Gambia must take note that Ghana Loses US$3 billion to Corruption a Year
Written by Zdravko Ljubas and Momodou Camara
Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and President Adama Barrow of The Gambia
Despite being one of the least corrupt countries in Africa, Ghana is annually losing billions to graft – a menace that keeps people poor and shatters their dreams, officials said last week. Ghana’s anti-graft body, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), which is Transparency International’s Local Chapter, warned that the country “loses close to US$3 billion to corruption annually,” GhanaWeb news portal reported on Wednesday. The outlet cited GII Executive Director Linda Ofori-Kwafo, who stressed that successive governments have attempted to minimise corruption through “moral crusades to uphold high ethics, the confiscation of properties found to have been acquired through corruption or public reforms,” but that there is still a long way ahead to fight the problem. While most of the countries of the continent are awash with corruption, tiny Ghana is according to Transparency International (TI) Corruption Index among the least corrupt countries of the continent. A recent corruption scandal serves as an example for acts that leave “citizens in poverty, joblessness, in their broken homes and with shattered dreams,” said a statement, issued by the The National House of Chiefs, the highest body in Ghana that unites all traditional rulers, chiefs and kings. The scandal erupted when the Government decided to hand over the country’s power supply system to independent foreign power producers. Because of this, the “demand for electricity never went up at the anticipated rate due to tariff increases and slow economic growth,” according to the Business Weekly research. Instead, the plants ended up producing excess capacity, as, reportedly, the installed capacity, according to the Energy Commission of Ghana, is 5,083MW, “almost double the peak demand of 2,700MW, out of which 2,300MW has been contracted on a take-or-pay basis, which means that Ghana is contractually obliged to spend money for excess capacity that is not being consumed.” This meant that Ghana’s Government is paying more than US$500 million every year for unused electric power. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was criticised for giving away the country’s strategic company – the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to a group of friends, politicians and businessmen allegedly linked to his administration. Member of Parliament Alhaji Inusah Fuseini described the case as a “disappointment and failure towards the fight against corruption.”
The Gambia has a lot to learn from Ghana and make amends and improvements in all sectors. The Gambia is languishing deep down, down, below Ghana in the Transparency International Ratings (TIR) but is also signaling all the figments of corruptions that are inherent in Ghana and by extension even more. The Gambia must begin to look at the cost of electricity despite it become stable for best part of Barrow’s reign so far. There are still the issues of high cost of electricity in The Gambia. My cash power meter runs like Usain Bolt and is a concern! A family of about twelve people in three congested self-contained house spend GMD200 daily on electricity. That is a staggering GMD6,000 per address per month. Looking at our average monthly earnings this is a rip-off for most Gambians! There also the issue of sustainability of the electricity supplies when the Turkish boats of Karpowernicz (excuse my spelling) leaves town. There is also the issue of the undisclosed cost of hiring these two boats supplying electricity. There is also the issue of the contracts with SENELEC of Senegal. There is also the lack of disclosure as to what concrete steps that the Barrow Government in the lead of the Ministry of Energy and NAWEC in the building of permanent and lasting power plants for the generation of electricity here in The Gambia. How about update on the International pledges to help the Gambia and how much has been harness to solve our electricity supply woes? Where is the taskforce responsible for making all those international pledges and commitments? When are they going to call the press again and brief us about what has been and has not been realized in the National Development Plan and which country, which bloc, which authority or organisation pledged what and did or did not give and if did not give why? Gambians deserved to know! We employ people to serve us and we are of the commitment that they know how to push pen and have what it takes to harness those pledges for The Gambia. The pseudo technocrats must be honest to make way for those who know and can deliver for The Gambia, Our Homeland. We need seasoned technocrats in the lead of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs to turn those pledges into liquid cash and grants for the Gambia and Gambians? We also witnessed the signing of the GG-BP offshore oil hunts and the rest of it. Oil has set ablaze most African countries that stuck it and I hope Gambia will learn from their mistakes. I was not impressed and the last time I saw them on QTV parading the BP deal I was gob smacked. I saw the ‘doogoo-doogoo’ crew at the MOFEA with their eyes wide open and nodding their heads like pilots circumventing Mount Kilimanjaro into Arusha International Airport, with little or no clue about oil and its attendant deals and protocols. I am of the view that we are much unprepared and not even ready to exploit our oil reserve if any. To cut a long story short, the electricity boom contracts and the discovery of oil and BP’s coming to explore it are all high, high, high flash points of corruption and all Gambians need to stay vigilant. All I can tell whoever is involved please READ THE SMALL PRINTS, AS THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS AND THE RIGHTS, DUES AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE WHOLE NATIONS IS IN THE SMALL PRINTS! The Senegal “TIMIS AND SUBA” thing should serve as a reminder. Do not sit in those signing ceremonies for just your percentages and kick-backs; the future of every Gambian is in your hands! We have a lot to learn from Big Brother Ghana! Good Night! Gambia for All and All Children are Equal under the Sun! No to corruption and no to abuse of office and all Gambians must be ready to embrace Democracy. We have a great chance to build a new and good country but we must be honest in our service to Mother Gambia. This is the age of good governance, democracy and term limits to Presidency tenures. This is also the age of free press and 50 + 1 % in winning the pools for any party. The CRC must help us and help every Gambian realize these lofty ideals! Forward with a free corruption Gambia!