Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Soldiers Worried Over Corruption In the barracks

The attention of His Excellency the President of the Republic and Commander In Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces is being drawn to the rot, malfeasance, malpractices, corruption, looting, stealing, embezzlement and misappropriation of funds and various assets (public resource etc) in the Ghana Armed Forces. 

The noble institution that used to be and is expected always to be an epitome of discipline and excellence is now a pity of itself owing to the greed, avarice, selfishness and criminal instincts of some very senior officers and men.

The “Create, Loot and Share” (CLS) sector that was established by the immediate past NDC Administration has a “Brigade” in the Ghana Armed Forces. The “CLS Brigade” in the military had and has some Generals, Colonels and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers as the Commanders and Staff Officers.

The looting that has taken place in the military since 7th January 2009 is so gargantuan and unprecedented that if the strict yardsticks of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) of Flt Lt JJ Rawlings were used to assess the uprightness or otherwise of the military hierarchies and echelons, there would be a few survivors.

The allegations of impropriety affect and touch most of the “BIG MEN”. The resources that have been looted include land, money, vehicles, food, fuel and equipment of all natures and sorts. Various dubious contracts for ammunitions, food, fuel, aircrafts, armored vehicles, weapons, motor vehicles, housing, construction, maintenance and repairs have been entered into with impurity by various officers (namely Chiefs of Defense Staff, Service Chiefs, Base Commanders, GOCs, Director Generals, Directors, Commanding Officers and Officers Commanding) to the chagrin of well-meaning, patriotic, loyal and concerned officers and men.

What has surprised most of the patriotic concerned officers and men is the open display of wealth by these “thieves” in the barracks and outside barracks.

Some of these alleged thieves have fleets of vehicles of all sorts (Toyota Camry, Prado, Land cruisers, Nissan (Patrols etc) Hondas, Fords, Mercedes Benz, VWs, BMWs, Huyndai, Peugeot, Renault Citroen and Fiat). Some of the alleged thieves have various forms of 4 x 4 vehicles, salon cars, pick-ups and estate vehicles.

They also have houses at various locations including “Trassacco Houses”. They have “lands” at various locations in Ghana including former military lands or state lands. The alleged thieves are accused of over-invoicing, over inflation of contract sums, signing of contracts for which no deliveries are made or no executions or performances take place (deliberately and knowingly) and extortion of peacekeeping allowances from soldiers.

For all these alleged crimes and service offences, the patriotic concerned officers and men are calling for “justice”. 

The Patriotic Concerned Officers and Men (PACOM) are demanding forensic audit into all these activities and transactions that have been taking place since the acquisition of the Embraer aircrafts, MI helicopters, Chinese Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and motor vehicles and their spare parts.

The allegations of rot cover various contracts and transactions in the military. It may take some time (perhaps years) to undertake all these forensic audits. However, PACOM wants immediate action on some of the allegations. PACOM’s first request is a forensic audit into the establishment of the so-called Armed Forces Bank which is currently in the form of a “Savings and Loans” Financial Institution.

The “Services Integrity Savings and Loans” Financial Institution lacks “integrity”. It was an avenue for the Generals and their civilian “partners in crime” to create, loot and share.

Everything about the “Bank”, from conception (Pre-incorporation) to date must be investigated. How that “Bank” started as part of the “Defense Industries” (under the Department of Defence Industries or Defence Industries Department) but got divorced from it and is now supposed to be under the Directorate of Resettlement must be investigated.

PACOM wants to know why one officer – then Colonel and now Brigadier General AK Adokpa – alone was the Director of Resettlement and Director General, Defence Industries Department during pre-incorporation, incorporation and post-incorporation of the “Bank”.

PACOM wants to know the fees that were paid to the Consultants as “Promoters”, “Officers” and “Agents” of the “Bank”.

PACOM wants to know the names, qualifications and positions of the current management and employees of the “Bank” PACOM is also interested in the schools attended by these officials and the regions they hail from in Ghana.

