CDD Corruption Watch Indicts Ministers & Others In Vote-buying

Communications Director of the NPP Communications Director of the NPP

A new report by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD Ghana), through its anti-corruption campaign platform, Corruption Watch, has indicted some top government officials, including Ministers in the Akufo-Addo government for inducing voters in the recently-held parliamentary primaries of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) with money, TV sets, insurances policies and other freebees to get their nod.

The investigative piece, as published, focuses on the Greater Accra, Eastern, Central and Bono regions captured notable names like the Communications Director of the NPP, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, Minister of State in charge of Procurement, Sarah Adwoa Safo, who doubles as Deputy Majority in Parliament and Ghana's High Commissioner to India, Mike Oquaye Jnr.

Also captured were Deputy Minister of Communications, George Andah; Eastern Regional Minister, Kwakye Darffuor; and Deputy Minister for Education, Gifty Twum-Ampofo.

All of them are said to have allegedly influenced delegates using money and other items to garner votes raising questions of merit and competence.

At Dome Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Safo, is alleged to have given GHS3,000 and a GLICO Life Insurance package worth GHS10,000 to delegates in the primary.

Also mentioned in the second part of the Corruption Watch expose is Madam Safo's contender and Ghana's High Commissioner to India, Michael Aaron Oquaye Jr. who is alleged to have given GHc3,000, a 32-inch Nasco flat screen television set and an Indian-made cloth to 500 delegates.

Both candidates are said to have targeted 500 delegates, the number they needed to win the polls. Citi FM writes that checks by Corruption Watch at GLICO insurance revealed that the packages took from effect June 17, 2020 three days prior to the election and expires on June 16, 2021.

The "Insurance Interest" was for the benefit of "Delegates of the Dome Kwabenya Constituency."

When Mr Oquaye was contacted for his response to the allegations he said, "the election was over and he has put everything about the election behind him. Adwoa Safo, however, failed to respond to the request for comments when the team tried to reach her.

A follow-up letter from the anti-corruption group was submitted to her through the Director of Public Affairs at the Procurement Ministry, Solomon Sasu Mensah. After following up with phone calls to Sasu Mensah, he said Madam Safo "wasn't entertaining visitors over COVID-19 fears."

Corruption Watch stated that they requested a telephone interview but she has still not responded to the calls, a week after the request was made.

In the Adentan Constituency, where incumbent MP, Yaw Buaben Asamoa won the election, by beating four other contenders there were alleged payments in the forms of cash and machinery made to delegates.

Buaben Asamoa, who is also the NPP's National Communications Director, allegedly made some payments to some delegates through his campaign team on the night of June 19, and the morning of the election.

Emmanuel Mantey, who finished as the runner-up to Buaben Asamoa, allegedly distributed GHS 200 to delegates through his agents.

On his part, Rahman Zak, who placed third, purportedly dished out GHS 500 to an unspecified number of delegates through his 'agents' on the day of voting.

Alfred Ababio Kumi, who came fourth, went into the race with a pledge to donate a total of 516 tricycles, known locally as "Aboboyas".

He intended to give 16 fully-funded tricycles to the party to use for income-generation activities in the 16 electoral areas in the constituency.

His reward for delegates was that he would distribute 500 tricycles to 500 delegates, subsidised by 50percent.

Corruption Watch's undercover reporters, could not establish that Freda Agyemang Sarpong, made any offers or actually made any payments to delegates.

When Corruption Watch contacted MP, Buaben Asamoa, he declined to discuss the allegations of offering money to delegates.

He indicated that the primaries were over and he had moved on, but Mantey admitted to giving money to delegates, but said it was not intended to influence the way they voted.

According to him, he gave each delegate an amount between GHS 200-300 to cover their transportation costs. He admitted giving each delegate "a very decent" lunch pack that included water and a beverage, adding that from the day he decided to contest the primaries, he began to invest in all delegates.

He estimated that, each of the over 770 delegates may have benefitted from him to the tune of GHS 3,000 during the past year.

Cumulatively, that works up to a minimum of GHS 2.3 million.

Zak denied giving delegates GHS 500 per person. Instead, he said he only paid GHS 50 and GHS 100 to his agents for transportation.

On the other hand, Alfred Ababio Kumi, admitted making pledges to donate a total of 516 tricycles to the party and delegates.

However, he said this was not an inducement. He disclosed that he has already delivered the first two of the 16 tricycles he is donating to electoral areas in the constituency.

In the Abuakwa North Constituency in the Eastern Region, the incumbent MP and Deputy Minister of Education, Gifty Twum Ampofo, who won the primary, allegedly gave GHS 1,500 and a flat-screen TV set to each delegate.

Her challengers: Mr Kay Amoah ,who polled 116 votes allegedly gave each delegate GHS 500, in addition to a table-top refrigerator or flat-screen TV, while Kofi Obeng also paid GHS 500 to each delegate.

Corruption Watch's undercover reporters, could not establish that Nana Serwaa Acheampong offered any cash or material gifts to delegates.

But when Corruption Watch contacted Gifty Twum Ampofo, for her response, she admitted giving the GHS 1,500 and TV each to delegates, but said she doesn't consider that an inducement, as this is not the first time she has given gifts to delegates in her constituency, citing fridges she gave each delegate during Easter this year.

When Corruption Watch contacted Kofi Obeng, he also admitted giving GHS 500 each to some delegates, but said the money was paid on his behalf by his financier, but said the money was meant to cover the cost of transportation and accommodation for the delegates, some of whom came from distant locations.

All efforts to reach Mr Kay Amoah for his response failed.

Incumbent MP and Eastern Regional Minister, Eric Kwakye Darffuor ran against Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Middle Belt Development Authority, Joyce Opoku Boateng, ex-MPs, Seth Agyei Baah and Kwabena Adusah Okerchiri, Ghana Publishing Company Limited MD, David Boateng Asante, and Nkawkaw Senior High School tutor, Joseph Frimpong.

