Former Board Chair of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Prof Stephen Adei, has condemend the phenomenon where media 'dogs' are unleashed on anti-corruption crusaders like himself, anytime they call out graft.
Refuting corruption allgegations levelled against him by a particular radio station after he recently called out the Akufo-Addo government on corruption, Prof Adei insisted: "I want to reiterate that corruption is killing the nation. That is incontrovertible".
He said: "The reports of Transparency International (TI) and Afrobarometer are there to testify. And it is not a phenomenon limited to Akufo-Addo regime, nor the Ministry of Roads which the Honourable Amoako Atta himself said is full of 'thieves'".
Also, he said the "recent disturbing new dimension about corruption in Ghana is that, now, in 67% of the cases, according to the 2022 United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime report on corruption in Ghana, the public officials in Ghana demand the bribe bold-facedly upfront."
"That is all I illustrated with the case of the Ministry of Roads because someone that week had cried to me that such a demand was made to him".
He noted: "The phenomenon whereby any comment by a prominent Ghanaian regarding corruption in Ghana is greeted by directing the anti-corruption agencies or social media personnel and so-called TV and radio hosts of politically-aligned media houses to go after them must stop forthwith".
"We should not sit down for people who have contributed to bring Ghana where we are today like Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Sir Sam Jonah, Mr. John Yaw Domelevo, etc. to be taken to the cleaners by 'nunkwams' (nobodies), without in anyway alleging they are without fault".
Read Prof Adei's full statement below:
PRESS RELEASE BY EMERITUS PROFESSOR STEPHEN ADEI
Since I made a statement regarding corruption by public officials, and the let-down of hope of Ghanaians regarding H.E Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration, which was aired on TV3 on 20th October, 2023 there have been calculated lies and misinformation directed at tarnishing my credibility and integrity by obvious agents of the administration parading as journalist like Kwabena Kwakye, the host of the National (actually partisan) Agenda, on Oman FM, which if not responded to may pass as truth by unsuspecting public:
First, I have never joined any political party in my life. Thus, I am not a member of the New Patriotic Party or the National Democratic Congress or any other party. Neither have I ever lobbied for any position within any administration. In the same vein, neither have I refused to serve my country when called upon and I think I have the requisite capacity to do so.
On my return to Ghana after 15 years of international public service and diplomacy, I was appointed Director General of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) when H.E Jerry Rawlings was President in 2000.
I continued as Director General and later First Rector as well as Chairman of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation during the presidency of H.E J. A. Kufuor. I was made a member of the Advisory Board of the Ministry of Finance when H.E Prof Mills was President.
Additionally, I was a member of the Board of the Environmental Protection Council and one of the Co-chairs of the Senchi Consensus during President Mahama’s regime. Similarly, when I was asked to be on the Judicial Council and to Chair the National Development Planning Commission and the Ghana Revenue Authority under H.E Akufo-Addo’s first term I accepted them as a call to service.
NOT ON ONE OCCASION DID I LOBBY TO SERVE OR JOIN A GRAVY TRAIN OF THE CORRUPT.
I want to state explicitly that I have never abused any of the above opportunities or profited from them besides the approved and fees like any other public servant or director.
To me using public office for private gain is corruption and I have hated it since I was saved by Jesus Christ as a teenager.
I want to humbly state that serving my country in all those positions has costs me more than I could earn on my own with the time and thought I have had to devote to the services.
My tax records at GRA, if anyone cares to check. I wouldn’t spend my time on that but for the fact that it is always an honour and privilege to be called upon to serve one’s country for the public good.
I want to state categorically that all the statements of Kwabena Kwakye on the National Agenda, on Oman FM on 24th October 2023, and the likes about my stewardship as Chairman of GRA are absolutely false.
In particular, I want to state that:
• I never awarded a contract to anybody when I was Chairman of GRA let alone to my son. I have two sons. One works in a medical facility in Australia, and one is an Executive Director of a school.
