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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Umuro Wario’s reinstatement at Kenya’s Youth Fund is a victory for public officers committed to fighting corruption

The government’s decision to reinstate Mr. Umuro Wario to continue serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund should be highly lauded. It’s a point of victory for public officers who risk their jobs by committing themselves to fight corruption.

Kenya’s biggest problem with the war against corruption has always been having the corrupt have their day whenever they fight back. This has happened to so many competent people before. A number of committed and hardworking officers have often lost their jobs whenever they showed determination to fight graft. A few years back it was confirmed that in Kenya, corruption fights back. It happened to Goldenberg whistle blower David Munyakei who lost his job and died in agony after he revealed how Kenyans had lost billions of shillings through the Goldenberg scandal. The same nature of machinations worked so hard to remove true anti corruption crusaders from transparency international. It was such kind of behind the scene political games by some board members that two very competent CEO’s Mwalimu Mati and Gladwell Otieno were consecutively removed from TI Kenya. Transparency International is just one example among many where officers committed to sincerity end up losing their jobs because of the greed and immorality of some of the board members of those institutions.

The minister in charge must be lauded for taking a bold action and making the truth carry its day by re appointing Mr. Wario. The minister has shown that if we all work for the truth, the just will always get justice too.

The initial sacking of Mr. Wario was like condemning those who fight corruption within the institutions where they work. This is because the ground of dismissal was based on the fact that he didn’t cooperate in the approval of some questionable deals pushed by the board. He must be lauded for standing strong in the interest of Kenyan youth when he refused to approve a ‘loan’ of ksh.300million to a Canadian NGO. Its noticeable that some politically connected board members wanted to use their political influence to blackmail the CEO into approving projects that mattered to their own selfish interests and not in the interest of the Kenyan youth.

It’s important that the minister was able to rescind her own earlier move of sacking the YEDF CEO after finding out the truth.

As the minister appoints new board members it’s important to ensure that new faces are put on the board to make the YEDF operate without any external coercion from various political interests as it has been before. The minister should now move to ensure that the board is fully reconstituted to include people who will work in the interest of the Kenyan youth and not those who will end up arm-twisting the CEO to give’ loans’ to foreign NGOs. A new board I believe will come up with a new way of implementing the youth projects and also oversee the funding of the youth groups by merit and not through political manipulations.

Wario is one of the competent young people who are emerging in providing leadership in different sectors of our economy and it’s wrong for individuals to use tribalism or any other form of bigotry to sabotage such talents. He is also is famed for having rolled out the audit of the Kenya’s free primary education when he worked for the ministry of education.

I really wish that other ministers and government officials emulate the youth and sports minister Prof. Hellen Sambili and stand and support the truth always whenever circumstances of this nature arise. Through this, we shall achieve a lot in our war against nepotism and all other forms of corruption. It must be fought from all corners and sacking public officers who help fight it is not one of the methods of ridding our society of graft.


Tuesday, 20 October 2009

GHANA: P.V Obeng: I took no bribe

Paul Victor Obeng: My hands are clean.
Paul Victor Obeng: My hands are clean.
I think it is completely false and unfounded. I cannot see the ex-president stooping so low as to do what he is reported to have done. And in any case, it was never discussed in government that we should grant monopoly and no monopoly indeed was granted to SCANCEM.
P.V. Obeng

A former Presidential Adviser under the NDC, Mr. Paul Victor Obeng has denied allegations that he took bribe from a Norwegian Cement Company SCANCEM to facilitate the sustenance of GHACEM's monopoly in Ghana.

An official of SCANCEM previously stationed in Africa who is being prosecuted in Norway for embezzlement is reported to have told the trial court in Norway that he paid over four million dollars into two separate accounts purportedly owned by P.V. Obeng and former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings as bribe.

Media publications from the court proceedings have suggested that P.V Obeng admitted taking over 2 million dollars from the company but explained that it was payment for consultancy services he rendered.