The allegations flying over the establishment of the Bank include the payments of huge sums of money (in foreign and local currencies) to the promoters and officials of the Bank who incidentally or coincidentally are mainly former students of Bishop Herman College (BIHECO) located at Kpando in the Volta Region.

Furthermore, PACOM wants to know the relationship between the Provident Fund of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Bank.

PACOM understands that the “Provident Fund” was under the Directorate of Resettlement which had Brigadier General Adokpa as the Director. The Provident Fund was to be managed as a prelude to the establishment of the Bank. Now that the Services Integrity Savings and Loans Financial Institution (the “Bank”) has been registered as a Limited Liability Company, PACOM wants to know the Share-Holders and the number of shares or percentage of Equity given to the Provident Fund and others.

PACOM is also interested in the relationship between the military and civilian employees of the Ghana Armed Forces (the contributors of the Provident Fund) and the “Bank”.

What is the structure of the Board of Directors of the Bank? PACOM wants to know the membership of the Board. PACOM has learnt that the Chairman of the Board is either the Chief of Army Staff or the Deputy Minister of Defence. Currently, there is no Deputy Minister of Defence and therefore the reasonable presumption is that, the Chief of Army Staff is or may be the chairman of the Board of Directors for the Bank.

PACOM wants to know whether that is the reason why Brigadier General Adokpa has been frequenting the office of Major General William Azure Ayamdo, the Chief of Army Staff, in recent times.

PACOM is aware that Major General WA Ayamdo and Brigadier General AK Adokpa are Intake Mates of RCC 22 with Regimental/Service Numbers GH/1954 and GH/1957 respectively and may therefore be friends. PACOM, however, wishes to advise General Ayamdo to be wary of Brigadier General Adokpa for the time being.

PACOM has a lot of respect for General Ayamdo who may not be faltered with corruption but rather has a lot of concerns for discipline, uprightness, integrity, esprit de corps and team work. 

PACOM is relying heavily on Generals Ayamdo and Akwa to get to the bottom of all the allegations harboured against Brigadier General Adokpa and the establishment of the “Ghana Armed Forces Bank”.  No cover up would be tolerated as PACOM have in their custody very relevant pieces of evidence suggesting a whole lot of inappropriate actions.

General Akwa is a first class gentleman, very upright, honest, religious, God fearing, simple, affable and compassionate. PACOM feels strongly that with CLEAN HANDS AND INTEGRITY as their main weapons, Generals Ayamdo and Akwa would be able to salvage the Ghana Armed Forces Bank.

PACOM feels passionately about the Bank and the investment of military and civilian personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces. PACOM suggests that there should be a proper collaboration between the Ministry of Defence and the Military High Command on unearthing everything about the Ghana Armed Forces Bank.

The worry of PACOM is the increasing incremental influence that the “Ewe Mafia” appears to be having on the Minister of Defence. With Dr. Dzikunu as the Chief Director, Brigadier General Fiawoo as the Acting Judge Advocate General at the Ministry of Defence, Commodore Beick –Baffour as Chief of Staff, Colonel Anthony Ntem as a protégé and some other factors weighing on the Minister of Defence, it appears that the integrity of the Ministry of Defence and Military High Command has been already compromised in the fight against corruption, malpractices, fraud, inappropriate actions and looting in the Ghana Armed Forces.

The next area of concern to PACOM is the Department for Plans and Development (P&D).

Several allegations of corrupt practices, malpractices, inappropriate actions, over-invoicing, non-delivery and under-delivery of items, equipment and vehicles purported to have been bought by and for the Ghana Armed Forces are flying all over the barracks.

The immediate past Director General, Air Commodore IR Wayoe (GH/2070), is considered to be one of the richest Generals in the Ghana Armed Forces today chasing the Samson-Ojes in the race of millionaires.

PACOM is calling for an urgent forensic audit into all the contracts for acquisition of vehicles, Armoured Personnel Carriers, Weapons, ammunition and various equipment especially since 2013 when John Mahama was declared President by Dr. Afari Gyan and confirmed by Justice Atuguba in the Election Petition.

