Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the headquarters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 10th edition of our weekly press briefing. Our strive to deepen democracy and accountability cannot bear any fruits without your esteemed platforms, and that is why we will continue to cherish our partnership with you.
Today’s briefing is part two (2) of the Corruption Tracker Series we launched a couple of weeks ago. You would recall, that on 8th June 2020, we launched a Corruption Tracker initiative to track the status of the numerous corruption scandals that Ghanaians have witnessed and continue to witness under the Akufo-Addo government; scandals which have occasioned huge financial losses to the state, and robbed Ghanaians of the comfort they were promised in the run up to the 2016 general elections.
As I indicated that day, the NDC is deeply worried about the fact that, resources which otherwise would have gone into developmental projects in order to uplift the poor, are sadly going to line the pockets of greedy officials of the Akufo-Addo government. Indeed, the structural violence that corruption continues to wreak on our people cannot be underestimated, as corruption deprives the vast majority of our people an opportunity to a decent living. This is the reason for our decision, to embark on the Corruption Tracker initiative to expose to the Ghanaian people the extent to which President Akufo-Addo and his corrupt appointees are milking the state coffers dry through graft and sleaze.
During our very maiden press conference on this series, we spoke about the “BOSTGATE” corruption scandal in which five (5) million liters of contaminated fuel was sold by BOST to some unlicensed businesses in the year 2017, in clear violation of the NPA Act and the Public Procurement Act under the watch of President Akufo-Addo. Also, at that press conference, we condemned the fact that the proceeds of that unlawful transaction had not been paid into the state coffers by the beneficiary businesses, MOVENPINAA ENERGY AND ZUP OIL.
Against all hope, we had hoped that President Akufo-Addo was going to act on the issues we raised, by ensuring that the perpetrators of this daylight heist are prosecuted or in the very least, ensure that the proceeds from the unlawful transaction were paid into the state coffers for the benefit of Ghanaians.
Unsurprisingly, and very characteristic of him, President Akufo-Addo has once again failed to uphold the national interest, such that as we speak, the proceeds of that illegal transaction have still not been paid into the state coffers and the perpetrators of this naked thievery are still walking the streets of Ghana as free men enjoying their loot, while Ghanaians continue to suffer.
Despite the refusal of President Akufo-Addo to change his “corruption clearing agent” ways, duty calls on us as a responsible opposition, to continue our Corruption Tracker series in order to shed light on the corrupt activities of this government, and the extent of damage it is inflicting on the already-constrained public purse and all sectors of the nation, so that Ghanaians can make an informed choice at the upcoming December Polls.
PDS CORRUPTION SCANDAL
Today’s Corruption Tracker will focus on one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated against the Ghanaian people by any government in Ghana’s history. I am talking about the gargantuan and stinking PDS corruption scandal that most of you are very familiar with.
Given the possibility that some of you may have forgotten the facts of this matter, I wish to start by way of a brief recap of the sordid facts and events that led to the PDS scam.
Distinguished friends from the media, you may recall that the Akufo-Addo government sometime in July 2019, informed the Ghanaian public that it has suspended the ECG Concession Agreement with Power Distribution Services (PDS) Ghana, over what they described as, “material and fundamental breaches” relative to the Demand Guarantee provided by PDS to ECG. You may also recall, that the Energy Minister, Hon. John Peter Amewu, and his Deputies subsequently followed-up and described the entire ECG/PDS Concession Agreement as “fraudulent.”
The key facts and events that led to this situation are as follows;
Indeed the FTI report found that PDS could not even raise the needed funds from equity contributions of shareholders to pay for the so-called Insurance Guarantee it claims to have secured from Alkoot such that, out of the $12.25 million that was charged by Cal Bank to PDS as fees for raising the “fraudulent” Guarantee, only $1 million (8%) was funded by an equity contribution by a PDS shareholder, Philip Ayensu of TG Energy Solutions; $7 million (57%) was funded by a loan that was advanced by Cal Bank to another PDS shareholder, Santa Baron. However, this loan was repaid from operating cash flows, i.e electricity bills collected by PDS after the transfer date. The balance of $4.25 million (35%) was also paid directly from operating cash flows generated by PDS after the transfer date.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, these are the sad events that occasioned the PDS corruption scandal. However, the real tragedy of this scandal is summed up by these nagging questions which are begging for answers:
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, what we know is that as we speak, the perpetrators of the PDS scam are still walking the streets of Ghana as free men. Despite the fact that government itself described the transaction as fraudulent, no arrest or prosecutions have taken place till date.
The likes of Vice-President Dr. Bawumia, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and the Eson-Benjamin-led MiDA who aided and facilitated this scam which has occasioned the nation huge financial losses, have not been held to account for the roles they individually and jointly played in the scam.