Joseph Frimpong won the day in the Nkawkaw Constituency, but not without the accusation that he offered each of the 450 selected delegates GHS 2,000 and a flat-screen television or Bruhm refrigerator.

Corruption Watch, learnt that two days to the polls, he initially gave GHS 1,000 to each of the 450 delegates and topped it up with a flat-screen television set or refrigerator depending on the choice of each delegate.

Then, on the day of voting, when news went viral that one of the aspirants was giving GHS 2,000 to delegates, Frimpong's team allegedly moved in to give additional GHS 1,000 to the delegates.

Incumbent MP Eric Kwakye Darffuor, who polled 159 votes and placed second, allegedly gave some money and an item of value to delegates.

Ex-MP and board chairman of MASLOC, Seth Agyei Baah, who garnered 156 and secured third place, also allegedly gave GHS 2000 to each of the 250 selected delegates.

The sole female aspirant and lawyer, Joyce Opoku Boateng, who finished fourth, obtained 82 amidst allegations that she gave GHS 400 each to an unspecified number of delegates.

Eyewitnesses claim that, even though the money was shared to delegates by her campaign coordinator, candidate Opoku Boateng, she was part of the team that personally moved from house to house to give out the money to the delegates.

The claim against David Boateng Asante, who received 73 votes and placed fifth, is that he supposedly gave to each of an unspecified number of targeted delegates GHS 500 plus a gas cylinder and a burner.

Another ex-MP, Kwabena Adusah Okerchiri, polled 28 votes and finished at the bottom of the pack. It is alleged that he gave money to each delegate, but varied the amount as he gave some GHS 200 and others GHS 100 depending on each person's loyalty towards him.

Corruption Watch reached out to them for their response to the allegation of payment of money and items of value to delegates. Joseph Frimpong denied ever distributing money, TV set or refrigerator to delegates and insisted that he was a teacher and the "poorest" among the candidates. He, however, admitted giving "a token" to delegates, which amount he declined to say.

Kwakye Darffuor, refused to discuss the allegations of making payments to delegates. However, he said all politicians commonly know that in every election a candidate, has to provide for the transportation and feeding of delegates.

Responding to the allegations Seth Agyei Baah, told Corruption Watch that he was not in a position to confirm or deny the allegations of sharing GHS 2,000 to 250 delegates. He said he went to an election and lost and wants to get over the shock of losing the election.

In the case of Joyce Opoku Boateng, she admitted giving "everybody" an amount of GHS 400. She explained that it is a practice that during periods such as primaries candidates give an incentive for delegates to know that "you are a person of substance who is coming to be there for them."

Ex-MP Kwabena Adusah Okerchiri, admitted giving money to delegates, but said it was for their "transport and what they would eat."He justified his action, saying that everybody gives something to delegates during elections regardless of which political party is organizing the polls.

"Boateng Asante did not respond to our calls and text messages".

Multiple sources in the Awutu Senya West Constituency of the Central Region, alleged that the campaign team of both candidates gave money to the delegates in the election which incumbent MP and Deputy Minister of Communications, George Andah won.

Mr Andah, parried claims of giving money and other items of value to delegates when contacted by Corruption Watch even though he had said after winning the primary that he gave a "token'' to delegates.

When Corruption Watch contacted Mr Aidoo, he denied giving delegates any money, arguing that he lacks the financial capacity to do that.

According to him, apart from food and drinks which every delegate benefited from, he only gave some delegates transportation each time they had to transport themselves to meet him, adding, the amount per delegate was dependent on the cost of transportation from the individual locations, adding that he gave some as low as GHS 20 as transportation.

In the Bantama primaries, it received a lot of attraction because Francis Asenso-Boakye, deputy chief of staff at the presidency, squared off with incumbent MP Daniel Okyem Aboagye.

It was alleged that many delegates received GHS 2,000 each, but Corruption Watch insists, it has not been able to independently verify the payments and the giver(s) nonetheless, it made contact with both men to respond to the allegations, however, neither of them responded.

The primary in Ejisu Constituency, also in the Ashanti Region, was equally engulfed in allegations of payments of money to delegates as incumbent MP, Kwabena Owusu Aduomi locked horns with the Chief Executive Officer of the National Entrepreneurial and Innovation Programme (NEIP), John Kumah. Again, Corruption Watch reporters could not independently establish the veracity of alleged payments and the supposed giver(s).

The contest in the Nhyaeiso Constituency was a straight fight between incumbent Kennedy Kwasi Kankam and the CEO of MASLOC, Stephen Amoah. Here again, Corruption Watch reporters could not independently establish any incident of payments to delegates.

Corruption Watch, monitored the election in the Wenchi Constituency, where Professor George Gyan Baffour, who is incumbent MP and Minister for Planning, was up against four other persons, namely Albert Ameyaw, Kojo Frempong, Yaw Opoku Atuahene and Tina Abrefa-Gyan.

At the close of polls, Prof Gyan Bafffuor, garnered 172 votes to beat stiff competition from Ameyaw, Frempong, Abrefa Gyan and Opoku Atuahene. Again, Corruption Watch reporters could not independently establish any incident of payments to delegates.

An earlier report by Corruption Watch, highlighted prominent persons like the Deputy MASLOC CEO, Hajia Abibata Shani Mahama Zakaria, Deputy Procurement Officer at COCOBOD, Alhaji Umar Farouk Aliu Mahama, incumbent MP for Kwesimintim Constituency, Joseph Mensah and the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA), Dr. Prince Hamid Armah, detailed how they allegedly influenced delegates.

Source: www.theheraldghana.com