The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has dared former President John Mahama to take to the office of the special prosecutor, whatever evidence of corruption he claims to have against the Akufo-Addo government so that investigations could be launched into them even as he is in opposition, rather than wait to come to power to ensure accountability, as he recently suggested during his Thank You tour.
“The NPP have no intention of fighting corruption and, so, the only way they can be made to account to the people of Ghana is for them to leave office so that the new government will come and audit them and show where they have gone wrong”, Mr Mahama said during his tour of the Upper West Region, warning: “Otherwise, all the money they have stolen, they will just walk away with it”.
“If you participate in politics or are a participant in public service, one of the first things you must be willing to do is to be accountable to the people”, he said.
“The only way they could be accountable is for them to leave office so that the people of Ghana can ask them questions and audit them to make sure they account for the period they were in office”, Mr Mahama said.
Earlier, Mr Mahama said the Akufo-Addo-led administration has refused to account for how some GHS19 billion of the COVID-19 relief fund was spent despite several calls on the government to do so.
According to Mr Mahama, the money the government said it spent to ease the suffering of Ghanaians due to the pandemic is “laughable.”
He said since the government has refused to audit the account, it will take another government to do so and make them account to the people of Ghana.
Speaking to the media in Tamale, as part of his ‘Thank You’ tour of the Northern Region, Mr Mahama said: “We suggested that the auditor-general should audit how COVID-19 funds were used because remember they took $200 million out of the stabilisation fund, then they got $1 billion from the IMF, $400 million from the World Bank and other monies used for COVID relief and when you have taken such public monies, you must account for it.”
“When you spend public money, you must be audited and, so, we asked for an audit of the COVID relief, unfortunately, the auditor-general was hounded out of office but the finance minister came to parliament and gave us an overall picture of much they spent and he said GHS19 billion was spent on COVID relief”, Mr Mahama noted.
Every Ghanaian, he said, “wants to know how that GHS19 billion was spent and it is obvious that this government is not interested in auditing that fund.”
According to the 2020 flag bearer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), it will take a new government to come and audit and say: ‘You said you spent GHS19 billion, how was the GHS19 billion spent?’”
“They say they fed how many people, for how many days? When we saw the figure for which they said they spent money providing food, it was just laughable; that’s why I say there must be accountability after every period of time and the only person that can hold them accountable is if a new dispensation comes and says: ‘How did you spend this? Explain it to the people of Ghana’; otherwise, then the intention is to go beyond eight years and sweep all this misspending under the carpet and give an easy pass to people who have made money illegally from the coffers of the people of Ghana.”
Mr Mahama noted that the government has used COVID-19 as an excuse for a lot of things, including the “current hardships that we face.”
The NPP, however, said at a press conference addressed by General Secretary John Boadu on Thursday, 26 August 2021 that Mr Mahama is a pot calling the kettle black.
“Former President Mahama asserts without proof that the NPP has stolen Ghana’s money and that he can ensure accountability through elections”.
“Is that the same Mahama whose government signed onto a half-baked contract of $1.2 billion for the Ghana Retail Payments Systems Infrastructure?” he asked, adding: “Sibton Switch Systems Ltd has just lost an arbitration demand for $478 million from Ghana for revoking that agreement”.
“The Akufo-Addo administration did a far more enhanced project for only $4.5 million”, Mr Boadu said.
According to him, “the NPP government saved the country billions of dollars which have helped the government channel resources into projects like Free SHS, Planting for Food and Job, 1D1F, etc.”
In his view, Mr Mahama’s involvement in many corruption cases robs him of the moral right to declare himself incorruptible.
“We all know that unlike President Akufo-Addo, candidate John Mahama cannot and has not been able to make any bold statement to tout his incorruptibility because of his personal involvement in a lot of the corruption scandals that plagued his administration,” he stated.
“In any event”, Mr Boadu added: “As a former President, Mahama does not have to wait to deal with corruption”.
“He knows the institutions within the government responsible for investigation and prosecution”.
“He can report his so-called evidence of corruption allegations about the NPP to any of the enforcement agencies that Ghana can boast off, including the Special Prosecutor that he, Mahama, has advised to be independent,” Mr Boadu challenged.