Also, cronies of the President such as Mr. Philip Ayensu, an appointee of President Akufo Addo on the NCA Board, who was the Chairman of PDS and the Directors of the local partners in the company, who perpetrated what government itself alleges to be fraud on the people of Ghana, have all been left off the hook.
Even more bizarre and scandalous is the fact that till date, PDS, the Company made up of friends and cronies of President Akufo-Addo, who were gifted the GHS20 billion assets of ECG on the basis of a fraudulent Insurance Guarantee, and operated same for more than seven (7) months, have not been made to account for the over GHS1.5 billion they collected from electricity consumers during the period.
Also, all calls for the accounts of PDS to be audited by an independent and internationally reputable Audit firm have been ignored by President Akufo Addo. And so as we speak, Ghanaians do not even know how much was collected by PDS from electricity consumers within the duration of the concession, and whether those funds have been properly accounted for and audited.
Friends from the media, it is glaringly clear that President Akufo-Addo has no intention to pursue the prosecution of persons responsible for the PDS scam and the recovery of the millions of monies they collected from electricity consumers for the State.
We in the NDC, are not in the least surprised at the nonchalant posture of President Akufo-Addo on this matter. We have always known that President Akufo-Addo can neither be trusted to punish the perpetrators nor ensure that monies collected by PDS are refunded to the state because of he and his cronies are complicit and neck-deep In the scam.
Ladies and gentlemen, never in the history of Ghana have we seen this level of corruption and naked thievery like we are witnessing under the reign of President Akufo-Addo in the last three (3) and half years. Despite promising to protect the public purse, President Akufo Addo has supervised the biggest rape of the public pursue since he took office in 2017. This has led to a sad situation where millions of money, which should have gone into the provision of schools, hospitals, roads, potable drinking water, jobs and other critical investments in the productive sectors of the economy for the benefit of all Ghanaians, have been diverted into the pockets and bank accounts of a few selfish officials of the Akufo Addo-government, while the masses continue to suffer.
Friends from the media, these acts of naked robbery and the coverup of same by President Akufo-Addo, as pertains to the PDS scam, is what continues to entrench President Akufo-Addo as the “Chief Clearing Agent” of corruption, who shields his corrupt appointees from punishment. This is why we have always maintained, that President Akufo-Addo is the biggest enabler and promoter of corruption in his government. Today, the incorruptibility tag he was clothe with by his party and some elements in the media prior to the 2016 general elections, has turned out to be a ruse which was presented to Ghanaians for votes and nothing more.
Ghanaians should not and will never forgive President Akufo for supervising this stinking PDS scam which has caused the nation a huge financial loss of over US$1.8 billion, and the numerous corruption scandals that has engulfed his government in the last three (3) and half years. We call on the good people of Ghana to kick out the corrupt Akufo-Addo regime and vote for the John&Jane Ticket come 7th December, 2020. This country needs Leaders who are honest and incorruptible. And those are none other than H.E John Dramani Mahama and his running mate, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, who have dedicated themselves to serving this country with honor and integrity in all the positions they have individually served in.
As President Mahama has already announced, when he is given the opportunity to serve this country again on 7th January 2021, he shall wage a ruthless war against corruption in all sectors of the nation through a crusade dubbed “Operation Sting”.
Ghanaians can be rest assured, that under the “Operation Sting” crusade, the next NDC/Mahama government shall ensure that all monies (over GHS1.5 billion) collected by PDS from electricity consumers are properly accounted for, and ensure the retrieval of any amounts misappropriated by the company, their promoters and accomplices for the State. Also, the next NDC/Mahama government shall ensure the arrest and criminal prosecution of all persons who directly or indirectly played a role in the stinking PDS scam and the several other corruption scandals we have witnessed under the Akufo-Addo government.
As President Mahama demonstrated between 2012-2016, when he ensured the prosecution of his own appointees and party members in the YEA scandal involving Abuga Pele and Assibit, the National Service Secretariat Pay roll fraud scandal among others, President Mahama will not be a clearing agent of corruption in the next NDC government. Through the “Operation Sting” crusade, all appointees of the Next NDC/Mahama administration shall be required to publish their assets and no acts of corruption in any form, whether by Mahama appointees or political opponents will go unpunished. This is the only way, Ghana can succeed in the fight against corruption which has undoubtedly been the bane of the country’s development for a very long time.
President Mahama shall ensure the judicious utilization of state resources for the development of the country through far-reaching policies such as his “Agenda 1 million jobs” policy, Free Primary Health Care program, National Apprenticeship Program, free TVET program, the BIG PUSH policy which will inject some $10 billion into infrastructural projects to dualize key roads, complete the remainder of the 200 Community Day Senior High Schools, finish all abandoned hospital and road projects, among others, for the benefit of all Ghanaians.
Thank you for your attention.