By Our Investigative Reporters
A subculture of endemic corruption is festering away at the Bureau of Ghana Languages (BGL), where government’s nonchalance has left staff there to their own devices and created a free-for-all climate of impunity.
At the agency, which functions as custodian of local Ghanaian languages, staff are allegedly diverting translation contracts to themselves and giving their services to private language translating companies for money, while drawing salaries from the state.
The situation is said to be so degenerate that some of the staff have allegedly become tin-gods, using the offices of the BGL as personal homes, while the agency’s Kawokudi office in Accra has been illegally connected to the national electricity grid.
Sources have revealed that most translation contracts brought to the agency, which is a unique publishing house of the state under the National Commission on Culture, are diverted away from the agency by corrupt staffs who ply prospective clients with fat rebates in exchange for them agreeing to have a private company, rather than the BGL, do the translation.
What the staffs do is that after a prospective client of the BGL approaches them with a contract to have a material translated from an international language, especially English, into any local language, the prospective client is given a bill.
Per our sources, the billing categories are three, based on whether the language is very technical, semi-technical or ordinary. In the case of the language being technical, a quotation of GHc300 per page is made to the client. GHc220 per page is quoted as the price for a semi-technical translation and GHc150 is quoted as price where the language is deemed to be ordinary.
The amount quoted per page is then multiplied by the number of pages involved and the bill given to the prospective client. Usually, the bill is very high and leads to the clients pleading for rebates. This is the stage where the corrupt BGL staffs get the opportunity to divert the contract to themselves.
They suggest to the clients that the same amount of work could be done at a private company at half the price that the BGL would charge. This way, the client is led away from using the service of the BGL.
Ongoing investigation has thrown up the name of a popular private translation company called Gilbert as the main scooper of BGL contracts through the BGL’s own corrupt staffs. Many of the corrupt staffs allegedly divert the BGL’s contracts there and receive fat cuts in return.
The same Gilbert is allegedly the company where many BGL staff work on part-time basis, while remaining on the payroll of the BGL. Allegedly, a culture of taking long leaves at the BGL has become second nature to BGL staffs who frequently apply for these long leaves just so they can work at Gilbert for extra money.
Through the corrupt diversion of contracts from the BGL, these treacherous staffs have diverted millions of cedis from the state.
According to sources, all this is going on the blindside of government which has just abandoned the BGL to itself. Some of the staffs have even turned some of the offices of the Bureau into their private homes.
One such staff, Frederick Frimpong Barfi, allegedly uses his office as a live-in apartment, together with his wife. As he is said to be one of the oldest workers there, he has allegedly leveraged his ancient status to impose himself as some important factor, whom even the BGL’s Acting Managing Director, Mr. Peter Essien, cannot confront.
Sources at the GBL have also named Adjacent Apraku, Joseph Avunyra and Moses Applerh, as staffs who need to be seriously investigated for nefarious activities at the BGL. Neither the Acting Director nor any of the staffs has been available for comment.
Meanwhile, we can report on authority that the Kawokudi head office of the agency was a week, or so, ago plunged into darkness due to power-cuts by the Electricity Company of Ghana. Allegedly, the ECG disconnected the place after discovering that the BGL had been illegally connected to its grid.
Due to the disconnection, staffs of the agency have since been operating from a veranda that they have converted into a makeshift office.
The Bureau of Ghana Languages is an agency in charge of local Ghanaian languages, eleven (11) of which are currently under its focus. It also functions uniquely as a government publishing house.
Since December 1989, the Bureau has been a department under the National Commission on Culture and has been involved in the educational and cultural efforts of the state.
Government has not particularly given its attention to the agency over the years, leading to the development of an atmosphere of corruption and impunity.