The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is calling for an anti-nepotism law to prevent the president from appointing close relatives into government.
This call follows what it says is the institutionalism of nepotism under the Akufo-Addo government.
At a news conference addressed by the NDC’s National Communication Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, the party listed over 15 family members of the President appointed to key positions in government to buttress its point.
This, Mr Gyamfi said, was enough attestation that indeed President Akufo-Addo has given true meaning to nepotism by surrounding himself with a plethora of family members, friends, loved ones including his former lovers all in furtherance of his State-capture agenda.
“Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government is the most nepotistic government in the 62-year history of Ghana and we dare say, the world. Even Idi Amin Dada – the Butcher of Uganda, Jean-Bedel Bokassa and Mobutu Sese Seko – the looter of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) will envy President Akufo-Addo’s unprecedented brand of nepotism and clannism,” he said.
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A MOMENT OF TRUTH PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE UNPRECEDENTED NEPOTISM UNDER PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO, ADDRESSED BY THE NATIONAL COMMUNICATION OFFICER OF THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS (NDC), COMRADE SAMMY GYAMFI.
Tuesday, 5th November 2019
Good morning to you all, distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the press. On behalf of the National Democratic Congress, I welcome you to the Sixth edition of the Moment of Truth series. As always, we thank you for honouring this invitation despite your busy schedules.
These regular engagements, afford us the opportunity to critically assess the performance of the deceptive and corrupt Akufo-Addo government in all areas of our national life – by separating truths from lies, facts from fiction, and good governance from bad governance in order to help Ghanaians demand accountability from their duty bearers.
Friends from the media, this afternoon, we shall discuss a very important subject. One that is not only critical to good governance, but also fundamental to the fight against corruption. We shall talk about nepotism – The ongoing Family and Friends governance of President Akufo-Addo and its disastrous effects on Ghana.
Simply defined, nepotism is the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. The practice is considered to be unethical, largely due to its conflict with the values of fairness and good governance. In governance, nepotism is even more dangerous due to its potential to compromise transparency and the fight against corruption as we have seen under this Akufo-Addo government.
Friends from the media, after our meticulous investigations into appointments made by President Akufo-Addo since the year 2017, we submit that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government is the most nepotistic government in the sixty-two-year history of Ghana and we dare say, the world. Even Idi Amin Dada – the Butcher of Uganda, Jean-Bedel Bokassa and Mobutu Sese Seko – the looter of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) will envy President Akufo-Addo’s unprecedented brand of nepotism and clannism.
CANDIDATE AKUFO-ADDO’s FALSE ALLEGATION AGAINST PRESIDENT MAHAMA AND HIS FAKE PROMISE IN 2016
Members of the inky fraternity, it is important at this stage to give a brief historical context to this whole discussion about nepotism.
You may recall, that at an NPP Delegates Conference in Kumasi on Saturday, 17 January, 2016, then Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo, made a solemn promise to the people of Ghana that, “I will not operate a family and friends’ government.” At that meeting, the NPP leader chided then President John Mahama for running what he called “a family and friends’ government,” and promised that should he win power, he will not operate same.
It is instructive to note, that at the time the current President was accusing former President Mahama of running a family and friends’ government, the NDC government, then, had only one appointee with any form of familial relations with the former President. That appointee was Hon. Joyce Bawa Mogtari (former Deputy Minister of Transport and a distant cousin to the former President).
Despite this notorious fact which was known to candidate Akufo-Addo, so loud were the accusations of nepotism against the erstwhile NDC administration, that Prof. Stephen Adei (a friend of Akufo-Addo, former Rector of GIMPA and now Chairman of the NDPC) had cause to accuse former President Mahama of running a government full of what he called “northerners”.
Distinguished friends from the media, as fate will have it, the man who accused the decent NDC administration of nepotism, now occupies the highest office of the land, and has a chance to keep his own vow made to Ghanaians in 2016. And what do we see? His promise not to operate a family and friends’ government now lies in tatters; trampled upon with indescribable contempt.
