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Monday, October 5, 2009

Fraud Chokes Mills

Prez John Atta Mills and Veep Mahama

GHANA’s President Atta Mills has come under heightening condemnation from civil society groups, after top shots in his government were found to have entangled themselves with alleged corrupt practices that have caught the attention of the international community.

One of such groups, the Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF), on Thursday issued a press statement that called on President Mills to break the loud and noticeable silence he has maintained over the matter.

PNF has called on President Mills to ask all the implicated Ministers and government officials to resign as a matter of urgency, for the matter to be thoroughly investigated and those found culpable, tried before the law courts.

The group opined that the President has kept mute over the matter because he may be a beneficiary of the alleged corruption which involves persons in a government, of which he is the head.

The PNF, in citing instances where government officials are believed to have gotten involved in corrupt practices, mentioned the Mabey and Johnson saga in which a UK based firm was convicted in a London court for paying bribes to some officials in the Atta Mills-led Administration.

The group also recalled the issue of Mahama Ayariga, the President’s Spokesperson, who got implicated in a dishonest purchase of subsidized tractors exclusively meant for underprivileged farmers and gleefully ordered for himself, as much as five of the tractors, but paid for the price of only one.

PNF mentioned President Mills’ former Sports Minister, Mohammed Muntaka, who was also reported to have fattened his private purse with the tax payer’s money and even used state money to pay for the private travels of a female friend of his.

Concerning the M&J deal, the PNF said it would be hypocritical on the part of government if Ghana continues to deny that some of its officials accepted bribes from M&J, yet turns round to accept the reparation fee of £685, 000 from the UK court that indicted M&J of having paid the said bribes.

“The President’s acceptance of the said reparation is an admission of guilt that indeed there was a wrong doing in which Ghana was short-changed by M&J through the inflation of contract sums which was then used to pay the corrupt ministers.

What was the purpose of the £750, 000 Ghana Development Fund that M&J set up and for which Mr. Baba Kamara, the National Deputy Treasurer of the NDC, had access to? ” The statement added.

It described as laughable, an excuse from Dr. Kwabena Adjei, Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), that the bribe allegation was not true because it could not be supported by receipts.

“Since when in the history of corruption has there been the exchange of receipts for monies given and taken?...

We believe the account numbers and the cheques in the names of the indicated ministers and party executives is enough evidence that the party was actively in connivance with M&J in taking bribes and giving contracts in return,” PNF stated.

PNF called on the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to come clear on the issue of Boniface Abubakar, a leading member of the NPP, who reportedly received some of the said bribe monies at a time he was a member of the NDC and was serving as a government official then.

By Halifax Ansah-Addo

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