Stephen Kwabena Opuni, the medical practitioner – if memory serves yours truly accurately – and known relative of the wife of former President John Dramani Mahama, Mrs. Lordina Mahama, is presently being trialed/tried in court charged with multiple counts of gross mismanagement of the fiscal resources of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), where Dr. Opuni was the CEO for some four years. So it is rather curious for some members of the National Democratic Congress’ Parliamentary Minority to virulently and self-righteously accuse the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) of squandering some $10 Million (USD) on audit services on cocoa roads and, allegedly, suspending the same “when no one has been found guilty of wrongdoing in the award and execution of the [road] works” (See “NDC Awarded Cocoa Road Contracts to Their Regional Executives” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 7/26/19).
This is laughable because Ghanaians have yet to be informed by operatives of the ruling NPP whether the obligatory auditing of the expenditures involved in the construction of the so-called Mahama-initiated Cocoa Road Projects has caught any criminal suspects or culprits in its deliberately moving dragnet. Such auditing, contrary to what the NDC’s Parliamentary Minority would have the rest of the country believe, does not have to be undertaken primarily because the executive operatives of the Cocoa Board necessarily smell something fishy or suspicious about the fiscal balances of the country’s largest agricultural establishment. Every newly elected government embarks on the auditing of the accounts of the previous regime in order to ensure that the people’s business was honestly and responsibly carried out without any illegal or criminal attempts to scam the taxpayer or, properly speaking, take the latter to the cleaners. I also wistfully watched one of the NDC’s parliamentary operatives – I believe it was Mr. Eric Opoku – smugly make the $10 Million (USD) squandering claim, I suppose, at a press conference, without producing any shred of forensically verifiable evidence to back up his claim.
Instead, we had the impudent accuser lamely and shamelessly promise that his party would provide the general public with hard evidence to prove its allegation in due course. This is obviously a characteristically unscrupulous attempt by the minority leaders to insult the intelligence of the Ghanaian citizenry, by so casually presuming that they could concoct just about any cock-and-bull story and easily get away with such criminal dust-throwing into the eyes of a forward-looking and critically-thinking Ghanaian public. We have also been informed by the Manager of the Office of Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Mr. Fiifi Boafo, in a radio interview, that under the previous Mahama regime, the cost of construction of some so-called Cocoa Roads had been inflated by as much as 70-to-80-percent the average cost, especially those that had been awarded to some regional executive operatives of the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama-led National Democratic Congress.
The standard practice, we are told by Mr. Boafo, is approximately 10-percent, obviously to take account of the normal cost of inflation during the course of the timely construction of these road projects. If, indeed, such scamming of the hardworking Ghanaian taxpayer did take place – and we have absolutely no reason not to give Mr. Boafo the proverbial benefit of the doubt – then the alleged scam-artists involved must be promptly and swiftly brought to book. This is also where the offices of both Attorney-General Gloria Akuffo and Special Prosecutor Martin ABK Amidu come into focus and play, for want of a better word. But, perhaps, what is even more significant is to evaluate and determine the fact of whether the sweetheart contractual deals cut with the aforesaid NDC’s regional executives were awarded on merit; and where this appears not to have been the case, such huge sums of money as had been illegally paid out are promptly returned with punitive damages.
The heydays of the gross and reckless management of the country’s development resources must be definitively stanched. This is not the Ghana that our parents and grandparents bargained for from the erstwhile British colonial administrators with their sweat and toil and, in many notable instances, with their very lives and blood.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
July 28, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
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