NEPOTISM: A DELIBERATE POLICY UNDER PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO
Indeed, contrary to his campaign promise, President Akufo-Addo has normalized the culture of nepotism in his government. He has given true meaning to nepotism by surrounding himself with a plethora of family members, friends, loved ones including his former lovers all in furtherance of his state-capture agenda.
President Akufo-Addo has equated his powers conferred on him by the 1992 Constitution to hire and fire, to mean excessively and capriciously dispensing generosity to family, friends, kinsmen and loved ones. With flippant abuse of his powers and privileges as President of Ghana, he has appointed such people into various juicy positions in his government in a way never seen in the history of this country.
Similarly, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and other key government functionaries have also joined the President in this race to the bottom. Taking a cue from their boss, they have joined the nepotistic practice of abusing the power to appoint to satisfy their families and friends.
Ladies and gentlemen, our checks have revealed that there are over fifty (50) persons in the Akufo-Addo government, whose appointments can be related to their families, friends, business or close connections to Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr Bawumia, their Ministers and other appointees. This unprecedented but unenviable practice injures good governance, and breeds corruption.
Ladies and Gentlemen, below are but a few of the examples which demonstrate the classic and unprecedented nepotism that President Akufo-Addo is presiding over.
THE CLASSIC EXAMPLES OF NEPOTISM UNDER PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, among Akufo-Addo’s uncountable relatives in government is Nana Asante Bediatuo, his cousin from Kyebi, who serves as his Executive Secretary. Bediatuo is not alone! He is joined in government by his father, Kofi Darko Asante, who chairs the Governing Council of GIMPA, his mother, Mrs. Vida Asante, who is the head of the Presidential Household and his brother, Kwesi Kuntu Asante, who sits on the Board of Ghana Hostels. In addition, Nana Asante Bediatuo’s sister, Lauretta Asante (marital name, Otchere), is one of the three Deputy Directors-General at SSNIT who have been appointed by this government.
Other relatives of President Akufo-Addo who currently occupy various positions in his government include, Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, Samuel Atta Akyea, Works and Housing Minister, and Kwesi Amoako Atta, Minister for Roads and Highways, all of whom are cousins of the President.
Friends from the media, in an unprecedented move, President Akufo-Addo has made his own daughter, Gyankroma Akufo-Addo, a member of the Creative Arts Council.
Ladies and Gentlemen, a major striking feature of Akufo-Addo’s nepotistic governance style is the ever present quartet made up of two appointees: Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance; and Duke Ofori-Atta, brother of Ken Ofori-Atta and a staffer at the office of the Chief of Staff, and also two non-appointees: The President’s younger brother, Edward ‘Akufo-Addo (Bumpty); and their nephew, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko – the de facto Prime Minister who per our sources, controls the President’s interests in government.
It must be noted that, even though ‘Bumpty’ and ‘Gabby’ do not hold formal positions in government, the two are the President’s closest advisors. Gabby, in particular, is considered as the most powerful man in the Akufo-Addo administration, second only to the President. Bumpty on the other hand, as revealed by our investigations, is the President’s main man in Ghana’s Energy sector with numerous interests.
Furthermore, the wife of Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, and in-law of the President, Nana Adjoa Hackman, is not left out of the sharing of the spoils, as she has been appointed to the Board of the GNPC – a key institution which pivots Ghana’s petroleum sector. Also, Mr Ekow Hackman, brother of Gabby’s wife, Adjoa Hackman and hence Akufo-Addo’s son in law, has been appointed as the Board Chairman of BOST.
To add to the litany of familial relations of the President in government, and the unholy firm grip that the Akufo-Addo family has on the energy sector of Ghana, another cousin of the President, Rhodaline Baafour-Gyimah has been made a member of the Board of the Ghana Oil Company (GOIL). In addition, Mrs Baafour-Gyimah’s husband – a brother-in-law of the President – Mr. Alex Baafour Gyimah has also been rewarded for his relations with the President by being appointed to chair the Board of the Gaming Commission.
