In this interview with Francisca Allotey (Radio France Correspondent), Rev. Dr Wilberforce Ntim of Church of God International (CGI) Canada and a Surgeon based in Canada, speaks about the Akufo-Addo administration’s performance, state of the economy, corruption and other national issues. Excerpts:
Critics of the President Akufo-Addo-led administration have latched on to the recent Bost saga, the $2.5 bond issued by the Finance Ministry, the cash for seat saga, the corruption allegation against the two deputy chiefs of staff to accuse it of being corruption and of partiality.
What is your stake?
If Ghanaians can remember, I said something recently; when the President asked the police CID to investigate the corruption allegation against his deputy chiefs of staff. I said while the call for investigation was a very positive development, it was none the less, inadequate. It was partial and certainly sends a very wrong message. I made similar remarks in relation to how government handled the Cash-for-seat allegation as well as the famous contaminated oil matter. One, what the CID chief told the young man (A-Plus) which was captured on tape, did not receive the kind of attention and thorough investigation we all expected. The CID chief’s explanation was not convincing enough. Look at the contaminated oil case involving the Bost boss and how government handled the investigation. In any case, information the NPA and other industry players fed the public and what the committee that was set up by the minister revealed, indicates clearly that the Bost Boss acted against NPA laws and operation regulations. All the appointees who were involved in those alleged corrupt deals, were made to stay in office whilst investigations were going on. Under the British norms of public administration and management, if you are under investigation, you are normally asked to step aside. The President is an accomplished lawyer who lived in Britain for sometime so have adequate knowledge in these common administrative procedures. The same could be said about the way government handled the cash for seat allegation. Officials at the presidency, the Trade Minister, his deputy and the organisers, contradicted themselves throughout the probe. What the deputy minister said on Radio when the minority raised the allegation, was totally different from what his minister and the organisers said when they appeared before the parliamentary committee and that’s worrying. Some of us respect the President highly because of his political experience so get seriously worried when we hear and witness such shameful acts.
*Since you’ve brought in the alleged Cash-for-Seat scandal involving the President, what do you make of the whole thing?*
It is now clear beyond any reasonable doubt like we see in the media- local and international- that the President and his management acted wrongly. There can never be any reason why the judges, CEPs officers and police officers who were involved in malfeasance and grand crime in extortion and bribery should be dismissed or suspended while the deputy trade minister, the President himself, officers at the presidency who negotiated the cash for seat deal as well as the organisers be allowed to remain scot-free. Secondly, the position of the President of the company that organised the award is something nobody can explain; only president Akufo-Addo can explain it. Ghanaians deserve proper and convincing answers to the numerous corruption allegations against this government and the answers must come quick because Ghanaians cannot be taken for a ride by either President Akufo-Addo or any of his appointees. The days when our politicians can tell lies and get away with it or pretend to be messiahs in Ghana is now gone. Every member of this government and future appointees must prove themselves to be clean before Ghanaians take them to be clean. We do not take the President and his appointees to be clean simply because they say they are clean
There has been this talk about a cabal hijacking the presidency, a change the presidency has denied.
We will like your thoughts on this?
Let me say straight away that whether one call it a cabal or a mafia or kind of cult, there is a group of people who are wielding power within the presidency under President Akufo-Addo. It is not the first time we seeing this phenomenon. Whatever you say it is; it is and a lot worse. First, the most influential persons in the presidency today are the President’s cousins and close associates. Gabby Otchere-Darko is a nephew of the President and acting as the main conduit between investors and the President. Next is what they call the executive Secretary to the President,also a cousin of the President. There are other close relations of the President and the first lady working at the presidency as special assistants. Nepotism breeds corruption. This is the first time a sitting president has appointed a daughter, in-laws into his government. All the important ministries are being headed by cousins and nephews of the President including finance and works and housing. So how do you convince me that the President is incorruptible as some of us believed before he took over the presidency. Can you confidently vouch for his incorruptibility the way you did prior to the election? I supported his candidacy not as a member of the Npp, but as an individual whose political credentials was solid. I am a man of God not a politician- my conscience directs me as to what to do. I cannot vouch for the president’s credibility if you ask me today. I will not because of what I have witnessed so far. In fact , in the history of Ghana, let me make bold to assert that I have never seen any level of nepotism that has equalled or surpassed this in my entire life. I am now in my 68th year. Throughout my reading of history and apolitical science and social science in general, I have never heard of any dictator or any tyrant under any system of government whether totalitarian or fascist, appointing his brother as finance minister – President Akufo-Addo has done that. If this not nepotism, then I don’t know what is nepotism and anybody who has the guts, the brutal arrogance to appoint these relations not bothering about public opinion, about the sense of justice, about competence, then you can see that he has a very serious questions to answer.
In light of what you have said, what would you say has changed in government?
I will put it this way, we have exchanged one administration whose image was beautifully coloured with corruption allegation, for one that pretends to be honest and is doing an honest job while in reality, it is corruption business as usual.
Some appointees of the past administration are being investigated over corruption allegations. Is this not progress?
My niece, actions of this government have already vindicated the former President and his government. Because of the massive corruption and nepotism ongoing in this administration, the President and his team are struggling to gather the needed moral authority to prosecute people whose crime come nowhere near what we witnessing in terms of weight and magnitude. I will soon furnish with a report I received from a Canadian journalist concerning an oil deal involving a Russian oil company and its reps in Nigeria and some officials of this administration. Let us be honest with ourselves- can you in all honesty, compare what happened under the last administration to the mess we seeing under the current administration?
But why have you been quiet ?
The last time I spoke about these issues, I was branded a pro-Kufour element. Their hired assigns were all over so resolved to stay off their table. But we shall continue with our prayers for this nation offer constructive criticisms through decent platforms
February 21, 2018