Good morning distinguished friends from the media. I welcome you with much gratitude to today’s press briefing which is the sixteenth edition of our weekly press briefing on key issues bordering on the governance and development of our dear nation.
Today’s encounter has been occasioned by the need to continue to add our voices to those of many patriotic sons and daughters of our land, many in Civil Society and indeed all who are concerned about the alarming proportions of corruption, unprecedented nepotism and grand thievery that has defined the Presidency of Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo over the last four years.
Indeed, one of such cases of nepotistic thievery, is the now infamous “Agyapa” Royalties deal which continues to hang like an albatross on the neck of President Akufo-Addo and his corrupt government.
Only last week, the Special Prosecutor released a report of a Corruption Risk Assessment that his office has carried out on the Agyapa deal. Suffice it to say, that the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin A.B.K Amidu found nothing new or novel to that which we in the NDC have always known, and believed this Agyapa deal to be.
The NDC and several patriotic Civil Society Organizations such as IMANI, ISODEC, PIAC, ASEPA, the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), IDEG, the Coalition of CSOs on the Extractive Sector, among several others, have long maintained, that the “Agyapa” deal is a bad deal for Ghana and that, it was only a matter of time for the stench from this criminal enterprise called “Agyapa” to become obvious to everyone.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have long held the position that the “Agyapa” deal was fraught with illegalities and driven by corruption, cronyism and sheer greed, all in furtherance of the state-capture agenda of President Akufo-Addo.
These were the very reasons why the NDC Minority in Parliament boycotted the approval of the deal when it was brought before the august House of Parliament.
Indeed, the leader and Flag-bearer of the NDC, and the next President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E John Dramani Mahama is on record to have served notice that he will abrogate the deal when elected.
And the entire NDC, have vehemently opposed what we considered to be a corrupt deal, cooked within the corridors of power for the benefit of a few greedy family relatives of President Akufo Addo, at the expense of the State. These issues that we in the NDC have constantly raised relative to the “Agyapa” deal, are what the Special Prosecutor has come to confirm.
The Corruption Risk Assessment conducted on the “Agyapa” scandal by the Special Prosecutor confirms our long-held position that the whole Agyapa deal is daylight robbery.
As found by the OSP, the transaction processes and Mandate Agreement violated the Public Procurement Act, the Financial Management Act, and the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, hence null and void.
As a matter of fact, the processes leading to the transaction agreements and Mandate Agreement were shady, opaque, and fraught with procurement rigging, stonewalling, fraud, statutory and constitutional breaches.
The valuation of our gold royalties and transaction agreements that President Akufo-Addo and his corrupt New Patriotic Party approved was a ripoff and an affront to the sovereignty of our dear nation.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the OSP has found, that the Mandate Agreement under which billions of cedis have been paid to companies like Databank, which is owned by the President’s cousin and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta; African Legal Associates, which is owned by another cousin of President Akufo-Addo, Gabby Otchere Darko and their foreign partners, are illegal and therefore null and void.
What Ghanaians must be interested in at this stage, are the steps the Akufo-Addo government is taking to retrieve the illegal payments that they have made to these companies. This is because you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand.
If the agreements under which these companies were made are null and void, then so are the payments made thereto, hence must be refunded to the State.
Friends from the media, the NDC is appalled by the refusal of President Akufo-Addo to crack the whip on the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta who supervised this daylight heist, and his Deputy, Charles Adu Boahen, who fraudulently signed the Mandate Agreement when he had no locus to do so under our laws.
It is sad but unsurprising, that these government officials who are responsible for the shady Agyapa deal which has occasioned a huge financial loss to the nation, are still at post.
In any serious country, Ken Ofori Atta and Charles Adu Boahen would have been suspended pending criminal investigations or under criminal prosecution by now. Sadly, in our case, President Akufo-Addo has decided to shield these corrupt officials from punishment, as he usually does.
We must state without any equivocation, that the attitude of President Akufo-Addo who has earned the unenviable reputation of being the “Chief Corruption Clearing Agent”, does not come as a surprise to us in the NDC.
This is exactly what nepotism does to a country. It completely blinds leaders and weakens their ability to crack the whip on their errant and corrupt appointees.
We are therefore not surprised that President Akufo-Addo has not shown any interest whatsoever, in punishing his corrupt officials who have been found culpable in this Agyapa imbroglio and retrieving billions of taxpayers monies that have been paid under the shady deal.
President Akufo-Addo has time and again, proven to be the chief enabler and promoter of corruption in his government.
He has continuously defended and shielded his corrupt officials from punishment since he took office as was witnessed in the BOSTGATE corruption scandal, PDS scandal, Missing excavators scandal, Australian VISA fraud scandal, just to mention a few.
Indeed, the fact that President Akufo Addo himself blessed this shady “Agyapa” deal from the beginning and continues to affirm his confidence in his cousin the Finance Minister, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of corruption against him, speaks to his complicity in this whole “Agyapa” scam.