But speaking to Joy News’ Evans Mensah from London, Mr. Obeng denied ever making any such admissions.

“I could have kept the fact that I have done some work for them, but I think that one has to be open, sincere and truthful. Sometime after I left office I set up my consultancy company and indeed I have served various companies in this same kind of capacity, even though some of them have been on short term basis.

“I was approached by this company after I had left office and after I had set up my company in 1997 to be on retainership and to provide consultancy services not just about their perspectives in Ghana but all in Africa. I did this work two clear years after I had left government.”

PV said he was paid by the company either in cash or by cheques, but he was not in a position to tell if the company did establish an account in his name through which it saved or sent money for his payments.

Asked how the company delivered the money meant for his payment, PV said periodically when the SCANCEM officials came down for board meetings with GHACEM, he held appraisal meetings with them on their portfolio here and other matters, and if any payment was due that was ‘when they did it’.

PV said he would not know what motivated the SCACEM CEO to allege that he was paying bribes to him and Nana Konadu. “I really honestly would not know why he would say a thing like this.”

Told that the suspect says he paid the money to him, Nana Konadu and ex-President Rawlings so the company’s monopoly in the production and distribution of cement in the country would be sustained, PV said it was completely false.

“I think it is completely false and unfounded. I cannot see the ex-president stooping so low as to do what he is reported to have done. And in any case, it was never discussed in government that we should grant monopoly and no monopoly indeed was granted to SCANCEM.”

PV told Joy News his consultancy for the company was to assess policy direction and advise on how it affected their operations so they could make the necessary adjustments and also putting his ears on the ground for complaints and measures to address them, as well as human resource positions.

GHANA:‘I Took Cash from Baba Kamara’ -Sipa Yankey

The toppled Minister of health, Dr George Adjah-Sipa Yankey, has admitted for the first time that he financially benefitted from Mabey and Johnson (M&J), a United Kingdom(UK) based construction firm accused of bribing Ghanaians officials under the Jerry John Rawlings administration.Mabey and Johnson worked in the country in the 1990s during the era of ex-President Rawlings when President John Evans Atta mills was the vice President and Chairman of the country’s Economic Management Team.

Dr Sipa Yankey, then Director of Legal Services at the Finance Ministry, however explained that the money (£15,000) he took from the company was not a bribe but a gift freely offered him for a job well done.

The money was paid into his London account.On or about 29th October 1996, Amadu Seidu, who also resigned and was a Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Roads and Highways, received (£5000 in his Woolwich account held in St. Peter Port. Guernsey and Dr George Sipa Yankey received £10,000 in his Midland Bank account at Hill Street, London W1.

Dr Yankey, who was convicted over the Quality Grain scandal where an American woman was given over $20 million to grow rice, told Hello FM in Kumasi on Saturday after his resignation that he was approached to do an arbitration work when the M&J Directors in the UM had problems with their local agent, Danny Ofori-Atta of NDC/EGLE party.

According to the ex-convict, Baba Kamara, a former Deputy National Treasurer of the NDC and High Commissioner designate to Nigeria who was the new local agent of M&J in Ghana, together with other officials, approached him for the arbitration work, an exercise he voluntarily agreed to do without a fee while serving at a ministry that was dealing with the corrupt British firm.The immediate past Health Minister said because the problem was so huge to the extent that it nearly halted the work of the company, he had to spend a number of sleepless nights working around the clock to ensure that the dispute was amicably settled.

The deposed minister stated that the company was excited when he successfully resolved the impasse and therefore wanted to show appreciation for his efforts by offering him money. Dr Yankey noted that because he did not charge any fee before undertaking the exercise and that he did the work with a view to reviving the company, he severally rejected the offer.He said at one point, Baba Kamara and some officials of the company came to his office and entreated him to accept something small for them as appropriate for his service, but he sternly refused.According to him, Baba Kamara following up to his residence one weekend and pleaded with him to accept the offer and that if he would not personally use the money, he could donate it to charity.

