JJ Rawlings: Mahama “Overwhelmed” By Corruption
Former President Jerry Rawlings says President John Mahama is “overwhelmed” by the spate of corruption in his government.
Rawlings says although Mahama is doing his best to contain the situation, he appears to have been flustered by the viral nature of corruption in the country.
According to him, the death of late President John Mills and Mahama’s inheritance of the Presidency consequentially, signaled some hope for the fight against corruption.
“…He [Mills] died before his time was due; hope restored to a younger man but he’s become pretty much overwhelmed even as he’s doing what he can”, Rawlings said on Saturday at a memorial service held in Accra by the South African High Commission in honour of late South African President Nelson Mandela.
Mr Rawlings told the audience that Ghana’s constitutional dispensation has not helped the fight against corruption.
To him, corruption begun in the Kufuor administration and was “institutionalsed” by his former Vice President, John Mills, who later succeeded Kufuor in 2009.
He said though corruption appears to be getting out of hand under the Mahama administration – a situation he blames on the President’s easy going nature, which he says, is partly to blame for the festering nature of the canker – President Mahama is, nonetheless, doing his best to handle the situation.
The Mahama administration has been battered by a number of high profile corruption allegations since he took office this year.
Among some of the allegations is a Ghc45 million Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) corruption scandal in which state funds channeled into afforestation and poultry projects in northern Ghana toward reducing poverty, have not been accounted for.
There was also the Ghc200 million Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) scandal through which millions of state funds were allegedly diverted into private pockets.
Recently, a presidential taskforce discovered that about 288 private and state agencies evaded taxes totaling US$367 million with the collusion of officials at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Still with the GRA, it emerged that the tax collecting agency allegedly paid Ghc144 million to private IT firm Subah Info Solutions for telecommunication monitoring services, even though the job was, allegedly, not fully done.
Mahama’s Government is also yet to retrieve some €25 million from Waterville Holdings, a foreign firm, which received the amount as judgment debt with regard to the construction of some stadia in the West African country, ahead of its hosting of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ghana’s Supreme Court ruled a few months ago that the money was paid illegally and must be refunded.
The same Court also ruled that Spanish firm, Isofoton S.A., must refund to the Government of Ghana, US$325,472 it received as judgment debt because it was illegally paid.
The latest on the list involves the offloading of 90% shares of Merchant Bank Ghana to private Equity firm, Fortiz for Ghc90 million at the expense of an earlier bid by South African Bank FirstRand which offered Ghc199 million for 75% shares of the same bank.
The Presidency and the President’s brother, Ibrahim Mahama have been mentioned in the deal.