Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday October 04, 2018
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said it is becoming clear that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is attempting to frustrate forensic investigations into the activities of the previous administration with the sole aim of stopping the party’s leaders from rendering account of their stewardship.
The NPP also debunked allegations by the NDC that $6 million had been spent on forensic audits, describing it as nothing but bogus.
“But perhaps, there is a real reason the NDC is attempting to misinform the public. Is the NDC seeking to pre-empt the results of ongoing forensic audits with shameless cries of witch-hunting in order to protect itself from accountability?” NPP Director of Communications Yaw Buaben Asamoa quizzed yesterday.
On Tuesday, the NDC, at a news conference addressed by its General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia, made spurious claims that the Akufo-Addo government had spent $6million on financial audits.
It is unclear how the NDC came by the figure, but they claimed it was the cost of financial audits they termed as ‘illegal witch hunting’ exercise targeted at NDC appointees.
The NDC’s main concern is the recent leaked report which implicated some party gurus who headed and managed six state-owned companies and institutions.
The opposition claimed the Auditor General appointed by John Mahama five days to handing over power to the Akufo-Addo administration was not aware of the forensic audits, suggesting that the Auditor General, Yaw Daniel Domelevo, is in bed with the NDC.
The companies audited included Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC).
NPP Hits Back
The NPP hit back, saying “it appears Mr. Asiedu Nketiah was on a mission to make noise and hopefully boost his reportedly flagging campaign for re-election. Otherwise no logical explanation comes easily to mind for his antics exhibited in a full blown press conference, followed up with numerous media appearances.”
“Short of seeking to circumvent and prevent the law from taking its course, it beats the imagination why the NDC is rushing to discredit investigations which are yet to feed into potential prosecutions. This is the same party, which barely recently boasted and challenged the whole world to prosecute them if they were found to be corrupt. What has changed now that there is a realisation of serious ongoing investigations to ensure successful prosecutions?”
According to the NPP Communications Director, the exercise carried out by the auditors was backed by law, saying “the reports had been channelled through the cabinet ad-hoc committee on investigations.”
“In 2017, the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), in pursuit of its mandate under Section 3 (a) of the EOCO Act of 2010, (Act 804), and in accordance with Section 14 (3) of Act 804, engaged experts to conduct preliminary audits and advise EOCO on reports of corruption and malpractices in some state organizations.”
He said categorically that the NPP government did not spend $6.8 million on the audits as has been deliberately and falsely put out and explained that the UNDP had provided technical assistance to the office coordinating the audits in line with Section 3(f) of the EOCO Act.
“The technical support from the UNDP is part of their anti-corruption support and governance project and costs less than $100,000. The mention of $6.8million is a total red herring aimed at diverting attention from the substantive findings of the forensic audit and the genuine questions that persons found culpable have to answer as part of investigative processes.”
Mr Buaben Asamoa said the institutions involved are paying for the forensic audits, adding “it would serve the public well if Mr Asiedu Nketiah could be humble enough to apologise for bringing the UNDP and the government into disrepute on the basis of a wild reckless guess, or at least reveal his source.”
“EOCO, having been advised, has completed reports of some of the investigations whilst others are ongoing. We hope the blanket call to appointees of the former administration not to cooperate with investigations will not be followed literally because a pre-emptive attempt to escape accountability under a screaming smokescreen of witch-hunting will not convince the Ghanaian public,” he said.
Mr. Buaben Asamoa said the Akufo-Addo government will follow due process in the fight against corruption, adding “in the same vein, we do not expect self-respecting servants of any government to resort to polemic stunts aimed at diligent interrogation of their tenure of office since such actions will not and cannot stop appropriate accountability measures.”
“We hope Mr. Asiedu Nketiah is not allergic to facts. In any case, who is he trying to shield from the flames of accountability? Is it the entire Mahama administration or characters thick in the purported plots to create, loot and share? Schemes to create, loot and share have been allegedly so well executed that many contracts inherited by the current administration appear lawful but in effect are bloated well beyond value for money limits.
The NPP also condemned the personal attacks on Professor Edward Dua Agyeman by the NDC General Secretary, saying “nearly half of the NDC’s press conference was devoted to casting aspersions on Dua Agyemang. Further appearances on various media by Asiedu Nketiah followed the same trend.”