Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Defence Minister In Big Lies(3)!

There is a fascinating phenomenon in the figure ‘10’ as far as the Defence Minister, Gen JH Smith is concerned. Gen JH Smith appeared before the Vetting Committee of Parliament on the 10th of February 2009, and told several lies with impunity. In answers to question by members of Parliamentary Vetting Committee, Gen JH Smith told lies about the policy on regional balance saying it affects only officers and also told lies by saying that they had observed irregularities about the recruitment of the 420 Army Potential Recruits whose training had been suspended.
General Smith deliberately told lies that some of the potential recruits had fake driving licenses, that some did not undergo medical examinations, that others could neither read nor write while others did not go through any of the recruitment processes or stages. All the four reasons were false even though he tried to justify only the last reason in his answer to parliament on the 10th June 2009 by alleging that 192 were illegally inserted.
Can General Smith tell the whole nation how many of the 420 or the 192 had fake driving licenses? He is challenged to list those persons and produce letters or correspondence from the DVLA and must also attach photocopies of the fake driving licenses to his answers. Normally, the DVLA will give the reasons why a particular driving license is fake. The security marks, for instance, that proves the authenticity or otherwise of a driving license would be indicated to support such a claim.

Again, Gen JH Smith is challenged to provide the list of those potential recruits out of the 420 who did not undergo medical examination. It is not possible for any recruit to be selected if that person has not been declared medically fit on an appropriate military medical form signed by an authorized medical officer at 37 Military Hospital. General Smith knows very well or ought to know that before any recruit will be documented by the Department of Military Records to undergo military training, the person’s medical form authenticated by an authorized medical officer as ‘medically fit’ will be available, inspected and accepted for that purpose. It is therefore not possible for any of the 420 Army Potential Recruits to have dodged medical examinations at 37 Military Hospital. Gen JH Smith also said that some of the potential recruits could neither write nor read.

This is most unfortunate and a deliberate lie that Gen JH Smith and others in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) such as John Jinapor, an aide of the vice president who ignorantly, maliciously and deliberately made similar comments on Adom FM’s morning show last Thursday. Gen JH Smith knows or ought to know the general eligibility criteria for recruitment into the Ghana Armed Forces. The minimum educational qualification is the Basic Educational Certificate given after completion of Junior High School. Every single potential recruit should have that level of education. Certainly, one should not expect the same level of educational proficiency between a J.S.S. graduate and a S.S.S graduate. That fact notwithstanding, the potential recruits with only BECE but with trade, vocation or specialized skills that are shortlisted, write the Aptitude Test at the regional screening with their counterparts with SSSCE or higher qualifications.

The Aptitude Test at the regional level is usually made up of English and Mathematics objective questions. One needs to read the questions to understand before answering them. Additionally, at the central screening all potential recruits are made to write an easy, read a passage to the team that consist of officers and men nominated by the authority of Generals (i.e. Service Commanders, Director Generals, Departmental Heads, Directors and Commanders and Commanding officers) and answer questions in English to the Sub-Board in an interview form.

The Central Screening Team again inspects and verifies the educational and other documents of the Potential Recruits before they are permitted to undergo medical examination at 37 Military Hospital. There is yet another check to determine whether a potential recruit can read and write English or not following which they are all to be vetted by a team from the Department of Defence Intelligence. The Potential Recruits fill a form provided by the Department which is very detailed and gathers information on the Potential Recruits Personal Details, Contact Information, Educational History, Employment History, Economic Status, Association and Character Referees and Security Clearance. The Department of Defence Intelligence has the responsibility to cross-check at all the Examining Authorities, Boards, Council and Association or the ownership of the educational certificates, vocational certificates and indeed all the information provided voluntarily by the Potential Recruits. With this process of checks and balances it is not possible for people who can neither read nor write to be selected.

The only time it may be possible to select people who are poor in reading and writing English is where the Service Headquarters or the user units have very urgent need for those potential recruits (sports personnel of national repute) and insist on recruiting them in spite of their academic shortfall and in such cases the various stakeholders are made aware of that fact and therefore it becomes an acceptable norm. The Defence Minister is challenged again to give the list of those who can neither read nor write English and he should tell Ghanaians where and how he detected those potential recruits out of the list of 420 since in his answer on 10th of February 2009, he said clearly that ‘we have observed that some of the potential recruits have fake driving licenses, some did not do medical examination, some of them can neither read nor write and others did not go through the recruitment process and failed to write examinations’.

The Minister’s statement that some of the recruits did not go through the recruitment process which he refined on the 10th June 2009 in his answer to parliament did not give the correct picture of what happened during the 2008 Recruitment Exercise hence his conclusion that 192 were illegally inserted. Certainly Gen Smith is not used to this transparent process because the system that prevailed when he was Army Commander was not as transparent enough like this. For instance, in those days under the 90/10 system, the 64 Infantry Regiment recruited it personnel separately during which 90% of all those recruited came from the Volta Region and the remaining 10% from the rest of the nine regions.

