GYEEDA Rot: Are Some Thieves Guiltier than Others?
Nothing about the government’s response to the report on the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) makes sense. According to the report, Roland Agambire, a man with no ministerial portfolio or electoral power ordered the Ministry of Finance to release 50 percent of the Communications Service Tax to companies owned by him and they did. This is besides the interest-free loans and the advance payments given to his companies for the training of young people for jobs which were never done.
Also in the same report, Zoomlion, our premier waste management company colluded with officials of the state to fleece Ghanaians. “Zoomlion is making significant windfall profits at the expense of the tax payer,” the report stated. “Zoomlion’s rates were increased from GHC350 per person to GHC500 with GHC400 going to the company, thus 80% of the rate goes to Zoomlion.”
Both instances show how reckless elected and appointed officials have been with the taxpayers’ money. People without the requisite skills were employed, contracts were simply awarded to cronies and monies paid for programmes that were simply not implemented. The report makes for grim reading and the government’s attitude to it is unbelievable.
Speaking at the Eid-ul-Adha celebration, President Mahama said “we are implementing the recommendations. Those who were indicted in the report, I am happy to say, the CID has invited them and commenced investigations. Dockets will be prepared and given to the Attorney General in order that they will be prosecuted.”
Seems government is implementing the recommendations in bits and that is strange considering the number of young people who have been prosecuted and jailed for petty crimes since the release of the GYEEDA report.
In August a court in Tarkwa sentenced five young men to a total of 30 years imprisonment with hard labour. They stole rubber stumps valued GH¢85,146.03 belonging to the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL).The convicts aged between 20 and 29 years were slapped with a five year jail term each.
Two women, Grace Acquah, 18, and Joyce Nyarko, 27, who stole beads and jewellery worth GH¢12, 000 from a shop were sentenced to a total of 14 years in jail by a Circuit Court in Obuasi.
The Ghana Social Development Outlook 2012 states that the unemployment rate for those aged 15 and 24 is 4.1 percent and only 2 percent of 40,000 graduates from various tertiary institutions are absorbed by the formal sector. 45 percent of Junior High School graduates fail to qualify for placement in Senior High and Technical schools. All these people have to find some means to survive. We don’t need any research to tell us that there is a link between unemployment and crime.
Thus when businessmen deprive thousands of youths a chance at decent livelihood with the help of crooks within the public service, you do not address it in bits.
President Mahama has said the committee’s recommendations are being implemented yet we have not heard a word about refunds. They recommended that Zoomlion and RLG be made to refund monies they were paid for no work done – RLG was overpaid by five million cedis. They also suggested the abrogation and re-negotiation of some contracts, the competitive bidding for projects under GYEEDA as well as the return of unclaimed allowances to government coffers.
It is not enough for President Mahama and his people to keep telling Ghanaians how committed they are to fighting corruption. They need to show their commitment with actions. It won’t hurt to freeze some accounts until some refunds are made. And while they are at it, will someone keep us all informed on the progress of the investigations? This is pretty decided, no need to botch it like Woyome’s.