He disclosed that Baba Kamara, after successfully pleading with him to accept the offer, then asked for his bank account which he readily gave to him for onward depositing of the money.Daily Guide learnt that an amount of £15,000 which was Dr Yankey’s share of the Mabey and Johnson booty, was paid into his foreign account in the UK.Ironically, Dr Yankey who was forced by President Mills to resign over the weekend, stressed that he had never received bribe and that he comes from a decent family whose member would not stoop so low in that regard.

He said if he would ever be interested in receiving bribes, he would go for bigger offers and not £15,000.Emphasizing that he was a well-to-do man who did not live on bribes, he noted that he had a son who was a cardio surgeon at the New York University Hospital in the United States and a daughter who was a designer in Canada.According to him, immediately he assumed office as Minister of health in February this year, his son asked him to forfeit his salary and that he was ready to pay him $10,000 a month. Against this background, Dr Yankey noted that he had never taken his salary since he assumed office and that instead of even living in a government bungalow, he was rather staying at his own residence.

He accused the New Patriotic Party (NPP) of masterminding the Mabey and Johnson bribery scandal that led to his overthrow from office, indicating that his excellent performance in office was a threat to the NPP.Stressing that he would defiantly be back in government to serve the nation, Dr Yankey said he was ready to do anything possible to clear his name even if he had to travel to the UK to fight his case. He passionately appealed to president Mills to appoint Dr Benjamin Kumbuor, Deputy Minister of health as his replacement, pointing out that the legal luminary was a fine brain who could easily fill the vacuum his overthrow had created at the ministry.

Meanwhile, Francis Emile Short, Commissioner of human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), HAS TOLD Kessben FM in Kumasi that his outfit is ready to investigate the alleged bribery scandal involving some ministers of state and other government officials.He said even before President Mills referred the matter to them, his outfit had already contacted the British High Commission for some information regarding the issue so that they could investigate the matter.

Source:Daily Guide


TWO constituency chairmen of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the Ashanti region, are helping the police in their investigations into the alleged extortion of various monies from employees of Zoomlion in the Afigya Kwabre district.

Messrs Osei Bosie and D.Y. Kwarteng, chairmen for Kwabre West constituency and Afigya Sekyere constituency respectively are said to have connived with the local Supervisor of Zoomlion, Mr. Yaw Boakye, to extort a total amount of GH¢11,900 from 169 employees of Zoomlion in the district.

Twenty of the employees paid GH¢100.00 each to the chairmen, while the remaining 149 workers contributed about GH¢66.00 each.

The Chronicle has gathered that the said monies were meant to grease the palms of some top officials who allegedly facilitated the employment of the workers.

The District Chief Executive, Mr. Kaakyire Oppong Kyekyeku, confirmed the story when this reporter contacted him.

According to him, he had already ordered that the extorted monies be refunded. He however said the directive does not stop the police action to investigate the case.

Our sources indicated that the Zoomlion supervisor and his accomplices managed to manipulate salary vouchers of the workers to make it appear as if the company owed its workers four months salary arrears, instead of three months.

The three persons are said to have positioned themselves at the premises of the Afrancho branch of the Sekyere Rural bank, so that they would collect one month's salary from any of the workers who collected his or her accumulated salary.

When some party executives were informed about the deal, a formal complaint was lodged with the police at Boamang, upon which the persons involved were interrogated pending further investigations.

In a related development, the Boamang Police have mounted a search for Mr. Osei Bosie, Kwabre West constituency of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for allegedly masterminding the assault of Mr. Ben Kusi, the constituency vice chairman, by a group of thugs last Sunday at Kodie.

Bosie, who feels threatened by the ambition of his vice for the chairmanship position in the impending constituency polls, is said to have engaged some thugs to beat up his lieutenant at the residence of the District Chief Executive, without any provocation.

When the police got to Bosie's Buoho residence early one Tuesday morning, the constituency chairman had absconded with his vehicle - registration number GR 4334 R. As a result, the police have declared the NDC chairman wanted, in order to face assault charge in a court of law.