It is strongly alleged that, the Ghana Armed Forces never had value for money in most of the transactions and contracts entered into by the Department of Plans and Development under the care of Air Commodore IR Wayoe as the Director General.

It is further alleged that the Department of Plans and Development deliberately bought some items far in excess of the quantities that may be needed in the next 20 years contrary to guidelines on proper planning and prioritization.

For instance, it is alleged that ammunitions of all natures have been deliberately bought by Air Commodore Wayoe and his team that may last for over thirty (30) years. Owing to fast scientific and technological developments, especially in the military fields, these acquisitions at alleged inflated prices are considered superfluous and irresponsible.

There are also allegations of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) that were supposed to have been bought and sent to Mission Areas, particularly Southern Sudan, on paper but which never reached their destinations.

Thus, on paper, these contracts were entered into, payments effected to companies that front for officers (the Generals in particular), delivery purported to have been made with fictitious delivery documents, signed and acknowledged but in reality no such vehicles or equipment arrived in the Mission Areas.

The allegation is that it was the usual business of “Create, Loot and Share” that was launched through the payment of pre-arranged judgment debts by John Mills and John Mahama that has been propagated in the military.
Members of PACOM have been briefed about the alleged intensification of the malpractices at the Department of Plans and Development when Major General SK Adeti became the Chief of Staff.
According to insiders, monies for peace support operations were committed into these alleged fraudulent contracts sometimes at the blind side of the Director General at the Department of International Peace Support Operations.

In effect, PACOM is calling for a forensic audit that will stretch to the office of the Chief of Staff as well especially during the tenure of office of Major General SK Adeti to unearth any cases of malpractices at the Department of Plans and Development before it is too late.

The investigations to be conducted at the Department of Plans and Development are dear to the hearts of members of PACOM owing to their repercussions on the image and reputation of the Ghana Armed Forces and Ghanaian troops in the Mission Areas.

Ghanaian troops are sometimes ridiculed by their counterparts from other nations in the Mission Areas. The Ghanaian case becomes more pathetic when other third world countries such as Fiji, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal are able to kit their troops more appropriately and sufficiently to meet UN standards while Ghana, with a long history and proud record in peacekeeping operations, is found wanting.

Clothing, necessaries, equipment, accommodation stores and vehicles that are to be bought, delivered and issued to Ghanaian troops in sufficient quantities in Mission Areas have become problematic. Monies received from the United Nations in respect of peace support operations are allegedly misapplied, misappropriated and /or embezzled to the detriment of the poor soldiers in the Mission Areas.

In some cases, wrong or inappropriate vehicles and spare parts are bought and sent to the Mission Areas. Already used (Second-hand) Chinese Vehicles became the preference of the Mills/ Mahama administration instead of the robust, suitable, tried and tested Japanese vehicles (Toyota and Nissan). The “cheap” inferior second hand Chinese vehicles are a pity of spectacle in our Mission Areas. They easily breakdown and become uneconomical to repair. Troops become stranded in remote and dangerous Mission Areas when these vehicles breakdown. The situations in Southern Sudan and Liberia are sometimes very pathetic.
To worsen matters, allowances meant for maintenance and repairs of Contingent’s own Equipment are also either misapplied or underutilized by Ghanbatt Commanding Officers.

The Commanding Officers deliberately refuse to repair these vehicles and other equipment with the appropriate “votes” in their Imprest Accounts in order to take or steal the money at the end of their tour of duty.

The Commanding Officers become unnecessarily frugal in the use of their imprest accounts so that at the end of their tour of duty they would “sweep” all the “credits” outstanding on the various votes for the sophisticated tastes that they have acquired owing to the NDC government’s accommodation of corruption and greed.

But can the Commanding Officers be blamed or should the Commanding Officers be blamed? Perhaps no. Why? Because the “rot” is from the top – the Military High Command and the Departmental Heads (Director Generals and Directors) at the General and Service Headquarters.

