How Mahama’s Minister in Creating Enemies for Fighting Coruption

Akwasi Oppong Fosu, Minister for Local Govt. and Rural Development.

Akwasi Oppong Fosu, Minister for Local Govt. and Rural Development.

The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Akwesi Oppong-Fosu may have created powerful enemies for himself in both the government and among some powerful business men in his effort to stop them from feeding fat on the tax payers’ money. can confirm that the Minister inherited various (management) contracts that were designed to siphon millions of Ghana cedis from the public purse and has been quietly reviewing them to enforce President John Dramani Mahama’s agenda of ensuring value-for-money, transparency and accountability.

This has come to the attention of powerful political and businessmen, as well as the Ministry’s bureaucrats who are trying to get him removed or reshuffled to another Ministry.

Exclusive information further gathered by Spy News Agency indicates that the interested parties are complaining that the quiet Minister is stubbornly refusing to allow any payments for Contract in his ministry and insisting that payments be allowed only when there is clear evidence and proof of work done.

One of such payments he is refusing to allow is a release for the Local Enterprise and Skills Development Project (LESDEP) contract.

Credible sources in party circles told this network that Hon. Oppong-Fosu blocked the release of about GH¢ 28 million to LESDEP, after the Ministry of Finance had released the said amount to pay the organization to cover invoices submitted for its first quarter (January to March 2013) activities.

A letter from the Ministry requesting the management of LESDEP to provide proof of work done to justify the payment was not responded to till the end of the year.

As at the end of 2013, the said amount was still sitting in the accounts of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and so was returned to government chest.

This action has apparently angered the interested parties who stand to benefit from the intended payment.

Before Hon. Oppong-Fosu, who was the former head of Local Government Service took office as Minister; the practice was that the Ministry of Finance was releasing payments directly to the contractors.

The Minister, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Amenfi East in the Western Region, is believed to have instructed that all payments for such contracts be paid through the account of MLRD to ensure proper oversight.

In addition to that, the ministry under Oppong-Fosu’s tenure has launched a contract portal that is meant to publish all contract information including payments, and implementation information online to enable the public monitor and provide feedback.

Naturally, those affected by this directive are peeved and have gone into action- pulling strong political strings within the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Spy News Agency’s attempts to get the Minister for his comments have been unfruitful, as sources said he has travelled out of the country.

In 2012 alone, LESDEP, which is one of the modules under the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Development Agency (GYEEDA) and owned by Joseph Siaw Agyapong, owner of Zoomlion Ghana received payment of over GH¢80million.

It would be recalled that during his first anniversary media encounter in Accra on Tuesday, President Mahama stated that ”Corruption amounts to Mass Murder. It deprives government of the needed resources to provide critical basic needs to the Ghanaian people”.

He called for a “tightening the administrative framework” and emphasized his commitment “to the fight against corruption”.

The president promised that anyone found to have misappropriated funds or caused financial loss to the country in the GYEEDA case would be dealt with. The public is eagerly waiting to see.

Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson/ Spy News Agency

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