Ongoing investigation into the corrupt activities of the clique of core staff at the Bureau of Ghana Languages (BGL) has finally burrowed into the heart of their operations and produced a smoking gun.
Adwoa Apraku, the head of the Asante Twi section of the BGL, has been caught live on tape intercepting a prospective client of the Bureau and diverting a translation contract that the client had brought to the BGL, to her private company.
Her company, ‘Favoured One Publications,’ scooped the BGL and got to translate a 24 page book for the client (name withheld) at a price of GHC2, 200 in September, last year.
The GHc2, 200 is a beat-down of GHc4,800 that the client would have paid to the BGL for the same job, if the Bureau’s own head of the Asante Twi section, had not intercepted him and offered him the diversionary alternative.
This heavy cost slashing method, allegedly, has been used for a very long time by Madam Adwoa Apraku and five other collaborators at the BGL, to divert millions away from the agency which even though ought to be generating huge sums of money for the state, has been subsisting on government subvention.
The tape that captures Adwoa Apraku in the process of one of her numerous diversion escapades was secretly recorded after it became clear that the endemic corruption at the BGL deserved to be captured live to provide more context to the rot at the Bureau.
On the tape, the prospective client approaches the Client Service Desk of the BGL and enquires about a translation job that he wanted the BGL to do for him. Adwoa Apraku who receives him then gives him the Bureau’s standard charge of ghc200 per page. At that rate, the 24 page material that the client wanted translated would cost ghc4, 800.
However, Madam Apraku offers him the alternative in which the client would rather pay ghc120 per page so that the contract would be done privately at Madam Apraku’s company instead of the BGL. At ghc120 per page, the 24 page book that the client had asked to be translated would cost him ghc2, 400. However, after warming up to the woman, she beats down the price further and offers to do it privately for ghc2, 200.
The BGL Head of Asante Twi section is heard in the tape, after receiving a down payment of ghc300, explaining that even though she would eventually issue a receipt to cover the work, the work would not receive the stamp of the BGL.
“This one I am doing it on private basis, so you won’t get a (BGL) stamp. Next time when you bring work and you want it official (for BGL to do), I will take you to those in charge, they will charge it, bring it to the sections – that’s the formality, you will bring it, write the letter…this one you haven’t been given anything official have you? So this one is not official work, I will take it home and do it privately. So this one, I cannot put Bureau of Ghana Languages stamp on it,” Adwoa Apraku is captured saying.
According to her, the criminal diversion of the BGL job was a favor that she was doing the client whom she said would have waited in queue for a long time because of a huge backlog of works at the Bureau, if he had taken the proper official route.
Madam Adwoa Apraku, also makes it clear that the backlog that she was talking about was an intentional one, boasting that as head of the Asante Twi section of the BGL, the work would have come to her anyway. “Whether official or private, Asante Twi, I will do it…” she said advising the client that his decision to do it privately was the smart one.
The woman had gone on to encourage the client to subsequently bring more jobs to her so that she can do them privately, advising that in subsequent transactions, she would prefer for the money she charges to be remitted to her through mobile money transfer.
It would be recalled that Adwoa Apraku, is one of the ring leaders of a clique of core staff at the BGL, who have been diverting contracts from the state agency. Together with her husband, who is also her Deputy at the Asante Twi section of the BGL, Fredrick Frimpong Baafi, they have led the gang which has diverted millions from the state.
The rest of the gang include; Moses Aplerh, Head of the Ga Section, Joseph Avunya, assistant officer at the Ewe section and Charles Awuku Akuffo, Graphics Artist at the Bureau. They act together and divert contracts from the BGL to themselves.
Where the contract is not for the translation of work into Asante Twi, the gang diverts it to either, Joseph Avunya or Moses Aplerh, depending on whether the work is a translation into Ewe or Ga.
Indeed in the tape capturing Adwoa Apraku, diverting the contract, a supposed Ga version of the same work that the client had proposed to translate from English was diverted to a man that Adwoa Apraku called Nii (suspected to be Aplerh).
On the tape, Adwoa Apraku informs the client that Nii was on leave, but then calls him on phone to inform him about the translation job the client had brought, before collecting a ghc300 down payment on behalf of Nii, which she sends to him via mobile money. The client is then encouraged to subsequently negotiate with Nii too for a possible beat down of the price for translation of the Ga version of the work.
This way, the gang has been diverting millions from the Bureau over the years. As we have already reported, the festering corruption there came about because of lack of attention from government. For 12 years, the BGL had not had a Board leaving the staff there to their own devices.
The sweetness of the free range corruption at the Bureau which serves as custodian of Ghana’s local languages, has since motivated the clique there to protect their interest against a new Board that President Akufo-Addo recently appointed for the place.
Allegedly, the clique has done everything to undermine the Board which even though is said to be desirous of bringing changes there, has not been able to do so because of the clique.
As for the Acting Director of the place, Peter Essien, he is said to be scared that his non-substantive status, may easily slip into a demotion, if he takes on the gang.