GYEEDA Is NDC Campaign ‘Bank’

By Pascal Kafu Abotsi

nana AkThe New Patriotic Party (NPP) has found reason to rejuvenate its cry over the bleeding of corruption in the Mahama-led administration, after the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament recently discovered a budgetary allocation of 20 million cedis for the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), which mysteriously shot up to 200 million cedis.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports was allocated an amount of GH20 million for its activities in 2012, but the Auditor General discovered that the actual money spent was in excess of GH200 million.

When a Deputy Minister of Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson appeared before the Public Accounts Committee last Monday, he said his ministry, which released the money, based on a request, doled out GHc199, 311,753 to GYEEDA through the Ministry of Sports to settle its service providers.

In a release signed and copied to The Chronicle, Nana Akomea, Communications Director of the NPP, said when the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) took over the affairs of the country in 2009, it changed the opposition party’s National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) to GYEEDA, and “since then has become a byword for corruption, a typical example of what one Supreme Court Judge described as ‘create, loot and share’.”

He stressed that the ministerial committee set up to investigate GYEEDA revealed details of “a mind blowing scheme by ministers, officials and chosen so-called service providers to steal tax payer’s monies.”

This, Nana Akomea stated, was done through multiple and repeated fraudulent  contracting, the setting up of fake bank accounts to siphon more taxpayers monies,  gross overpayments  and outright bribery, to the extent that there were instances where the GYEEDA was turned into a credit institution, doling out millions of Ghana cedis as loans to contractors.

“The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, following up on the Auditor General’s 2013 report, yesterday (Tuesday) questioned the release to GYEEDA of over GHc200 million ($100million) ,about 2000% over the budget of GYEEDA, to facilitate the payments for which the investigation Committee recommended prosecutions and refunds,” he emphasised.

The release of the funds which was done in an election year, to the NPP, was questionable and suspicious because the government was on course to record fiscal deficits, and was actually raising bonds on the local market to pay debts.

“This seems to confirm suspicion that the GYEEDA releases were part of the bigger pattern of President Mahama’s government siphoning of taxpayers monies to prosecute their 2012 election campaign.

“In this GYEEDA instance, monies meant for youth employment were siphoned and diverted. Other instances that come into mind include the millions of cedis dissipated through SADA, SUBAH, etc,” the Communications Director explained.

He also hinted that this year, there is talk from government to revamp the now renamed GYEEDA   to create thousands of jobs. “There is real danger this revamp will serve as another conduit for siphoning public funds again in election year 2016,” he stated.

The reluctance of government to prosecute officials who were named for their roles in some fraudulent undertakings, is thus of concern to the elephant family.

After clearly identifying the various ministers and other officials who engaged in this costly misconduct and loss of taxpayers monies, the statement indicated, “Sad to relate, President Mahama’s government has failed woefully in prosecuting the named officials and in retrieving the amounts as recommended by the investigation team.”

“What Ghanaians have witnessed is rather the continuing mismanagement, malpractice and loss of taxpayers’ monies (Auditor General 2014 report) under GYEEDA, this time renamed (yet again) Youth Employment Agency.

“This GYEEDA case alone shows that President Mahama and his government has no real commitment to  fighting corruption and is indeed complicit in the sad situation of corruption in Ghana today,” it added.

GYEEDA was a public initiative geared towards youth development. It, however, failed to achieve its purpose as it was characterized by shady deals and corrupt activities.

Following reports of mismanagement of state funds, government in 2012 ordered for an investigation into its activities and subsequently terminated the contracts with the various companies involved.

Former GYEEDA boss, Abuga Pele and Philip Assibit were later hauled before court for the various roles they played in the programme.

In December 2015, an announcement by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu, indicated that companies indicted in the corruption scandal that hit GYEEDA had been blacklisted.

Although he did not mention the companies involved, Haruna Iddrisu said government had decided to blacklist all the companies in a move to serve as a deterrent and to curb corruption in the country.

Source GhanaPlus.com

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