It all started when Mr. Kusi was prevented from attending a meeting of constituency executives at the DCE's residence.

The constituency Youth Organizer, one Seth, is said to have refused Kusi entry into the DCE's residence where a meeting of constituency executives was supposed to take place that Sunday afternoon.

In the ensuing commotion, followers of Kusi and the constituency chairman engaged in a bloody clash. It took the intervention of Offinso police and reinforcement from the Striking Force Unit of the Ghana Police Service in Kumasi, to prevent the lynching of Mr. Kusi.

The District Security Committee, headed by the DCE Mr. Kaakyire Oppong Kyekyeku, has met to see the way forward towards the security situation in the district.
Source: Sebastian R. Freiku Kumasi - Ghanaian Chronicle

GHANA:Politicians, others milk PSC Tema Shipyard dry

Grim revelations from an internal audit on the accounts of West Africa’s biggest dry dock facility, PSC Tema Shipyard, have been livened by the Chief Finance Officer of the company in his response to major issues raised in the audit report.

In a 115-point response statement issued by the Chief Finance Officer, Mohamaed Ismail Bin Lebai Sulaiman, who is currently on suspension, the company set up dummy companies through which thousands of dollars and Ghana cedis were paid to some highly placed people.

These companies, after they were set up, never delivered any service to the PSC Tema Shipyard but only served as conduits for the payment of money to mainly politicians and the police.

Mr Sulaiman's 115-point statement was in response to queries raised in the internal audit report on the company's business transactions.

In the internal audit report, the company is alleged to have entered into a deal in which it paid SBT Resources Associates a sum of $285,000 ostensibly to facilitate the operations of PSC Tema Shipyard.

These included facilitating the dry dock company’s expression of interest as an operator of Takoradi Port Shipyard for a fee of $150,000, reviewing and identifying outstanding obligations of a Joint Venture Agreement between PSC Tema Shipyard and the government of Ghana for a fee of $10,000 and submitting records to government for free zone status for PSC Tema Shipyard for a fee of $100,000.

According to the report, “apart from the fact that the fees payable [were] excessive in relating to the services to be provided, it is doubtful if the consultant [had] the capacity to do all the work involved.”

A check on the background of SBT Resources Associates indicated that they are mainly registered to deal in Agriculture Technology, agricultural machinery, distribution of agricultural equipment and debt collection, the report indicated.

But in the Chief Finance Officer’s response, “the scope of work or services to be rendered by SBT in the contract was not carried out.”

In fact, the money paid to SBT Resources Associates was not for any services but to enable a certain Ben Tetteh to block a supposed bill drafted by the then NPP government to be placed before Parliament for the take-over of the company which was divested to some Malaysians in 1997.

According to Mr Sulaiman, Ben Tetteh produced documentary proof to show that the government was going to place a bill before Parliament to take over the company and advised him to make some money available for him (Ben) to 'see' some people to block the bill.

He claimed Ben Tetteh even took him to meet with Mr P.V. Obeng at the International Conference Centre sometime in December last year as part of efforts to block the so-called bill.

The Chief Finance Officer also intimated that Ben Tetteh also took $10,000 - captured in the books as facilitation for free trade zone application - to try and influence the National Labour Commission to get the then agitating workers off the backs of management.

The Maritime and Dock Workers Union at the time had been advocating the expulsion of the Malaysian managers of the company accusing them of running the company down and failing to inject capital into it contrary to the acquisition agreement in 1997.

To get the workers off the back of management, they paid $10,000 to Ben Tetteh to go and 'see' the labour commission to probably issue a fiat to the workers to 'leave management alone'.

Christmas rice and chicken for police

Suleiman’s witness statement also admits “protocol payments” were paid to some 60 policemen who were maintaining security at the shipyard when unionized workers of the company were interdicted for carrying out an industrial action against what they said were poor conditions of work in December last year.

Additionally, the police officers, including CIDs, were paid GH¢9,000 in lieu of chicken and rice for the Christmas celebrations last year. It further admitted that some GH¢3000 was used as “payment to the regional commander and his deputy.”