All forms of malpractices have now become the norm in the Ghana Armed Forces. It is the usual. “OGA, WAIT FOR YOUR TURN,” as bequeathed by our brothers and friends from the “ALATA land” who have never experienced the real AFRC and PNDC bitter lessons.

Ideally, there should be no room for any form of corruption, malpractices, inappropriate actions and mismanagement of resources in the military that is anchored on discipline and integrity.

But here we are in 2017 when a “Bank” for the Armed Forces has the word “Integrity” in its name and yet its incorporation and operations are alleged to be heavily fraught with all sorts of problems, malpractices, inappropriate actions, ethnocentrism and above all “Create, Loot and Share business”!!!

A bird sitting on the Umbrella of the NDC symbol has whispered into the ears of members of PACOM that the alleged rot in the use of the peacekeeping funds of the Ghana Armed Forces may be traced to the period 2009 to 2013 when General Joseph Henry Smith was the Defence Minister.

Documents (audit reports on the UN peacekeeping Account during the period quoted above) sighted by our source indicated that there might have been several inappropriate actions on the part of the NDC Administration in the use of the “Peacekeeping Dollars”.

For instance, what was the relationship between General Smith, the Ministry of Defence, the NDC government and FIDELITY BANK in the receipt, custody, withdrawal and disbursement of dollars from the UN Peacekeeping Dollar Account in New York and at the Bank of Ghana? 

How much money was transferred into the Fidelity Bank for and on behalf of the Ghana Armed Forces? How much of the amount deposited were withdrawn in Dollars and Cedis?

How much money (Cedis) was used to “buy back” dollars from the Fidelity Bank for the Ghana Armed Forces? 

Thus, what were the selling prices of Dollars to the Ministry of Defence by the Fidelity Bank at specific dates within the period?
Again, what were the buying prices of dollars that had already been sold to Fidelity Bank at lower selling prices? How much money (in Dollars or Cedis) did the Ghana Armed Forces lose to Fidelity Bank in the foreign exchange transactions?

Moreover, what was the total of interests and costs of transactions paid by the Ghana Armed Forces to the Fidelity Bank in respect of dollar foreign exchange transactions? 

PACOM is asking all these questions because so much impropriety, misuse, misapplication, misappropriation, malpractices and inappropriate actions are alleged to have flowed from the UN dollar Accounts of the Ghana Armed Forces.

The Umbrella bird states emphatically that the Minister of Defence, Mr. Dominic Nitiwul, has or ought to have the documents (audit reports, cash flow reports etc) on the UN peacekeeping Account.

PACOM expects the Minister of Defence to brief His Excellency, the President and the Commander In Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces on the “rot” in the “deposit, withdrawal and purchase” triangulation involving the Ghana Armed Forces and the Fidelity Bank for an appropriate action.

The promptness with which His Excellency the President paid an amount of fifteen million dollars ($15 million) to the Ghana Armed Forces in respect of outstanding “Earned Dollar Allowances” and other relevant bills is highly appreciated by PACOM. PACOM feels strongly that a forensic audit of the UN Dollar Account in respect of Ghana’s peace keeping operations is imperative.

Alternatively, PACOM feels that the audit reports, available should be scrutinized and the appropriate actions taken. 

Where individuals, whether Ministers, Generals, Colonels or civilians are found to be involved in any inappropriate actions, the right due process must be activated to deal with them. 

PACOM feels that the first option should be the refund of these monies to the appropriate Accounts of the Ghana Armed Forces before any prosecutions are made. 

The major concern of PACOM is retrieval of these funds and subsequent prosecutions or punishments to serve as deterrents to would be offenders or persons vested with the right to keep, withdraw and use funds from the Peacekeeping Dollar Accounts. 

It should not be business as usual. It should not be based on ethnicity or political vendetta.

Any appropriate actions should be based on Ghana’s and the Armed Forces interests. 

Ghana and the Ghana Armed Forces need Dollars and Cedis urgently for real development!!!