutions that the President “had been misunderstood”.
19. President Kufuor announced the appointment of NPP foul-mouth Dr. Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe who got a “diplomatic sack from the GFA as its Chairman, mostly due to his poor human relations, as Ghana's Ambassador-designate to Serbia. The Ghana Palaver exposed the fact that Dr. Tamakloe is an ex-convict, having been tried and convicted alongside Col. C.D. Benni (Rtd) and lawyer Kocuvie-Tay, by a Public Tribunal in the mid-1980s for corruption and duping a foreign national and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. The President said nothing, Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe is still in Ghana and nobody knows what has happened to his appointment.
20. President Kufuor, at a meeting with the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt. Rev. Dr. Yaw Frimpong Manso, importuned him among other things to call former President J. J. Rawlings to order for comparing him to “Ataa Ayi”, the infamous armed robber. Not too long after, Rev. Frimpong Manso and other priests issued a pastoral letter in which they called on former President Rawlings to apologise to President Kufuor. The vehemence with which the public came down on what became known as the priestly “Gang of Four” was even more scandalous than the original scandal of the President calling on the Church to intervene on his behalf.
21. It was revealed that President Kufuor's nephew-in-law, Mr. D. K. Osei, who is also the Secretary to the President, is paid ¢45 million per month, denominated in dollar terms as US$4,500 per month, under a consultancy contract entered into between Mr. Osei and the National Institutional Renewal Project (NIRP).
22. The Council of the University of Development Studies (UDS) decided to honour former President J. J. Rawlings with an Honorary Doctorate degree for his instrumentality in the establishment of the University. A few days to the event, the Chairman of the University Council, Mr. DKC Gyimah, ordered cancellation of the ceremony, citing security reasons. This turned out to be false. He could never satisfactorily explain his action, but everybody knew that the cancellation was on the orders of President Kufuor.
23. President Kufuor travelled abroad 21 times in 2005. This, added to the 180 times he travelled abroad in his first term in office, makes it a total of 129 times that the President has travelled abroad in his five years in office, a Ghanaian and probably sub-regional, if not African record.