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Double salary saga:list of former ministers presented to Attorney General

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has finally submitted a docket of all former National Democratic Congress (NDC) to the office of the Attorney General (AG) for auditing.

According to sources, the AG will soon take action on the issue which has generated a lot of controversy in recent times.

The List

The former ministers, mostly NDC members are likely to face criminal prosecution except otherwise proven not guilty.

Some of the former ministers investigated by the CID are Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, MP for Ellembelle and former Minister of Energy and Petroleum; Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, MP for Kpone Katamanso, who was the former Greater Accra Regional Minister, as well as former Minister of State in-Charge of Social and Allied Institutions; Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah, who is NDC MP for Ada East.

ABA Fuseini, NDC MP for Sagnerigu and former Deputy Minister, Northern Region, have also written their statements.

Others are Second Deputy Minority Chief Whip, Eric Opoku, who is NDC MP for Asunafo South and former Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister; Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, a former Minister of Transport and NDC MP for Ketu South; Abdul Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, a former Minister of State at the presidency and MP for Wa Central and Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, a former Central Regional Minister and former MP for Mfantseman West.

The rest are Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, former Minister of Youth and Sports, who doubles as current opposition NDC MP for Odododiodioo; Alhassan Azong, former Minister of State in-charge of Public Sector Reforms and former People’s National Convention MP for Builsa South Constituency; as well as Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, who served as Deputy Attorney General under President John Mahama.

They were also at the CID Headquarters for interrogation.

The Special Prosecutor, Martin A.B.K. Amidu, has already given his tacit support to the probe undertaken by the CID.

Indication

In a recent interview on Citi FM, the former Attorney General, Mr. Amidu, indicated that his former colleagues have fallen contrary to the law and  should not go unpunished.

“Indeed, that (double salary) is an offence of abuse of office for private gain,” he said without mincing words, before revealing that he also received double payments when he served as minister during the NDC government but added that he returned the excess money to the government.

Specific Charge

The CID has said officially that the alleged double salaries saga “is contrary to Section 124 (1) of the Criminal and other Offences Act 1960 (Act 29), as amended in 2012 (Act 849). Section 124 relates to the offence of stealing.”

Some of the MPs involved have been interrogated by the CID and granted police enquiry bail, but there is some form of uncertainty has to whether the Special Prosecutor’s Office will be handling the case should the Attorney General’s Department decide to charge the culprits for court.

Some of the former ministers have admitted to collecting double pay while others claim it was a top up.

Strangely, the two salaries from Parliament and presidency handled by the Controller and Accountant General were paid into separate accounts raising questions about the ‘top up’ claim.

Patriotic Duty

“Money was ever paid into my account. When my bank notified me, I told them to return it because that is not what me and the Attorney General agreed on,” he confirmed.

“I could have kept it. This is what they should have done,” Mr. Amidu had said.

“You don’t keep the money for six months, one year, two years or three years, you’ve left office, one and half years, you’ve not made any efforts to return it. Then when the CID begins seeing it now, you are rationalizing it and yet when the ordinary man takes plantain one bunch, he goes to jail for 15 years. So what is the political elite telling us?” the Special Prosecutor fired.

He did not agree with those who insist that the double payment to government appointees is an old age problem in the country, saying “if it’s been happening since 1992 and no one has seen it, now it has been seen; those responsible should bear the consequence.”

Conscience To Prosecute

Mr. Amidu said as Special Prosecutor, he would not have the conscience to prosecute ordinary Ghanaians if the double salary matter is not dealt with appropriately.

“Why should a Special Prosecutor be prosecuting ordinary Ghanaians while “honourables” involved in similar acts will be talking to the president to wash it up. Then I have no need sitting here. I won’t even have the conscience to continue.”

“Will I have the conscience to prosecute any other body for corruption if the CID finds something prosecutable and are not allowed to prosecute because Members of Parliament are involved? That is not fair,” he added.

Background

The whole scandal was triggered by an audit of the payroll data from the office of the President and Parliament from 2012 through 2016 and it showed that certain former ministers doubling as MPs who at various points also served as ministers or deputy ministers, received double salaries at least once a month or throughout the four-year tenure under review.

From 2012 to 2016 when the NDC was booted out of office, some of the appointees were captured in all the data collated as having received double salaries throughout the period.

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