..Parliament Covers Looting Speakers But Puts Watchman On Trial
Ghana’s Parliament is re-enacting the era in George Orwell’s book titled ‘Animal Farm’, where ‘all animals were equal, but some were more equal than others.’
The hypocrisy of our lawmakers, given the alacrity with which civil servants are hauled before the Albert Kan-Dapaah-led Public Accounts Committee, for irregularities in their accounting procedure, has become glaringly obvious, indicating a reign of selective justice within the law-making body.
When the ex-Speaker of Parliament, Begyina Sakyi-Hughes, looted his official residence upon his exit at the end of his tenure, our lawmakers remained silent; they did not raise a finger in protest of such conduct as a way of setting good standards for others to follow.
The ‘representatives of the people’, interestingly, chose to discuss behind closed-doors a damning report which had revealed how the “kleptomaniac Sakyi-Hughes,’ was instrumental in a shoddy construction work valued at ¢18billion at Parliament House. The building is to be named after his predecessor, the late Peter Ala-Adjetey.
Officials of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) who charged the ex-Speaker sometime in 2009, have been saying that they are unable to prosecute him, because “our hands are tied”.
But with the speed of light, Alhassan Adongo Ali Tanko, a night security man at the Parliament House, has been dispatched to face the law. Ali Tanko is on trial for defrauding by false pretences, forgery of documents and stealing. He is before an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Mrs. Olivia Owusu.
He had earlier used a letter supposedly signed by ex-Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama to secure a job as a night security man in the House. He also posed as the secretary to the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Doe Adjaho, and extorted GH¢ 640 from one Zack Jato of Maamobi under the pretext of assisting his three brothers to secure employment.
One of Jato’s brothers was to be enlisted in the police service, and the other two were to be recruited by the Parliament of Ghana for jobs in Qatar, for which the two needed passports.
Ali Tanko is said to have collected Gh¢640 at Parliament House and handed part over to one Inspector Yeboah of the Parliamentary Protection Unit, to assist Tahiru Seidu, brother of Jato, to be enlisted in the police service, claims vehemently denied by Inspector Yeboah.
Tanko is also said to have collected various sums of money from people he gave the complimentary cards of Mr. Adjaho, addressed to directors of some companies for employment and assistance of various kinds.
Following his arrest on May 25, 2011, a search was conducted at his Ashoman residence where a Lenovo Lap Top Computer, a Dell Desk Top Computer, 45 pieces of complementary cards belonging to Mr. Adjaho, copies of police enlistment forms and certificates bearing the name of Iddrisu Tahiru Seidu, a Ghanaian passport No. G0066364 bearing the name Gladys Nsobila Ampoka and company registration documents of Golden Eye Security Ltd were found.
Upon investigations, the laptop computer was identified as one stolen from the office of Mr. Adjaho in March, 2011.
Miss Ampoka also told the police that her passport got into the hands of Tanko because he promised to help her get a job in Qatar, for which he took her passport and GH¢ 50.00
According to the police, Adongo has conceded taking GH ¢640 from Zack Jato to assist his brothers in getting enlisted in the police service, and securing passports for his other two brothers. But he (Jato) denied having mentioned Inspector Yeboah’s name to him.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Nigeria, a country richer than Ghana, anti-corruption police have arrested ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, over alleged financial impropriety, just two days after his tenure ended.
The former Speaker remained in custody to answer questions on the numerous fraud allegations against him, the spokesman of the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recently said in a statement.
Bankole was picked up from his home ahead of his promised voluntary surrender to answer questions, which had been planned.
EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi said Bankole’s arrest was ordered after intelligence reports showed that “the former Speaker was planning to leave Abuja for Lagos, and thereafter, flee the country through an illegal route”.
The Speaker had resisted arrest after ignoring two earlier summonses for questioning, the anti-corruption agency said.
The agency said it is investigating Bankole for various allegations of corruption, the latest being suspected mismanagement of a 10 billion naira (64.5 million dollars; 44 million Euros) bank loan parliament obtained before the April elections.
“There has been a pending allegation over a three billion-naira cars purchase, there has been another pending over alleged misappropriation of nine billion naira budgetary allocation and there is the latest allegation of misappropriation of 25 billion-naira which is made up of 15 billion budgetary allocation and 10 billion naira which is a loan,” Babafemi told AFP.
By Sedi Bansah