According the Chief Finance Officer these payments were necessary as the regional commander and his men had been threatening to pull out police force maintaining security at the shipyard.

Another dig the finance officer revealed was that the Inspector General Police (IGP) during the period of the interdiction first received GH¢10,000 to ensure security at the yard.

The IGP is alleged to have subsequently ordered the then Tema Regional Police Commander, Mr Adeloya, to beef up security at the shipyard.

Ameyaw Akumfi fingered

In its investigations on the establishment of the Keta Shipping Service, the internal auditors stated that the company “was given a vague description of service – provide professional, skilled and unskilled labour upon written request of PSC Tema Shipyard.”

According to the auditors, “within two months a whopping sum of GH¢53,500 had been paid to Keta Shipping Service under very suspicious circumstances.” The auditors maintained the nature of the business of the Keta Shipping Service was completely at variance with the services allegedly rendered.

The company, according to the audit report, was formed to as means of getting funds to some highly-placed political figures.

The Chief Finance Officer in his response mentioned the former Minister for Ports and Habours, Prof. Ameyaw Akumfi who had been asking him “for money or donations especially prior to the elections.

“With that in mind, Keta was formed,” Suleiman said in his reaction to the audit report, adding “some of the profits from this business [could] be channeled to the former minister.”

According to the audit report, although the shipyard has the potential to make appreciable profits, several flagrant violations of internal control systems and procedures have resulted in what it called an “economic haemorrhage.”

Meanwhile Joy News sources can confirm that the Commissioner for the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has expressed interest in the internal report and could launch an investigation into its findings.

Story by Fiifi Koomson/

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

African Leaders At The UN summit

They started dozing after discussion on developmental aid.

When they were deliberating on energy and power, they were sleeping.
  • When they were deliberating on economic development, they were sleeping.
  • When they deliberated on food security, they were asleep.
  • When they fixed interest rate on debtor's (African) loans, they were asleep.
  • When they deliberated on conflict resolution through dialogue they were already snoring.
 They only woke up, to support motion for adjournment and signed the communique.

Of course!, they need rest, they worked tirelessly back home clamping down their opponents and critics.

They spent the night strategising on the next move to subdue their opponents, embezle more resources.  

Back home,airports were closed 2hrs before their arrival, motor-ways were blocked 1hr ahead, Armed Policemen stood guard 8hrs before arrival. Rented crowd clamoured under sun to cheer them up, WHAT HAVE THEY BROUGHT HOME?

Monday, 12 October 2009

Corruption in Kenya:How to ruin a country

...John Githongo fought the corruption that is destroying Kenya but was defeated

THIS is the tale of the tragic failure of a brave and honest man appointed to expose corruption by a new Kenyan president who came to power on a wave of high-minded enthusiasm in late 2002, claiming to be a clean-handed reformer. Within a few years the brave man, John Githongo, is betrayed by the president, Mwai Kibaki, and by most of the big man’s closest colleagues, many of whom prove themselves to be patently corrupt. Mr Githongo is at first intensely loyal to Mr Kibaki, who gives him an office down the corridor in State House. But the whistleblower comes to realise that the president acquiesces in corruption of the grossest kind, and flees for his life into exile.

There is far more to this gripping saga than that. It is a down-to-earth yet sophisticated exposé of how an entire country can be munched in the clammy claws of corruption. It is also a devastating account of how corruption and tribalism—the author prefers the grander term ethno-nationalism—reinforce each other, as clannish elites exploit collective feelings of jealousy or superiority in an effort to ensure that their lot wins a fat, or the fattest, share of the cake. Hence the book’s title: “It’s our turn to eat”.
Mr Githongo, who reported for The Economist (among other journals) in the 1990s, is portrayed by the author, an outstanding former Financial Times journalist, to whose house in London he fled, as a complex character: jovial, moody, dogged, ingenious and understandably obsessive. Through his prism, the author describes Kenya’s history over the past two decades, “probing the roots of a dysfunctional African nation”.

