I have already publicly pleaded for his removal from the Management Board of the Bui Dam Project (BDP) and his prompt and unreserved prosecution; and so I am not going to belabor this point in this article (See “Asiedu-Nketia Must Be Removed from Bui Board and Prosecuted!” Ghanaweb.com 2/19/11).
What is significant here are the rather mundane and downright pedestrian reasons that the General-Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) gives for unconscionably milking the government and people of Ghana, in the case of his price-gouging shenanigans vis-à-vis the Bui Dam Project, and for deciding to venture into politics. In either instance, Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia does not seem to have a leg to stand on.
In the Bui Dam case, there is a glaring conflict of interest which both Messrs. Asiedu-Nketia and Jabesh Amissah-Arthur, the Chief Executive Officer of the BDP, refuse to acknowledge. The problem is further complicated by the fact that the Management Board of the Bui Dam Project curiously appears not to be interested in controlling the cost of construction of the dam and its township, and thus the moral and imperative need to saving the government and the Ghanaian taxpayer money.
We know this because Mr. Amissah-Arthur, in rather lamely defending Mr. Asiedu-Nketia, nonchalantly noted that both the Bui Board and the BDP Authority were less concerned with the prices of building materials than the ready accessibility of the same. It is also interesting that in defending the above-market pricing of his cement blocks to the Bui Dam Authority (BDA), the NDC’s chief scribe cynically noted that such pricing was purely based on the supposedly superior quality of his products vis-à-vis those of his competitors.
That Mr. Asiedu-Nketia does not produce any scientific evidence, such as product certification from the National Standards Board, to back up the rather subjective evaluation of his own products, must give the Ghanaian taxpayer great cause for concern. So far, the Atta-Mills government has yet to make its opinion on this question publicly known – or maybe, the Government simply has no qualms about the matter. Or it could very well be that the Government is awaiting a formal petitioning of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) by a private citizen and a written notification from CHRAJ before responding in any form or kind.
In the case of media allegations claiming that the NDC chief scribe has erected two “mansions’ barely two years after the Mills-Mahama government was sworn into office, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia offers the sort of cynical answer that most Ghanaians have either known and/or suspected all along. Which is that Mr. Asiedu-Nketia left the teaching field after only four years and eventually ended up in our National Assembly as a pure and simple matter of lining his pocket, rather than sacrificing his cranial and corporeal resources for the collective uplift and development of the country.
On the latter score, this is what we recently learned from the proverbial horse’s own mouth: “Is it surprising for somebody who has worked as a Member of Parliament (MP) for 12 years, a deputy minister for Food and Agriculture for four years, bank manager for five years, stock broker for five years and a teacher for four years to build a mansion?” And even more damningly: “What do you think my children, my wife, and my extended family, friends and well-wishers would have told me if after all these years, I am unable to build a mansion?” (See “Gen. Mosquito Insists New Mansion from His ‘Sweat’” Daily Guide 3/7/11).
The keyword here, of course, is “Mansion,” as opposed to a “House.” And since the news article in reference does not provide us with any architectural or even pictorial dimensions, not much can be spoken to this aspect of the matter. Suffice it, however, to eerily note that Mr. Asiedu-Nketia appears to have long anticipated his party leader’s third “State-of-the-Nation Address,” especially that portion of the address which exuberantly counseled Ghanaians to “Think Big.” Now we all know at whose expense it pays for key NDC operatives like Mr. Asiedu-Nketia to think big.
“General Mosquito” is also alleged to own two “mansions” of identical scale and architecture, respectively, in the Oyarifa suburb of Accra and the Daaban Panyin suburb of Kumasi. The NDC scribe has, reportedly, denied owning the Kumasi landed property, even though neighbors and those familiar with the local landscape claim otherwise. All that needs to be done to establish ownership of the Daaban Panyin property is for critics interested in justice to consult with the Department of Urban Planning as well as undertake some basic investigative sleuthing. The worst case scenario could be that like the scandalous case of NDC’s Mr. P. V. Obeng several years ago, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia may well have registered the “mansion” in the name of one of his children, or even his Canadian-resident “hardworking” wife.
And if the Daaban Panyin “mansion” just happens to have been erected by the ghost of a mosquito, rather than a real and living mosquito, then, by all means, why not have the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) put it to more profitable use?
Needless to say, Ghanaians of far less social status and political prominence, albeit also far more honest and diligent than our subject of debate, have been known to have acquired even more impressive properties. The problem in this case, even as the Daily Guide reporter rightly points out, is the fact that unlike the hypothetically far less politically connected and privileged, “It is [verifiably] on record that Mr. Asiedu-Nketia could not build a mansion of his choice [as he would have Ghanaians and the rest of the world believe] all this while until the NDC returned to power [in 2009].”
And on the preceding score, it goes without saying that the opposition New Patriotic Party is in the process of having one of the best electioneering campaign scripts written for it by one of the most prominent and incurably self-serving “Social Democrats” of the ruling National Democratic Congress. Is there any wonder that Mr. Asiedu-Nketia has been tactically scheming for the presidential candidacy of Col Gaddafi’s most famous cook and former Ghanaian first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings? Folks, it is all about damage-controlling distraction, stupid!
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and author of “The Obama Serenades” (Lulu.com, 2011) and “Selected Political Writings” (Lulu.com, 2008).