This system was in vogue when the current National Security Coordinator, Lt. Col AK Gbevlo- Lartey (GH/2125) was the Commanding Officer of the 64 Infantry Regiment with Gen Charles Okae (GH/1213) as Chief of Staff at General Headquarters and Col Osae Addae (Rtd) as Director Military Records when most recruitment exercise was conducted. Those persons who were specially recruited were trained separately at Asutsuare and not at Army Recruit Training School at Shai Hills and to make matters worse most of them did not meet the recruitment criteria but yet they became soldiers.


The simple and mere prevaricated lies that Lt. Gen Smith, the Defence Minister told the Peoples Representative when he appeared before them has earned him an automatic entry into the gang of ‘liars’ that are currently working in this National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.

Concerning the persistent complaints by the general public on the anomalies, this paper wants the Minister to prove to the whole nation, the names of the complainants, nature of complaints, when the complaint was made, to whom the complaints were made, records of receipt of complaints, officer in charge of complaints and evidence provided by complainants on the of nature of complaints.
Evidence gathered by this paper so far shows that the Minister told a flagrant lie when he said the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) commenced the 2008 Recruitment on 10th March 2008.Letters for the applicants short-listed for screening for preliminary documentation/body selection, trade examination among others commenced on 4th March 2008 and were signed on 15th February, 2008 by Col Damoah as the then Director General Personal Administration.

Also, screening for Greater Accra started on 4th March 2008 with applicants reporting to the Azumah Nelson Sports Complex whilst the other regions commenced theirs on the 10th March 2008.Again it is not true that 192 were ‘illegal inserted’. The reasons for the alleged insertions does not hold water because due to the limitations of time and the postal services, which made it impossible for some of the recruits to be notified, the then Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) at the time, Gen. J. B. Danquah, ordered that all those who had been approved but who had not received their letters in time should join the national processing exercise at the El Wak Stadium in Accra. The 192 candidates had been approved and therefore it is not true that they had been ‘illegally inserted’.

Again the 192 ‘illegally inserted’ recruits contained sportsmen and women as well as special tradesmen. Checks conducted by this newspaper reveal that as at 3rd December 2008, a letter signed for the Director General Training by Lt. Col JHK Buntuguh presented a list of sportsmen and women who had passed aptitude tests but had not been medically examined because as the letter stated ‘this Department is very interested in these personnel because most of them have international experience which will greatly enhance the fortunes of GAF in next year’s international competitions we will be competing in’.

Similar correspondence is available for 25th September, 24 October and 7th November 2008 respectively. The number short-listed for further screening in Accra from the Regional screening was not 798 as indicated by the Minister. The number 798 was only for the first batch and this excludes the figure short-listed for the second batch which is 560, and therefore the Minister misrepresented the facts once again.

The reason why the figure for the first batch is bigger is because it includes all female candidates irrespective of trade i.e. medical, sports, clerks, IT, pay etc because females are trained only during the first batch of any particular year in order to maximize use of resource as the dormitory earmarked for females can take a maximum of 130 persons.If even 50 females are invited for training no male can accommodated in the excess capacity as females are not accommodated with males in the same dormitory.However, during the second batch, the female dormitory is converted or given to males as there are no females.

Consequently, most often the number that passes out of ARTS during the 2nd batch is bigger than the 1st batch. For instance, in 2008, 1st batch of Army Recruits that passed from ARTS was 416 while the 2nd batch figure was 432.It is also important to note that left-overs from the 1st batch can always be added to the 2nd batch and that is why the 1st batch number is more.

Additionally, all sportsmen, medical personnel and tradesmen are usually added to the 1st batch. Sportsmen are to pass out of ARTS in June so that they can take part in Armed Forces Games in July/August and Security Service Games (SESSA GAMES) in September/October of a particular.In the same way medical personal undergo nursing training at 37 Military Hospital in September when the academic year starts. They are therefore made to join the first Batch so that they can pass out by June ending or early July of any particular year.

The 2nd batch figure of 560 for the Army was not featured at all in the Defence Minister’s Answer. They were to start medical examination at 37 Military Hospital in March and April 2009 when the exercise was suspended (and now cancelled) after the training of the 1st batch Army Potential Recruits was suspended on 30th January 2009.If the argument was that the 1st batch cannot go for training because their medical results will be invalid after June 2009 after the so called maintenance work, then the 2nd batch who are yet to undergo the medical examination can be considered alongside the 228 recruits (even admitting that 192 are to be dropped).

The 2 groups can provide the 2 batches of the 420 each or close to that which will be better than canceling the entire training.Additionally, there were some candidates who were on stand-by from the 1st batch who were not short-listed for training, can some of them be added to the 228 to make the number for training.It is unfortunate that the Minister spoke ignorantly when he said that the Ghana Armed Forces do not owe any of the applicants the duty to recruit them.Well for his ignorance, the 228 who by the Minister’s own assertion went through all the stages of the recruitment successfully and were given invitation letters to undergo training can take legal action against the Ghana Armed Forces.