After independence in 1963, Jomo Kenyatta and his mainly Kikuyu inner circle steadily plundered the country, ensuring that their fellow Kikuyus and closely related Meru and Embu groups, together comprising some 28% of Kenya’s people, acquired an ever-larger slice of the land. After his death in 1978, his successor, Daniel arap Moi, who hailed from the much smaller Kalenjin-speaking group of tribes, reckoned it was their turn to eat—and how. Eventually, in 2002, in what looked like a pan-ethnic revolt against Mr Moi’s lot, Mr Kibaki, another Kikuyu, won a multiparty election amid hopes that Kenya would at last have a decent, reasonably clean administration in which merit rather than tribe would be the way to advancement. Mr Githongo’s appointment as the government’s anti-corruption tsar was hailed as a happy sign of intent.

No such luck. Mr Githongo almost immediately spotted a massive scam, to be known after a murky company called Anglo-Leasing, that creamed off some $750m mainly by overbilling the state—with ministerial connivance—in some 18 projects. He noted that more than half of these scams had originated in Mr Moi’s era but had deftly been carried over into the new and supposedly clean one. It soon became clear that not only were some of the most senior ministers in the government involved but also that the president was unwilling to do anything about it.

Moreover, as Mr Githongo made secret tapes of conversations with these villains, two more things became equally clear. The main perpetrators, bound by a tight code of ethnic solidarity, flagrantly appealed to him, as a fellow Kikuyu, to be loyal to his tribe. He also realised, even after he had fled into exile, that this so-called “Mount Kenya Mafia” was determined to use some of its ill-gotten gains to fill its party’s coffers in an effort to win the general and presidential elections due at the end of 2007. This group would stop at nothing to hold on to power.

In the event, when it seemed that Raila Odinga, the populist presidential candidate whose campaign was full of anti-Kikuyu innuendo, was winning the race in late 2007, the old guard around Mr Kibaki set about fiddling the result, prompting riots and ethnic massacres around the country in which some 1,500 perished and at least 300,000 were displaced. After two months of turmoil and political paralysis, a shabby and unwieldy compromise was reached under the aegis of the UN’s former secretary-general, Kofi Annan, whereby Mr Kibaki held on to the presidency while Mr Odinga became prime minister.

Kenya, meanwhile, had been torn apart as never before. Mr Odinga, like President Barack Obama’s father, is a Luo, Kenya’s third-most-populous group, which fiercely considered that it was its “turn to eat”. It had grievously missed out under two Kikuyu-dominated administrations and under Mr Moi’s Kalenjin one.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the book is the dismal performance both of the World Bank and of Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID). The bank has been indulgent towards Kenya’s leaders and inept when it tried to do something about their corruption. There was a “dangerous cosiness” between the bank and Kenya’s government.

For the current British government, the book is even more disturbing. A flagship of Tony Blair’s New Labour, DFID was a new ministry no longer subordinate, as its predecessors had been, to the Foreign Office. It disbursed cash for aid far more abundantly than ever before and with fewer strings, betokening a determination to “end poverty”. As Michela Wrong puts it, the amount of money which it disbursed became “the only solid yardstick of progress, hardly a situation likely to encourage discrimination amongst officials responsible for approving projects”. When Britain’s then high commissioner to Kenya, Sir Edward Clay, one of a small band of righteous heroes in the book, spoke out courageously against corruption, his DFID counterparts did their best to undermine him.

A year after the corrupt election fiasco of late 2007 and early 2008, nothing fundamentally has changed. Almost all the top ministers and civil servants fingered by Mr Githongo are still in office; so is Mr Kibaki. Even if Mr Odinga were president, as the majority of voters almost certainly intended him to be, few Kenya-watchers would be confident that the basics would have changed, except that a new elite would be “eating” better. The mixture of greed and ethnic exploitation is as potent and combustible as ever: a sorry state of affairs.
Source: The Economist

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