The evidence shows that President Akufo-Addo, was the very person who approved the stinking Agyapa deal and supervised the illegal payments made to companies owned by his cousins and their cronies, in flagrant violation of our laws and against the national interest.
President Akufo-Addo was the chief mastermind and promoter of the shady Agyapa deal, hence cannot be trusted to bring his accomplices like Ken Ofori Atta and Charles Adu Boahen to book.
This is why we in the NDC, continue to take on President Akufo-Addo by exposing the pervasive cronyism and nepotism that he has been superintending over. Nepotism and corruption are inseparable bedfellows. Nepotism will always breed corruption.
With his family and friends occupying various key positions within this government and the state machinery, it goes without saying that President Akufo-Addo lacks the moral high ground to stem the tide of corruption and malfeasance that have engulfed his government.
President Akufo Addo and his government can never recover from the embarrassment that this “Agyapa” deal has brought to them.
Indeed, many were those in this government, including their surrogates who defended this fraud in the face of overwhelming evidence, that this vehicle called “Agyapa” was one vitiated with cronyism and illegality.
The NPP Majority caucus in Parliament used their numbers to railroad illegality in support of the family and friends’ cabal at the helm of affairs today. Now, here we are, with President Akufo-Addo yet again trying to shift blame, by shamelessly directing the deal to go back to Parliament.
Why should a bill which emanated from the Executive and passed unanimously by the majority caucus in Parliament, now be portrayed as though it was an error of judgement on the part of Parliament? Friends, we are sorry to disappoint President Akufo-Addo, but there is absolutely no way he can exculpate himself from blame in this “Agyapa” matter.
Friends from the media, we wish to submit forcefully, that the findings of Procurement rigging, fraud, potential money laundering and corruption, among others, border on serious offenses that cannot be remedied by any Parliamentary review of the deal as is being urged on us by President Akufo-Addo.
These issues can only and must be addressed through the criminal justice system of this country. The Special Prosecutor ought to be reminded that he is mandated by law to investigate and prosecute among other offenses, breaches of the Public Procurement Law, and the other offenses he has uncovered through his investigations into this Agyapa scam.
The OSP must conduct criminal investigations into this matter and ensure that anyone who directly or indirectly played any role in this Agyapa scam, faces the full rigors of the law. That is the only way we can salvage the failing fight against corruption in our country.
Ladies and Gentlemen, is it not intriguing and most bizarre, that President Akufo-Addo in his official response to the verdict of the Special Prosecutor, urged the nation to defer proceedings on this “Agyapa” daylight robbery until after the upcoming elections?
Why does the President want this bad deal to be revived in the unlikely event he wins the upcoming election? To all intents and purposes, ladies and gentlemen, President Akufo-Addo has not given up on the Agyapa deal, neither is he a man who is interested in safeguarding state resources and promoting the collective good of the Ghanaian people.
He doesn’t care about you and I. All our President dreams about, is four more years to steal more; four more years to promote cronyism and shady nepotistic deals like the Agyapa deal; and four more years to advance his family’s rape of the nation’s resources.
Colleagues from the media, this must stop somewhere. Our nation cannot continue with this kind of leadership. President Akufo Addo and the NPP cannot be trusted with another mandate to handle the affairs of this country. Ghanaians can simply not afford four more years of such grand, calculated stealing of our resources.
On 7th December, the Ghanaian people will remember that “Agyapa” still remains a fraudulent vehicle that Akufo-Addo and his cronies in government are hellbent on using to control our gold royalties in perpetuity.
Ghanaians will remember how President Akufo Addo and his cousins cooked up this whole Agyapa scam for themselves and their cronies. President Akufo-Addo has proven beyond every doubt, that he is a FAMILY BUILDER and not a NATION BUILDER.
And we know without a shudder of doubt, that Ghanaians will kick him out on 7th December and vote for the visionary Nation Builder, John Dramani Mahama to come and create prosperity for all and not a select few and restore our beloved country back to the path of development and true progress.
The NDC hereby demands, that President Akufo retrieves for the state the billions of cedis his government has illegally paid under the shady “Agyapa” deal to Databank, which is owned by his cousin and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta; African Legal Associates, which is owned by another cousin of his, Gabby Otchere Darko; and their foreign compradors, within the next 7 days, failing which the NDC and other like-minded progressive forces, shall embark on series of protest and legal actions to ensure that every pesewa paid to these companies are refunded back to the State for nation building.
Finally, we must serve notice, that this “Agyapa” scam, like other similar corrupt acts of the Akufo-Addo government, will not go unpunished. We have just about twenty-seven days to Vote for Change like the Americans have done.
The new government of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama and the NDC “Insha Allah”, shall investigate this “Agyapa” robbery and punish all the culprits and masterminds behind it through the Operation Sting crusade. Let it be known that crime has no expiry date. It is just a matter of time.
Thank you for your attention.