Create, Loot And Share: Real Degraders Of Ghana.
By now, it should be clear to all that the real degraders of Country Ghana are not (repeat NOT) the poor, socially and economically insignificant so-called ‘galamseyers’ (small-scale illegal miners), but the privileged ‘white-collar’ workers in various positions in state and private employment.
Do not get me wrong. Thanks to the media, especially television, we have seen the environmental degradation of our country by the activities of miners, whether the so-called big mining companies or the small-scale ones, licensed or unlicensed.
Yes, even the big companies are also guilty of one form of degradation or the other. As a result of unchecked mining practices, the very air the people in the mining areas breathe has been polluted.
Studies have shown that the people suffer from skin diseases and tuberculosis. The suspicion is that, for example, the once famous ‘Obuasi ankaa’ (Obuasi orange) has been adversely affected by chemicals used in mining activities, so that it is no longer sweet or safe to consume. The study showed arsenic in the hair of the people affected.
All forms of mining, especially for gold, have destroyed our environment. Rivers and streams that provide sources of drinking water have had their course diverted and polluted through the use of mercury and other harmful chemicals. Fishes have been poisoned as a result of the use of these chemicals.
Land for food and cash crops has been degraded. Cocoa trees and food products have been cut down. Huge pits dotted all over the place also pose a grave danger to human lives.
Houses have been pulled down. Roads and one airstrip are threatened with destruction, as these miners, especially the small-scale miners (whether legal or illegal), dig close to these amenities. Murders have been committed.
While admitting that mining has caused great devastation to the environment and lives, I maintain that the greater destruction has been caused by functionaries in state and private employment, than all the miners put together.
How much has been earned by these small-scale illegal miners who work on their own in dangerous pits that cave in and entomb them?
What about the destruction caused by white-collar employees, who, over the years, have ganged up to create, loot and share the financial resources of the country, through plain stealing, embezzlement, misappropriation, criminal conspiracy, etc.?
Take the case of payments that have come under the broad umbrella term of ‘judgment debt’, as it has come to be known?
No one should dispute the fact that, for example, the government has to pay compensation for the acquisition of land from land-owners. If the compensation is not paid today, it will definitely have to be paid tomorrow.
Again, reckless abrogation of contracts or agreements by the government has also contributed to the payment of the so-called judgment debts.
When a government illegally pulled down somebody’s hotel without any tangible reason, one expected the owner to make attempts to claim compensation.
Bad as the above examples are, what turned to be most shocking, unacceptable and criminal beyond compare is the conspiracy by people in positions of responsibility to defraud the state through the payment of so-called judgment debts.
As has come to be known, the majority of the payments did not result from a proper court hearing, after which a judge sitting in a court of competent jurisdiction ordered one individual or company to pay so much to another individual or another company.
The officials involved simply conspired with people who had no claim on the state to defend the state. As one of the justices said, it was clearly a conspiracy to create, loot, and share.
How could anyone who thought about the state conspire with others to pay out monies to those who had no contract with the state? The most annoying part of it all was the posture of righteousness and patriotism by these criminals, who claimed that, in fact, they were saving the state money by negotiating down the money paid.
They tried to come out as the real patriots who saved their country from financial destruction. Yet, they were the very people who conspired to defraud the state.
Where is the police vehicle that allegedly irresponsibly destroyed a Hyundai vehicle? How could anybody pay for the whole vehicle, and still pay for parts in the vehicle? I hope that the Sole Commissioner investigating the whole saga of judgment debt payment will find time to go through this episode involving the Ghana Police Service.
Joy FM and Mr. Manasseh Azure Awini uncovered massive embezzlement at the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), now known and called Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA).
Even before the finding of Mr. Awine and Joy FM, Mr. Abuga Pele, the then national boss of the programme, had set up a committee which made adverse findings against certain persons in the organisation.
Unfortunately, the Abuga Pele Committee’s report was shot down as a result of orders from above, with the lame and untenable excuse that those involved had not been given an opportunity to be heard.
The National Security apparatus also investigated then NYEP, but with the same result – the findings were shelved – ‘Orders from above’.
Joy FM and Mr. Awine reported the arrangement in which a Zoomlion subsidiary, ‘Better Ghana Agenda’, received more money in management fees than the workers who toiled incessantly to rid us of filth. Well, you must have heard how the company’s lawyers stopped the mouths of Joy FM and Mr. Awine.
Joy FM and Mr. Awine uncovered what looked like fraudulent claims by Mr. Roland Agambire’s company. For example, some people were supposed to have been trained while in residence provided by the company.
According to the reports by Mr. Awine and Joy FM, though the company was paid in advance, the training was not residential, and the number supposedly trained was far less than the original number for which full payment was made.
I respectfully invite readers to read the article entitled PLENTY MEN SHALL FALL THAT DAY, written by Mr. Sydney Casely-Hayford, and published in The DAILY GUIDE issue of Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at page 20. It will make you wonder whether the Frenchman Honore D’Balzac was not right when he wrote that “Behind every fortune is a crime.”
Road Fund monies disappear into the people’s private pockets. Other state monies are embezzled with impunity, because those involved know very well that nothing, and no one can touch them.
You can duplicate the stories a million fold. Who says that galamseyers are the ones destroying the country?
By I. K. Gyasi
-Credit: The Chronicle