There was a binding contract between them and the Ghana Armed Forces. The letters of invitation were offered to them and their acceptance was the acceptance letters they sent to the GAF and most importantly the consideration was the items they bought and their readiness and presence at El-Wak to be conveyed to ARTS.It is therefore wrong for General Smith to say in Parliament that the GAF do not owe the potential Army Recruits any duty of recruitment.


Defense Minister Lt Gen. Henry Smith (RTD) yesterday went to parliament to tell the Peoples Representatives the reasons why the government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) decided to turn away 420 Ghanaians who had been recruited to join the Army.However, the Daily Searchlight can reveal that most of the answers he gave to parliament were simple and mere prevaricated lies, since the available evidence points to the contrary.
For instance, the Defense Minister told parliament yesterday that out of the 420 recruits selected, only 228 applicants passed through all the stages of recruitment exercise, with the remaining 192 being ‘illegally inserted’.Checks conducted by this newspaper reveal that this statement cannot be true, since for instance those who were recruited into the army for specialized purposes like serving in the military band or for sporting purposes did not go through the regional screening process. In total the number of such recruits was about 66. This has always been the normal practice because the recruits who are to serve in the military band or for sports are always recruited centrally in Accra, using their special skills as the utmost criteria.

Again checks conducted at Army Headquarters reveal that due to limitations of time and the postal services, which made it impossible for some of the recruits to be notified, the Chief of Defense Staff at the time, Gen. J. B. Danquah, ordered that all those who had been approved but who had not received their letters in time should join the national processing exercise at the El Wak Stadium in Accra.The Minister of Defense, in his written response to parliament, also stated that most of the recruits were illiterate, an assertion that has been challenged by the fact that all the recruits were made to go through reading, writing and other tests for literacy before they were accepted for medical and physical examination.

The Defense Minister also told parliament yesterday that the infrastructure available for training of the recruits was substandard.“This is clearly an after thought and an attempt to justify an earlier position by officials of the army. The fact is that the recruits were to assembly on 30th January with training to start on 31st January, at which time the recruits were told to go home. At that time General Smith had not been nominated as Minister. He was nominated later and even appeared before parliament on 10th February, so if he says that when he went on inspection the facilities were inadequate, that would not be true. The facilities cannot be used as justification, because the recruitment was ordered by the army administration with full knowledge of the state of the facilities


…How Rawlings, Atta Mills Presided Over Kick-Back Galore!
If ever there has been two politicians in our country who have built their entire political careers on their alleged abhorrence for corruption, it is former President Jerry John Rawlings and President Professor John Evans Atta Mills.From the way they speak, one would think that even butter would not melt on their tongues! Now it is turning out when the two men were first in government in NDC (1) (Rawlings was President and Atta Mills was his Vice) there was widespread corruption, to the extent that a multinational company has now admitted in a London court that it is guilty of paying bribes on a wide scale to members of the NDC government when it was first in power, with anti-corruption crusaders Rawlings and Atta Mills at the helm of affairs!
At Crown Court number 1 at Southwark, UK, with Judge Rivlin presiding, a large number of the public, press and representatives from the Ghana High Commission were in attendance when the case affecting British multi-national Mabey and Johnson was brought up for hearing. The packed courtroom saw 16 legal representatives, including officials from the Serious Fraud Office in attendance. Even though the hearings are at a preliminary stage, so far Mabey and Johnson have pleaded guilty to three out of the ten charges filed, namely Charges 1, 5 and 9

The matter had been transferred from Westminster Magistrates Court following a hearing on 10 July 2009.Mabey and Johnson entered a plea of guilty to three (out of the 10 charges). The relevant charge, Charge 1 is as follows: First Charge relating to Ghana bribes"Between the 1st day of January 1994 and 18th day of August 1999, conspired with certain of its directors, executives, employees and agents to give or agree to give corrupt payments contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 to Ministers, officials and other agents of the Government of Ghana as inducements to secure, or as rewards for having secured contracts from the Government of Ghana, known as "Priority Bridge Programme 1", Priority Bridge Programme 2" and "Feeder Roads Projects" for the supply of goods to the said Government of Ghana by Mabey and Johnson Limited. Contrary to Section 1 of Criminal Law Act 1977”.

Since he burst onto the political limelight in 1979, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings has made a fetish out of his so-called abhorrence for corruption, and has consistently accused members of opposing political factions of corruption, a line that is closely towed by his political acolyte Professor John Evans Atta Mills, who served Rawlings for the relevant period as Vice President.Today Atta Mils is President of Ghana, but he never loses opportunity to sound off on his alleged hatred for corruption. For him and his credibility, the upcoming revelations in the London court should be very interesting!On Friday, following the preliminary hearing, Presiding Judge Rivlin adjourned the case to Friday 25th September at 10.00 for further hearing.