Also, another cousin of President Akufo-Addo, Nana Fredua Ofori Atta has been made Chairman of the National Theatre Board.
Ladies and gentlemen, in furtherance of his legendary practice of nepotism and clannism, Nana has not left out his paternal side from his distribution of state positions. Dr Edward Kwapong, the Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the current Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Miss Gloria Akuffo are all paternal relatives of President Akufo-Addo.
Quite apart from the above-enumerated, President Akufo-Addo also has a long catalogue of relatives and friends deeply embedded at the Presidency. This was revealed after our careful perusal of the list of Presidential Staffers presented to Parliament early last year. Among them is his nephew, Michael Ofori Atta, who operates under the title of Director of ECOWAS. It is very puzzling to us what this role entails, given the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration already has able hands to handle the affairs of the sub-regional body on behalf of the government of Ghana.
Still on the unprecedented list of Presidential staffers which has sent many tongues wagging for some time now, is another nephew of the President, William Ofori Atta, who bears the title of an “office assistant”, while yet another relative of the President, Alice Ofori Atta, has also been drafted in as a “protocol officer” at the Presidency.
In a move to further entrench nepotism, contrary to his euphonious rhetoric whilst in opposition, a relative of the first lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, who goes by the name Gabriella Arafua Reindolf, has also found space on the gargantuan list of Presidential staffers as “Deputy Director, Hospitality”.
Furthermore, both Akosua Newman and Victor Newman her husband have been appointed to the presidency. Victor Newman is another paternal relative and long-standing associate of President Akufo-Addo. Whereas he is currently a Senior Presidential Advisor, his wife serves as an “Executive Assistant” at the Presidency.
Still on the record-breaking list of staffers is Shirley Laryea, who has been appointed as an Assistant Office Administrator at the Office of the President. Her husband, Mr. Gaddy Laryea is a known long-standing friend of the President.
Ladies and gentlemen, in what comes across to us as a romantic twist to this tale of family and friends, President Akufo-Addo has made Madam Virginia Hesse, who is known to have a daughter with him, Ghana’s ambassador to the Czech Republic.
Clearly, President Akufo-Addo has shown that he is not a man of his words and cannot be trusted.
Friends from the inky fraternity, several high-ranking officials in this government have taken a cue from the president in this very unenviable practice. One of such is the Finance Minister and cousin to the President, Ken Ofori Atta, who has also assembled a cast of close friends, relatives and business partners in many public financial institutions in order to have an unparalleled influence over the sector.
For example, a sister-in-law of the Finance Minister, Eno Ofori Attah, has been made Deputy Managing Director of SIC Financial Services, while another family relative by name Alice Ofori Atta, currently heads the Tema Development Corporation (TDC).
To further strengthen his hold over Ghana’s financial sector, Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, a known protégé of the Finance Minister, has been appointed to the position of Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It must be added, that Ogbarmey Tetteh is a former Vice President of Data Bank, co-owned by Ken Ofori Atta.
Another former staff of Databank, Deila Awo Assimeh, a Company Secretary to Data Bank, has also been rewarded as a member of the SEC Board.
There is no gainsaying that these two acolytes of the Finance Minister have been strategically placed to make it very difficult, if not impossible to hold the Finance Minister to account for any aberrations of the law regarding the SEC. Therefore, it is not surprising to the financial sector in Ghana and to us in the NDC that Databank is almost always deemed worthy transaction advisors to the Finance Minister in most of our recent issuance of sovereign bonds. To all intents and purposes, the operations of Databank, which is co-owned by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, now extends into the domain of the Finance Ministry, which he heads.
Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, the despicable practice of nepotism by the Akufo-Addo government has assumed perhaps a bigger centre stage at the Finance Ministry. Our investigations have revealed that Hon. Ken Ofori Atta, who heads that Ministry, has supplanted a number of highly-qualified and seasoned technocrats, and in their stead, placed middle level cronies from Databank to occupy top roles responsible for implementing government’s economic and financial policies.
One of such persons is his nephew, Michael Asare Bediako, who has been planted as his Special Assistant at the Ministry.
Other erstwhile Databank staff who now sit comfortably at the Finance Ministry and other agencies under it include Ernest Akore, a former non-executive director at Databank, who is now a Board Member of the Ghana Revenue Authority. Another is Sampson Akligoh, who was once a Vice President at Databank in charge of Research. He now heads the Financial Sector Division of the Finance Ministry.
Others include Felicia Gyamfi Ashley, a former Human Resource manager at Databank who is now a member of the Entity Tender Committee of the Finance Ministry, and Ntiwaa Daaku Kwakye, also a former staff of Databank who has also been fixed at the Finance Ministry.
This brazen nepotism has obviously incurred the wrath of many senior staff of the Finance Ministry, who are incensed by the continuous recruitment of several Databank staff at the Ministry.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Need I add more?
Even Charles Adu Boahen, one of the three Deputy Ministers at the Finance Ministry, has arguably more than a mere working relationship in government with the Finance Minister. His business partnership with Ken Ofori Atta dates back to the purchase of shares in Enterprise Group previously held by Sanlam, a South African investment firm, by Black Star Holdings Limited, a company which was founded by Hon. Adu Boahen. These two men now have an opportunity to continue drinking from the same pot at the Finance Ministry.
Indeed, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta who recently infamously described innocent investors in Menzgold as “greedy”, continues to exhibit arguably the obscenest avarice ever witnessed in our political annals.
Apart from the above examples, the Finance Minister has additional sea of strategically-placed allies in key state financial institutions, with whom he shares close ties of friendship and business interests.
Among them include Keli Gadzekpo, a long-standing acolyte and co-founder of Databank and head of the Enterprise Group, and Madam Comfort Ocran, both of whom now sit comfortably on the Bank of Ghana Board – the Board which has engineered the collapse of 420 financial institutions and rendered thousands of breadwinners jobless. Keli Gadzekpo also doubles as chairman of the ECG Board of Directors.
Another associate of the Finance Minister, by name Lynn Allotey Gadzekpo, sister-in-law of Keli Gadzekpo, has also been appointed to the Bank of Ghana Board. Also, on the prestigious Board of the Bank of Ghana is Dr. Kwame Owusu Nyantakyi, a brother- in- law of the President (married to the First Lady’s sister).
Others among the Databank cohort are Yoofi Grant, current CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, who between 2009 and 2012 was an Executive Director in charge of Business Development and Private Equity Division at Databank. Yet another former Databank employee, is Michael Addotey Addo, who is now a Deputy Director-General at SSNIT.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is very instructive to note that in sharing the spoils of power to family, friends and loved ones, the Vice President Dr. Bawumia neither opposed it nor recused himself. Dr. Bawumia’s father-in-law (father of Second Lady, Samira Bawumia), Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, has been made Ghana’s envoy to the United Arab Emirates. We also must add, that Alhaji Ramadan’s son; who is Dr Bawumia’s brother in-law has also been appointed as a Deputy Director-General of NADMO. Additionally, Mumuni Abdulai Bawumia, a brother of Vice President Bawumia, has been appointed as Technical Advisor to the Interior Minister, Hon. Ambrose Derry.
Learning from President Akufo-Addo and Bawumia, various ministers of state in this government have also diligently followed these shameful footsteps of their bosses by also dispensing generosity to their families and friends.
Beyond Akufo-Addo, Bawumia and Ken Ofori-Atta, specifically, the man who actually leads this pack is the Senior Minister, ‘friend’ and defender of Aisha Huang of China, Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo. Even though Mr Osafo Marfo discouraged NPP footsoldiers and the youth of Ghana from seeking jobs in the public sector because it is choked, his two sons are comfortably serving in the public sector.
