Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,
Several weeks ago, we the Inter Party Coalition for National Sovereignty held a press conference at this venue to present our stand against the US – Ghana military base in Ghana, and issues of National concerns than borders on national security and sovereignty.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our purpose this afternoon is to further inform Ghanaians about very grave matters concerning our Nation, matters that border on the preservation of the dignity and integrity of some very important institutions of our country.
These matters center around the growing levels of corruption in Ghana and the problematic roll out of the Ghana Card project.
CORRUPTION AND THE ANAS DOCUMENTARY
A fortnight ago, investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas premiered a documentary on secret investigations the Tiger-eye conducted into long-standing allegations of corruption and bribery in the Ghana Football Association (GFA). The documentary was a great shock to many people around the world.
It revealed how officials entrusted with the management of football in our country allowed themselves to be compromised in the most astonishing way.
While the corruption in our football as revealed in the Anas documentary was disturbing, the most shocking revelations centred on extremely disturbing statements made by Ex-Ghana Football Association President, Kwesi Nyantakyi.
Mr. Nyantakyi revealed how through huge cash payments to the President and Vice President and a number of key government officials, supposed investors can win lucrative contracts.
Specifically, Mr. Nyantakyi indicated that a total of about $11million was needed to pay out sums ranging from $5million, $3million, $2million, $1million to President Akufo Addo, Vice President Dr. Bawumia, Kwesi Amoako Ofori Atta, the Roads Minister and Deputy Roads Minister Anthony Karbo respectively, and that massive projects can be turned over to the “investors” to execute with huge rewards to be derived.
Mr. Nyantakyi assured his investors that they will ”take over the whole country” after these bribes are paid to the seat of Government. These claims are of the gravest kind and have damaged the image of the Presidency of the Republic of Ghana and all those who were mentioned.
We note that in the aftermath of the showing of the documentary, attempts have been made by President Akufo Addo and his government to reduce the matter to just football corruption. In fact several things have been done which smack off an attempt to divert attention to the profoundly-damaging disclosures made by Kwesi Nyantakyi in the video.
It has been argued by officials of the current government and their surrogates that Mr. Nyantakyi was only running his mouth in order to curry favour with the supposed “investors”. We find this narrative quite staggering and defies comprehension as Mr. Nyantakyi is a known figure in global circles owing to his association with leading international football organizations like WAFU, CAF and FIFA. Having led the Ghana Football Association for close to a decade and half, he is by every account a very prominent personality who moves in very exalted company.
He is also known to be well connected to the New Patriotic Party to the extent that he was among the first batch of persons to be granted access to then President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo shortly after the results of the 2016 elections were declared. Mr. Nyantakyi is also known to have met President Akufo-Addo on a number of occasions since the latter took over the leadership of this country. His close association with leading figures in the Akufo-Addo administration is a matter of public knowledge. He is one of the Akufo-Addo campaign financiers.
In addition to this, it was very clear from the documentary that he displayed very deep insight and intimate knowledge of the workings of the Akufo-Addo government and described with admirable precision, a number of key government projects and the financing arrangements around them.
This kind of deep knowledge on government affairs can only be the product of extensive engagement with relevant government officials. Also, the meticulous manner in which he drew up a disbursement formula for the $11million bribe payment and the mode of transmission of the money is suggestive of careful planning.
The most telling sign however was the extra-ordinary length Mr. Nyantakyi went to commit himself to the dubious transaction including the signing of an MOU which bound both parties to the deal.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In fact, Mr. Nyantakyi spoke the truth when he said that contractors who got jobs during the Mahama administration and whose payments have been outstanding will never be paid. As he put it, those contractors will rot. That is exactly what has happened since President Akuffo Addo came into office so the man Nyantakyi knows what he talks about.
There is no way a man who was unsure about the outcome of a carefully laid out plan to facilitate the award of contracts to an investor would make such a clear commitment if he was not confident of securing such deals. In short, Mr Nyantakyi spoke with too much knowledge and authority to be dismissed as a mere braggart.
This therefore calls into question the credibility and integrity of all persons mentioned by Mr. Nyantakyi in the documentary and imposes a crisis of confidence in their ability to perform their roles in the governance of the country without blemish.
Regrettably, despite Anas’s obviously good work in this matter, there is no proof yet that he probed further to establish whether the monies Nyantakyi demanded were in fact paid and disbursed according to the agreed formula.
The gravity of these allegations therefore leaves a pall of uncertainty around the highest office of the land. That office stands considerably tarnished. They would require the deepest and broadest of inquests to ascertain their veracity or otherwise. The Presidency is the embodiment of the authority of the state and for its image to be brought into question in this manner demands the most robust response.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
So far, the actions taken by the Akufo-Addo administration have been wholly unsatisfactory.
