29 November 2012

Ghana: The Mess At GIPC


Mr. George Aboagye, Chief Executive of the Ghana Investment Promotions Centre (GIPC), is reported to have tendered in his resignation after failing to explain to his Board members why he approved, and indeed, gave a cheque for GH¢4,000, signed and delivered to one of the several spurious groups oiled by state money, to promote the campaign of President John Dramani Mahama, to return to Government House as Head of State of this Republic.

According to an official statement signed by Mr. Ishmael Yamson, Chairman of the Board, and released in Accra yesterday, Mr. Aboagye has apologised to President Mahama and the Board for the embarrassment his action has caused them.

The Chronicle cannot be fooled by this smokescreen of a resignation, nor are we impressed by the Mahama Campaign Team's statement calling on the so-called volunteers to return the cheque immediately.

The dole-out to the Volunteers for Mahama, we dare state, could not be an isolated case. We dare state that it is the practice by which the campaign has been oiled by state money, through third party donations.

The hundreds of Hyundai i10, popularly known in local parlance as 'Atta Camboo', given out to students for free on the various campuses in Ghana, some so horribly young that they need instructors to take the vehicles around, were certainly not purchased from the resources of a political party that could not even pay its telephone and electricity bills barely four years ago.

Neither are we impressed that NDC candidates like Ras Mubarak, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa and haughty Fifi Kwetey, who are competing among themselves to erect the biggest and most flambouyant billboards this country has ever known in its political arena, are financing them from their pay pockets. Many of these contenders were not known to have held any job of significance before being thrust into frontline politics.

We dare state that the NDC is playing games with state funds, and that the happening at GIPC is only a bit of the manifestations of what is happening to the state purse. No matter, whatever gloss the GIPC Board puts over the circumstances leading to the departure of the centre's Chief Executive, the ordinary Ghanaian cannot be fooled by the internal wrangling that led to Mr. George Aboagye's departure.

It tells a lot about our national politics that someone who could have been forced to resign over such a scandalous misapplication of state funds is going to contest for the 2012 elections. Mr. George Aboagye is representing the NDC in the Ahanta West Constituency.

If the NDC is serious about fighting corruption, the party would have to stop Mr. Aboagye from entering Parliament on the ticket of the party.

In the interim, the GIPC Board Chairman has to tell Ghanaians why his press statement was silent on what was intended to be his GH¢20,000 birthday booty. Mr. Yamson's explanation the other day that he ordered the money to be returned, on learning of it from his children, is not convincing enough.

Is the Board Chairman inferring that Board members are kept in the dark about huge payments from GIPC funds? If he deemed it worrying enough to return his booty, what action has he and his board taken against those who took the decision to dole-out such a huge amount of money without the Board's approval?

The Chronicle believes Mr. Ishmael Yamson has more to do to clear his name than has been done so far.

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