A subculture of endemic corruption is festering at the Bureau of Ghana Languages (BGL), where government’s nonchalance, has emboldened staff there to their own devices and created a free-for-all climate of impunity.
The Bureau, which functions as custodian of local Ghanaian languages, staffs are allegedly diverting translation contracts to themselves and giving their services to private language translating companies for money, while drawing salaries from the state.
The situation is said to degenerate to the extent that some of the staff, have allegedly become tin gods, using the offices of the BGL as personal homes, while the agency’s Kawokudi office, has illegally been connected to the national electricity grid.
Sources have revealed that, most translation contracts brought to the agency, which is a unique publishing house of the state under the National Commission on Culture, are diverted from the agency by corrupt staff, who entice prospective clients with fat rebates in exchange for them, agreeing to have a private company, rather than the BGL, to do the translation.
What the staff do is that, after a prospective client of the BGL approaches them with a contract to have a material translated from an international language, especially English, into any local language, the prospective client is given a bill.
Per sources, the billing categories are three based on whether the language is very technical, semi technical or ordinary.
In the case of the language being technical, a quotation of Gh¢300 per page is made to the client. Ghc220 per page is quoted as the price for a semi-technical translation and Ghc150, is quoted as price where the language is deemed to be ordinary.
The amount quoted per page is then multiplied by the number of pages involved and the bill given to the prospective client.
Usually, the bill is very high and leads to the clients pleading for rebates. This is the stage where the corrupt BGL staff get the opportunity to divert the contract to themselves.
At this point, they suggest to the client that the same amount of work could be done at a private company at half the price than the BGL would charge. This way, the client is led away from using the service of the BGL.
Ongoing investigation, has thrown up the name of a popular private translation company called, Gilbert as the main scooper of BGL contracts through the BGL’s own corrupt staff. Many of the corrupt staff allegedly divert the BGL’s contracts there and receive fat cuts in return.
The same Gilbert is allegedly the company, where many BGL staff work on part time basis, while remaining on the payroll of the BGL.
Allegedly, a culture of taking long leaves at the BGL, has become second nature to staff, who frequently apply for these long leaves, just so they can work at Gilbert for extra money.
Through the corrupt diversion of contracts from the BGL, these treacherous staff, have diverted millions of cedis from the state.
According to sources, all this is going on at the blindside of the government which has just abandoned the BGL. Some of the staff, have even turned some of the offices of the Bureau into their private homes.
One such staff, Joseph Avunya, allegedly uses his office as a live-in apartment, together with his wife. As he is said to be one of the oldest workers there, he has allegedly leveraged his ancient status to impose himself as some important factor, whom even the BGL’s Acting Managing Director (MD), Mr Peter Essien, cannot confront.
Sources at the GBL, have also named Adjacent Apraku, Fredrick Frimpong Baafi and Moses Applerh, as some staff, who need to be seriously investigated for their nefarious activities. Neither the Acting Director nor any of the staff has been available for comment.
Meanwhile, The Herald, can report on authority that the Kawokudi head office of the agency was last week plunged into darkness due to power cuts by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
Allegedly,ECG disconnected the place after discovering that the BGL, had been illegally connected to its grid.
Due to the disconnection, staff of the agency, have since been operating from a veranda that they have converted into a makeshift office.
BGL, is an agency in charge of local Ghanaian languages, eleven (11) of which are currently under its focus. It also functions uniquely as a government publishing house.
Since December 1989, the Bureau, has been a department under the National Commission on Culture and has been involved in the educational and cultural efforts of the state.
Government has not particularly given it attention to the agency over the years, leading to the development of an atmosphere of corruption and impunity.