Ladies and Gentlemen, these privileged sons are: Kwadwo Gyamfi Osafo Marfo, who now serves as Deputy Director-General and Acting Head of Cyber Security at the NCA, and Kofi Bosompem Osafo Marfo (also his son), who is now a Deputy Director-General of SSNIT.
Let’s stay a little while longer at the National Communications Authority. The Hon. Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, has conveniently fixed two of her allies, namely Olivia Quartey and Prince Sefah, as Deputy Directors-General in charge of Managerial Operations and Operations respectively. It still remains a mystery as to what these two nebulous roles actually entail within the scheme of things of the NCA.
By the same token, the Director General of the NCA – Joe Anokye, has not stopped short of drafting several of his apparatchiks into various positions at the Authority. These include but not limited to: Kwame Gyan, Nathan Musah, Collinson Nii Clottey Oko, Charles Ronald Sanny, Nelly Debrah, Josephine Adu-Fowaa and Harry Mcninson.
Friends from the media, over and above these despicable nepotistic appointments, at the Party level, the wife of the National Chairman, Freddy Blay (Gina Blay), is now Ghana’s Ambassador to Germany, while the son of the speaker of Parliament, Mike Ocquaye Jnr, is Ghana’s representative to India. Our investigations also revealed that the Speaker’s daughter, Maria Edith Ocquaye, has recently been made the Head of Corporate Affairs for the National Petroleum Authority
Also, Akosua Manu, daughter in law of Peter Mac-Manu, Board Chair of the GPHA and Former Chairman of the NPP has also been appointed as Deputy CEO of the National Youth Authority.
Last but not least, at the Fisheries Ministry sits the ever-present Hon. Elizabeth Afoley Quaye (MP), under whose watch about GHS22 million worth of premix fuel was defalcated in a massive scandal in 2017. Indeed in 2017 alone she superintended over about 200 cases of premix fuel diversion. At the heart of these stinking scandals was her brother, Joseph Botchwey, whom she appointed as Administrator of the National Premix Secretariat. He functions alongside her nephew, Elikem Sewordor, who is the Southern Volta Coordinator of the Premix Secretariat.
NEPOTISTIC BUSINESS DEALINGS
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, a natural consequence of this unprecedented level of nepotism, is total state capture. Beyond planting his relatives and close friends in top positions, President Akufo-Addo has opened up the public purse for total scramble by these family and friends. He has ensured their total dominance of several sectors of the Ghanaian economy to the detriment of other Ghanaians who are better qualified and in a much better position to execute government jobs.
The object of this is to enrich himself and his close relatives contrary to his claim that he did not come to power to enrich himself.
In some instances, contracts and jobs won legitimately by genuine contractors and service providers have been taken away from them and given to relatives of the President.
For the sake of brevity, we will provide just a few examples to buttress this point.
- HOW PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO TOOK OIL SUPPLY CONTRACTS FROM BOST AND GAVE IT TO A COMPANY ASSOCIATED WITH HIS BROTHER, BUMPTY.
When President Akufo-Addo came to office in January, 2017, Goil and other state entities in the petroleum sector were supplied finished products by BOST, a state-owned entity. As soon as President Akufo-Addo took office, a company called Stratcon Energy, was hurriedly formed in 2017 and has taken over the supply of oil products to GOIL, BOST, TOR and VRA.
If you are wondering, ladies and gentlemen, how a company formed only in 2017 can secure this lucrative contract to supply oil to all these state entities, look no further. Stracon Energy is owned by the husband of Adeline Akufo-Addo, daughter of President Akufo-Addo’s brother Edward ‘Bumpty’ Akufo-Addo. Only this familial connection with President Akufo-Addo could have guaranteed this deal.
- HOW PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO GAVE PUBLIC FUNDS TO HIS BROTHER IN LAW TO INVEST IN A HOTEL PROJECT.