I don’t have any other son out of wedlock to have awarded a contract. In any case, I am hearing for the first time that in Ghana, chairmen of public boards can award contracts to their children, which definitely could be happening on our blind side for such an allegation to be contemplated.
• GRA never bought a four-wheel drive vehicle for me as it is being alleged. Neither did I leave the office of Chairman even with a bicycle tire. Rather, the Board I chaired sought unsuccessfully to end the naked thievery of vehicles and goods by the political elite through the so-called “auction” system which might have offended many.
We tried to end awards of contracts to foreigners where Ghanaians had better capacity. We made sure that Commissioners would not sign contracts on our blind side as allegedly has resurfaced.
We ended a system of promotion by “whom you know” and ensured that competent people got promoted irrespective of alleged party affiliation, etc. We also aimed to raise revenue to GDP ratio to 17.5% and the record of our 15 months in the “lions’ den” is there to show it could be done.
If these are offences, we are proud of them.
It is a total fabrication by Kwabena Kwakye that as Chairman of GRA, I rejected a contract of $5 million in favour of $10 million.
On the contrary we saved the country several millions of dollars a year by ensuring that due process was followed resulting in giving a contract to some young Ghanaian IT specialists at fraction of the cost being incurred by using GCNET or the foreign alternatives that “who is who in Ghana” were pushing on the Authority.
It is known that today, an Indian firm is being considered while the Ghanaian bidders have outbid them technically and financially in open competition.
God help our homeland Ghana and all of us to resist corruption.
• I want every Ghanaian to know that I have no hidden bank accounts. My only foreign account is with the United Nations Credit Union, which ex-employees of the United Nations are allowed to keep.
Anyone interested in my account numbers in Ghana is free to approach me for ease of verification.
The only house I have built in the last 10 years with my wife is our modest building in her hometown. Since I have recently declared all my assets to the Security and Exchange Commission, it would not be a big deal for me to share it with anyone interested and challenge, Kwabena Kwakye and his sponsor, if any, to do the same.
• I want to reiterate that corruption is killing the nation. That is incontrovertible.
The reports of Transparency International (TI) and Afro-Barometer are there to testify. And it is not a phenomenon limited to Akufo-Addo regime, nor the Ministry of Roads which the Honourable Amoako Atta himself said is full of “thieves.”
The recent disturbing new dimension about corruption in Ghana is that, now, in 67% of the cases, according to the 2022 United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime report on corruption in Ghana, the public officials in Ghana demand the bribe bold-facedly upfront.
That is all I illustrated with the case of the Ministry of Roads because someone that week had cried to me that such a demand was made to him.
• If the State wants to have evidence of corruption, let us declare amnesty or pardon for those who report corruption and for Parliament to subsequently make a law to back it as at the moment the victims are equally criminals as the extortioners if they come out.
• As to the prevalence and quantum of corruption money, I go by public information. Transparency International Corruption Indices show there was a marginal drop in corruption in the first years of Akufo-Addo’s regime.
The 2023 report may show otherwise. But given the volume of monies borrowed of about $3 billion a year in the first four years of Akufo-Addo and given the leaky basket of public finance in Ghana, what would have been stolen would be much higher. That is a statistical fact.
In other words, even if the index declines slightly, increasing the size of monies spent leads to bigger loss to corruption. That is, there would be more loss to bribery and corruption, period!
Let me conclude by saying that the phenomenon whereby any comment by a prominent Ghanaian regarding corruption in Ghana is greeted by directing the anti-corruption agencies or social media personnel and so-called TV and radio hosts of politically-aligned media houses to go after them must stop forthwith.
If any public office holder feels someone has impinged on their integrity, if they have any, they are at liberty like any other Ghanaian to seek redress themselves and not to direct “independent agencies” to go after them.
We should not sit down for people who have contributed to bring Ghana where we are today like Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Sir Sam Jonah, Mr. John Yaw Domelevo, etc. to be taken to the cleaners by “nunkwams” (nobodies), without in anyway alleging they are without fault.