President Nana Akufo-Addo has said, as part of his fight against corruption, his government, through the Attorney General, is prosecuting some high-profile persons for various offenses including fraud, economic crime, procurement breaches and money laundering.
Interestingly, similar cases have been raised against some of his appointees but he simply cleared them by either refusing to investigate or setting up a phony police probe which cleared the appointees claiming there were no evidence.
The US$1 million Kroll Associate contract saga involving the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo. A forensic investigation contract toward the criminal prosecution of some appointees of Mahama government was awarded under fraudulent circumstances to Kroll Associate by Osafo Marfo, but it failed to produce a single report to justify the huge payment.
Afraid of his rejection by Parliament, President Akufo-Addo rather made Osafo-Marfo, his senior advisor, not a minister. Before this, the Auditor General, Daniel Yaw Dormelevo, who was investigating the matter was removed from post on the basis of being overage. But KK Sarpong of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and Maxwell Kofi Jumah of GIHOC Distilleries who are his appointees, ages 68 and 71, are still at post.
Another notable case of corruption was the inflated Sputnik-V contract involving Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Dormaa Central.
The Health Minister had claimed he did not do due diligence before contracting a private office of one Emirati Sheikh, H.H Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum for 3.4 million doses of Sputnik V at a unit cost of $19.
The deal was uncovered by a Norwegian journalist, Markus Tobiassen, who works with tabloid Vergens Gan, to have been inflated by some $9 citing the ex-factory price of the vaccine as $10 but the President simply laughed off demands by many Ghanaians to sack the Health Minister.
He rather granted him two weeks leave. He later took him on a regional tour of the Bono Region.
Speaking in the Bono Region on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, during his two-day tour of the region, President Akufo-Addo said, “There are a lot of people from the Bono Region in my government; including the Minister of Health, who is currently receiving slaps [from Ghanaians]. He is an indigene of Dormaa. He has really suffered in that Health Ministry and is still suffering,” he said amid laughter.
That was the last time anyone heard about that incident from him, and Kwaku Agyeman-Manu is still at post.
There is yet another incident of corruption; the “Contract for sale” saga involving the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Adjenim Boateng Adjei who was eventually sacked by President Akufo-Addo over allegations he was getting government contract from state institutions and selling them out.
Adjenim Boateng Adjei, the man who was supposed to be strict on appointees in the award of the state contracts and ensure that the government got value for money, had set up a company which also got some of these jobs and sold them to other companies at various sums.
He was merely sacked by the President but no prosecution yet, and it doesn’t look like it is ever going to happen.
Speaking at the National Anti-Corruption Conference on Friday, 10 December 2021, President Akufo-Addo said the Office of the Attorney General and the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), in addition to the countless cases being prosecuted around the country, have successfully prosecuted a number of high-profile cases, including a case of stealing in the Republic vs. Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie & Others.
“Many other high-profile prosecutions involving corruption, economic crime, fraud, procurement breaches and money laundering, like the Republic vs. Alhaji Collins Dauda & 4 Others in the Saglemi Scandal; Republic vs. Ernest Thompson & Others; Republic vs. Dr Kwabena Duffuor & Others; Republic vs. Stephen Opuni & Others, are ongoing. It is worthy to note that these cases have, as their sole object, the principle of holding public officers to account, and involve sums in excess of $850 million and GH₵2 billion,” he added.
The President also said the Attorney General, on behalf of the government, is currently leading the effort to enact a law on the conduct of public officers.
He said, “inasmuch as public officials are required to declare their assets upon taking office as a tool of fighting corruption, I am, however, of the candid opinion that existing legislation on corruption, relating to the conduct of public officers in Ghana, appears to be inadequate to deal extensively with public office accountability.”
According to the president, “the need to lay down a set of far-reaching and a more fit for purpose set of regulations for the conduct of public officers, which will give effect to the provisions of Chapter 24 of the Constitution on conduct of public officers, is, in my view, now self-evident”.
To this end, he revealed that the Attorney General, over the past four months, has undertaken various stakeholder consultations with a number of public sector organizations, civil society and other interest groups to this end.
When passed into law, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the Conduct of Public Officers Act will follow the example of legislation in other jurisdictions like the United States Ethics in Government Act of 1978, Public Officers Ethics Act of Kenya, and the U.K. Constitutional and Governance Act of 2010, in addressing issues regarding financial portfolios held by public officers before assuming public office, links to family business, improper enrichment, care of public property, professional practices, property, investments/shareholdings and other assets, self-dealing, partiality in the performance of duties, use of public or confidential information to further private interest, amongst others.
“The Bill provides a gamut of stringent administrative measures and sanctions to deal with violations of the law, ranging from a bar against holding public office for limited and indefinite periods to penal measures. The Bill also seeks to strengthen the role of CHRAJ in the investigation of allegations of contravention of or non-compliance with the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, including conflict of interest, non-declaration of assets, and illicit enrichment,” the President added.
Updating the Conference about some of the important contributions of the Office of Attorney General in the detection and prosecution of high-profile corruption cases, as well as in the protection of the public purse, the President acknowledged that the state’s tight purse is very much affected by the award of judgment debts, in various unconscionable transactions.
“The recent example of a financial house claiming payment of interest of some GH¢1.3 billion after 11 years, from a transaction involving a meager GH¢268,000 in 2008, even after the state had already paid some GH¢79 million, comes to mind”.
“Through the effort of the Attorney General, the Supreme Court declared further payment as unlawful, saving the State some two hundred and thirty million dollars (US$230 million),” he said.
He also told the gathering about how, on 31 July 2021, the Attorney General succeeded in setting aside a judgment debt in excess of US$15.3 million imposed by the High Court, Kumasi, in an action arising out of the activities of the erstwhile Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining about two years ago.