First, there was a clear attempt to pre-empt the impact of the documentary when the President purported to order the arrest of Kwesi Nyantakyi after he was given a sneak preview. The Police CID subsequently proceeded to invite Mr. Nyantakyi and immediately released him on bail.
Following the airing of the documentary, the Akufo-Addo government through the Attorney General has moved to liquidate the Ghana Football Association through court action and proposed “Ghana Football Federation” as its replacement.
These moves appear designed to reduce the whole matter to a football affair. While we acknowledge the need to carry out far-reaching reforms, there are international blue-prints and best practices to learn from and this should not take much time to carry out.
Football is important to Ghanaians and and ridding it of corruption is vital. However, restoring the credibility and integrity of the Presidency which have been severely dented, tarnished and eroded by the revelations in the Anas documentary must take precedence over all else.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Considering the quantum of money involved in the alleged Presidential corruption and the general gravity of the matters involved, we had expected that the Office of the President at Jubilee House would be cordoned off and declared a crime scene for thorough investigations as has been done to the GFA offices. But no; the name of the game is cover-up.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is worrying that the Akufo-Addo government has failed to show a clear plan to get to the bottom of the arrangement of bribe payments to the President and other officials mentioned by Kwesi Nyantakyi in a transparent and convincing manner.
The manner in which the President got the Police CID involved in the matter and the clear partisanship and unprofessionalism exhibited by them when Kwesi Nyantakyi’s caution statement found its way into the media as well as the deliberate misrepresentation of same to draw in the former President, shows that the outcome of an investigation led by them cannot be entirely reliable. This coupled with the controversy that surrounded the investigation of the A-Plus corruption allegation against two Deputy Chiefs of Staff, has undermined public confidence in them to rise above partisanship in this matter.
The only avenue left for a credible investigation into this matter, is an independent public enquiry pursuant to Article 278 of the Constitution of Ghana. It is the only way through which all the facts about this matter can emerge and whether or not the Presidency has become the hub of bribe collection in exchange for contracts, permanently established.
Beyond the Nyantakyi revelations, there have been persistent allegations of corruption against officials at the Presidency. There was the A-Plus allegations against two Deputy Chiefs of Staff, one of whom is also mentioned in the Anas documentary. Mr. Kennedy Agyapong, a leading figure in the NPP and a member of Ghana’s Parliament has also said in the not too distant past, that some persons at the Presidency collect thousands of dollars from prospective investors to arrange meetings with the President. Not long after this it emerged that expatriate businessmen wishing to sit on the same table with or close to President Akufo-Addo and to have exclusive dinner with him had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in what became known as the Cash-for-Seats Scandal.
The convergence and similarities of statements made by separate individuals, in the shape of Kwesi Nyantakyi, Kennedy Agyapong and A-Plus all pointing to corruption at the Presidency are too strong to dismiss and the inquest we demand will go a long way to clarify the issues for all of us.
In addition to this, there have been too many corruption scandals which have been handled poorly by the President who appears to have lost the fight against the canker. Earlier in his administration, he mounted robust defenses for appointees who were cited for corrupt behavior.
Corruption scandals at BOST, Metro Mass, National Lotteries Authority, Pre-Mix Secretariat, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Communication among others have all been swept under the carpet. Indeed President Akufo Addo has often purported to clear individuals involved in this corrupt act in order to preserve his government to the detriment of our dear nation.
In the wake of the Anas documentary, he promptly relieved a number of appointees deemed to be corrupt off their positions in what appeared to be a diversionary tactic. We wish to ask what changed such that the President found it necessary to dismiss the same persons he had firmly defended only a few months ago. We also wish to stress that the dismissal of individuals for corruption is an inadequate response. It should be followed by thorough investigations with the view to punishing offenders.
Today, corruption has become so pervasive that it endangers the very fabric of society and we fear that if it goes on further unchecked it may generate so much discontent and skepticism and threaten the very basis of national security
We demand immediate action to reverse this worrying trend and it must start from the very top, that is the Presidency. We therefore call on President Akufo Addo to as a matter of urgency set up an Independent Commission of Enquiry to look into the Anas documentary and subject himself as as well as all other officials mentioned to comprehensive scrutiny. It is the only way that the crisis of confidence that currently afflicts his leadership can be effectively addressed. We will not accept any effort to sweep these matters under the carpet on the altar of political expediency. To this end, working with the Ghana First Patriotic Front (GFPF), we intend embarking on a series of public manifestations to mount pressure on the Akufo-Addo Government to stop the diversions and set up a credible and independent Commission of Enquiry as demanded by Article 278 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
Ghana belongs to all of us and it is the duty of all elected and appointed officials to come to office with the highest levels of integrity and ethical behavior. We do not see that the current crop of leaders in government are living up to these requirements.
NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION REGISTRATION
Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
The National Identification Authority is currently said to be engaged in the initial roll out of a 15 year registration process to capture the unique identities of all Ghanaians. We support any effort to build a comprehensive national population data base. It has enormous benefits for any country.
This general support notwithstanding, there are many pressing issues that must be resolved at once to pave way for a credible registration exercise as follows;
The National Identification Authority has limited the requirements to be registered under the project to holders of passports and birth certificates. Information from the NIA itself shows that just about two million have passports with another five million said to have birth certificates. This means that only seven million of our compatriots would be eligible to be registered and issued with Ghana Cards.
This also means that a whopping twenty-three million Ghanaians do not qualify to be registered. We are aware that the NIA has stated that two relatives possessing either passports or birth certificates can vouch for persons without the two documents after swearing before a Commissioner of Oaths.
We find this supposed remedial measure woefully inadequate, cumbersome and one that would serve to keep Ghanaians from registering thereby defeating the purpose of the exercise.
This will have the effect of depriving tens of millions of Ghanaians of whatever benefits the Ghana Card is supposed to accrue.
We are at a loss as to what basis informed this restriction and why the NIA is unwilling to accept other forms of identification that have been proven to be valid. An example is the Voters Identification Card which through a Supreme Court ruling has been validated as a credible means of identifying Ghanaians. At the last reckoning, there were about fourteen million Ghanaians who possess this card, twice the number of people with passports and birth certificates.
As things stand now, there is no legal basis for the exclusion of the Voter’s ID card and we demand its immediate inclusion in the list of requirements for registration. This is absolutely necessary to ensure that Ghanaians whose identities have been verified biometrically and upheld by the Supreme Court of Ghana.
It is unclear what exactly informs the exclusion of voter ID cards, which is by far a more widespread means of identification especially as its holders have all been certified to be Ghanaians which qualified them to vote in the 2016 elections through which Ghana’s current President, Nana Akufo-Addo, was elected.
To question the validity and authenticity of the voter’s ID card
would be to question the legitimacy of -:
President Akufo-Addo himself.
Current managers of the NIA because their office is sequel to the President.
All appointees in the present government and
All members of parliament
There are reports that the decision to restrict the eligibility requirements for the exercise to passports and birth certificates and the exclusion of the voter ID cards stems from an unfounded and unproven belief by the New Patriotic Party that the Voters’ register contains the name of non-Ghanaians. There is also speculation that the Ghana Card is a precursor to the compilation of another voters’ register which suits the whims of the NPP.
If true, this would be a most illogical and untenable position. This would mean that the New Patriotic Party considers their own Nana Akufo-Addo who was voted into office on the basis of the same register as illegitimate because they cannot accept the results of an election won by their candidate and turn round to question the eligibility of those who voted for him.
If the voters’ ID card is not an acceptable indication of who is a Ghanaian, then Nana Akufo-Addo must cease holding himself out as the legitimate President of Ghana.
The NPP must retreat from the path of abusing the mandate given to them for the furtherance of their own interests.The voter’s ID card is by all standards an acceptable proof of who is a Ghanaian and we demand its inclusion in the list of requirements for registration.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Some communities have already served notice that if the issue concerning requirements for registration is not resolved, they will embark on mass citizen actions and there is a possibility of an escalation. The NPP government must not underestimate the anger and frustration of Ghanaians over this matter.
The leadership of the NIA should stop behaving like monarchs of all that they survey. It must change its tone and stop deriding Ghanaians who disagree with their position. We wish to assure Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko that Ghanaians who hold a contrary view on the registration requirements and the colossal cost of US$1.2billion are not “silly” as he claims.Time will tell who is “silly”. It is not too late to amend the law and add the voter’s card to the list of registration requirements. It can be done under a certificate of urgency in much the same way that the passage of the existing law was done under this very Parliament.
In this respect, we call for further consultation of all stakeholders by the NIA to iron out all outstanding issues and the clarification of concerns relating to the cost of the exercise, the procurement process and legal matters arising.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Akuffo Addo government is acting with too much impunity. It does not seem to care about the consequences of its actions and believe very wrongly that it can get away with anything. The Akuffo Addo government of family, friends and concubines are running this country like their personal fiefdom and believe that all other Ghanaians are inferior to them. Many of their decisions lend credence to Mr. Nyantakyi’s assertion that they are on a mission to recoup monies they spent pursuing the Presidency since 1996.
The greed, the corruption and arrogance is everywhere. The government has become dishonest in its dealings with Ghanaians. Otherwise why should the same NPP that once upon a time vehemently condemned the GVG International call monitoring project turn around and offer the same company a new contract under such dubious circumstances? The NPP government under President Akuffo Addo has lost its moral compass. It is time for wise counsel to prevail lest they push the country to the brink.
Ladies and Gentlemen, on this note we wish to thank you all once again for coming.
God bless our homeland Ghana.