Enimil Ashon: Money swine! Politics sweet

Cecilia Dapaah, former Sanitation and Water Resources Minister

In 2014, one year after voicing her “vision” to a friend, that she was in politics to make a million dollars, Victoria Hammah, then Deputy Communication Minister, was crowned by Facebook as “Africa’s craziest politician”.

I disagreed. If anything, she had been “honest” enough to declare what actuated her in politics.

She may have dreamt but she was not daydreaming: she was only voicing what every Ghanaian politician knew, that it was possible to make a million dollars by just being a politician.

Victoria was much younger in 2004 when she read in the ‘Ghanaian Chronicle’ (same Chronicle) that NDC party chair, Dr Obed Asamoah, had kept in his home sums of money too much to count. She may even have been impressed by Obed’s defence, that what he had done was not unknown in Ghana politics and that every party had someone who kept the bulk physical cash at home “for emergency”.

By “emergency”, he rationalised that the party could not tell who would come looking for money at any time for party projects. He referred to a publication in which a certain politician (name withheld in this article) promised to give a bicycle to each of the 105 polling stations in the Sene constituency. He insisted that in such an emergency, the party needed instantly available cash evidently, the banking system was too cumbersome.

Only two years previously, on December 24, 2012, Victoria Hammah had read that Okudzeto Ablakwa, then Deputy Minister of Information, had been robbed of ¢25,000 which was in the booth of his car. His driver who made the report of the theft to police is said to have alleged that the money was stolen when he took the car to a washing bay. Today, this amount sounds paltry, but it was worth ¢250,000 in today’s values.

Victoria knew that anybody who kept that amount of money in a car booth considered ¢25,000 as chicken change. Being Christmas Eve, it may have been taken out of an uncountable heap at home into town for buttered herbed rice, roasted chicken, club sandwich, Thai beef salad, fried lotus on the cob, and red wine.

In one week, Ghanaians have fathomed how she came by the money. The one that comes close to the truth, for me, is the theory that she was keeping the money for one of NPP’s 10 flagbearer aspirants.

My tears go to the foodstuff suppliers on the school feeding programme who had to picket at the offices of the National Food Buffer Stock Company for days, sleeping with Accra’s cruel female anopheles mosquitoes in the night to be paid their arrears of GH¢200 million for foodstuffs supplied to senior high schools for one-and-a-half years – all because Ghana had no money.

I propose that if the amounts retrieved from the suspects will not be given back to Cecilia Dapaah, then they must be paid to the foodstuff suppliers. 

To what use would the former Minister have put these amounts of money? Would she have gone to “sow a seed” in church? Did her tithes suddenly shoot up? Which brings to mind our situation where pastors don’t call church members aside to find out from them when their tithes suddenly shoot up.

I am told that an Assemblies of God pastor in Nigeria does that, much to the discomfort of politicians and contractors in the church. He is not as wise as the other pastor, also in Nigeria, who encourages the congregations to fan themselves with their offering as they dance from their pews to the front. Clever man: he knows that no one fans themselves with a coin!!

Cecilia Dapaah could also have flown first class to Dubai to enjoy the luxury of the Royal Villa suite in the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the world's first-ever 7-star hotel. The suite occupies two floors. The lavish décor is adorned in 22-karat gold. Cost: ONLY US$28,000 per night.

Or to the USA for the most expensive hotel suite in the world, the Empathy Suite Sky Villa Palms Casino Resort which attracts $100,000 per night! The suite encompasses the entire eighth floor of the hotel. The windows are bulletproof – just in case armed robbers followed her from Ghana. In that hotel, the guest has a personalized 24-hour butler service and a generous $10,000 casino cash credit. Where else but the “sin city” of the world - Las Vegas?

I asked myself: who, with their own money, earned from the sweat on their brow, would book themselves into such hotels?  Last Friday, I found the answer. With US$1 million dollars, who cannot afford this level of luxury?

Politics sweet!

By the way, there has been another reported robbery involving a Jubilee House staff. A lawyer and she is reported as being robbed of $114,000, £800, GHc50,000.00 and 3,000 euro from her Premier Place residence.

Money swine.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.