In December, 2018, President Akufo-Addo allowed the state-owned Ghana Infrastructure and Investment Fund (GIIF) to partly finance a private hotel project being undertaken by his brother in law, Dr Kwame Nyantakyi Owusu (married to the President’s wife’s sister) at the Airport City in Accra. This is one more example of the sort of nepotism and cronyism being practiced by President Akufo-Addo.
Ladies and gentlemen, the above are but a few of the monstrous levels of nepotism taking place in the family and friend’s government of President Akufo-Addo.
The question is: where did ‘Ama’ Ghana go wrong? What sin has Ghanaians committed to be subjected to such crude governance which Idi Amin Dada – the Butcher of Uganda, Jean-Bedel Bokassa and Mobutu Sese Seko – the looter of Zaire never dreamt of?
Ladies and gentlemen, as I have already indicated, the classic and numerous examples of nepotism cited are but a few of the plethora of family, friends, loved ones and cronies’ appointments which have characterised the deceptive and corrupt Akufo-Addo government.
It is clear that, President Akufo-Addo has made nepotism a deliberate policy in his administration and we can safely say without any equivocation that, the Akufo-Addo government is the most nepotistic in the world.
These family and friends’ appointments have also exposed the hollowness and deceptive nature of the President’s infamous rhetoric in Kumasi, in 2016, when he vowed not to operate a family and friends’ government. Simply put, President Akufo-Addo has failed to translate his words into action. His style of governance continues to expose his weaknesses with each passing day.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have brought these to your attention for Ghanaians to see the extent of abuse that President Akufo-Addo has subjected the public purse to. Apart from having an extraordinarily-bloated government with 124 Ministers and over 1000 Presidential staffers, he appears to have made family connections a key pre-requisite for appointments into his government.
This has predictably spawned several conflicts of interest situations, clear acts of corruption, victimization of existing businesses, arm twisting and extortion. Indeed, the business community is on its knees and at the mercy of these family and friends’ cliques.
Thus, the festering culture of patronage and corruption ongoing in this Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government does not come as a surprise at all. The rising corruption we are witnessing today is truly and inextricably linked to the excessive practice of nepotism by President Akufo-Addo. His inability to crack the whip on his errant and corrupt officials cannot be divorced from the ties of family and friendship that binds him and his appointees together. The biggest question for us therefore is, how can our nation overcome corruption when our President practices one of its inseparable bedfellows called nepotism? Your guess is as good as mine.
It is our hope that over and above what many Ghanaians know already, these revelations will dawn on Ghanaians, that President Akufo-Addo, contrary to his lofty and dovish rhetoric in opposition, is supervising the capture of the state in furtherance of familial interest. All the desperate attempt made to shield him from public scrutiny and the sanctimonious claims of incorruptibility are but a tenuous smokescreen behind which real damage is being done to our nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in view of the institutionalization of nepotism by President Akufo-Addo, the enactment of an anti-nepotism legislation to help check abuse of political power in the advancement of the nepotistic agenda of President Akufo-Addo, his acolytes and any unforeseen recurrence is long overdue in Ghana.
This law, can take the form, and even be an improvement of section 3110 of title 5, of the United States Code, which forbids a public official from appointing a relative to a civilian position in the agency over which that official exercises jurisdiction or control.
To this end, we call on Civil Society Organisations and all well-meaning Ghanaians to join us, as we advocate the initiation and passage of an Anti-Nepotism Law for Ghana.
We contend that, notwithstanding the enormous constitutional powers conferred on the President to hire and fire, such powers must not be exercised in a whimsical manner in furtherance of the interest of family members, friends and cronies. And, we believe that the time has come for Ghana to enact an Anti-Nepotism law that imposes clear restrictions on the employment of close relatives, as it’s done in other jurisdictions.
Thank you for coming and may God continue to bless our homeland Ghana.
National Communication Officer