…Giving Ghana’s Bauxite To Your Brother Is State Capture
The Danquah Institute (DI) has described former president John Mahama as the epitome of State Capture; cataloguing some of the deals the former president superintended which was allegedly to enrich him and his cronies.
Read the DI’s full unedited statement released by the director, Richard Ahiagba, over the weekend, below:
John Mahama And The NDC’s Mantra Of State Capture
In the wake of the Government of Ghana’s recent cancellation of the concessionaire agreement with the Power Distribution Services (PDS) over the takeover of the Electricity of Ghana (ECG), former President John Mahama and some members of the opposition NDC have resorted to the use of the phrase ‘State Capture’ in reference to what they consider, a deliberate attempt by President Akufo Addo to shortchange the people of Ghana by aiding his cronies to acquire a major state asset like ECG.
Although the phrase sounds like a strange lexicon in Ghana’s political vocabulary, a deconstruction of its meaning would point to an unsurprising fact that the concept is after all not new. One would ask, what constitutes state capture? In brief, State Capture entails systemic political corruption in which private individuals and groups clandestinely network to influence a state’s decision-making process in pursuance of their private goals to the detriment of public good. Incontrovertible evidence however makes former President Mahama and the NDC the foremost culprits and practitioners of the State Capture mantra. Former President Mahama and the NDC whiles in power proved to be experts in using State Capture towards enriching themselves and cronies
For ardent followers of political issues in Ghana, it is evident that John Mahama’s description of the current government as one engaging in State Capture can at best be described as an indictment on his own conscience when his track record as president is juxtaposed to the very meaning of State Capture. To understand fully that John Mahama is indeed an epitome of state capture, one would have to subject some of the deals that he superintended over as president to the test of scrutiny and against the strict definition of state capture.
The fraudulent sale of state-owned Merchant Bank to Fortiz, a private equity fund during John Mahama’s tenure as president was what many political historians considered, the epochal moment of State Capture in Ghana’s history. It is worth noting that First Rand Bank at the time offered 190 million Ghana cedis to acquire 75% stake in state owned Merchant Bank. Strangely, this offer which was regarded by seasoned economists and financial consultants as too good to let go, was rejected by the John Mahama administration and the bank offered to Fortiz, who only offered 90 million Ghana cedis for a whopping 90% stake in the bank. What would have informed the government at the time to overlook First Rand’s offer in favor of Fortiz?
It is imperative to recall that the deciding factor that led to Fortiz winning the bid was their willingness to write off loans owed Merchant Bank by Ibrahim Mahama, the brother of the then president John Mahama. The acquisition became more suspicious when it was revealed that Fortiz had only been incorporated in Ghana just three months to the acquisition of Merchant Bank. If not for hidden motives, why did the government of former president Mahama overlook a proven financial institution like Rand Bank of South Africa with over fifteen years of existence as at 2013 and hand over a major state bank to a three month old Fortiz, when the former had even made an offer that exceeded that of the latter by a whopping 100 million Ghana cedis and demanded a lesser share?
If not for the purposes of State Capture, why would former president Mahama grant a long lease concession to Exton Cubic Group, a mining consortium owned by his brother Ibrahim Mahama, to have access to Ghana’s bauxite deposits in Nyinahini, just nine days to handing over power to a newly elected leader? Had it not been a change in government, former President Mahama would have gifted
58% of Ghana’s bauxite deposits worth billions of dollars to his brother. If former President Mahama is bold to preach against the immorality of State Capture, then he should at least, be honest and explain to Ghanaians while it took a change in government before Ibrahim Mahama, his brother, was compelled by the Ghana
Revenue Authority to pay 12 million Ghana cedis for taxes he evaded when Mr. Mahama served as president.
Again, former President Mahama and his government took their State Capture agenda to gargantuanly unprecedented levels when he ordered the Bank of Ghana to award a 4.6 billion Ghana cedis contract for a nationwide Mobile Money Interoperability to Sibton Switch System, a company owned by his longtime friend and confidant Roland Agambire when two other companies had bid to do the same scope of work for 14 and 5.4 million Ghana cedis respectively. Is it not mind-boggling the same Mobile Money Interoperability contract former president Mahama awarded for 4.6 billion Ghana cedis has today been accomplished only 40 million Ghana cedis?
As Vice President of Ghana, former President Mahama was at the center of a State Capture agenda that shocked his boss, the late President Atta Mills that he constituted a committee to investigate his own Vice President for shortchanging the state in the acquisition of the infamous Embraer 190 hanger deal and other aircrafts for the Ghana Armed Forces. Former President Mahama was caught to have inflated the cost of the aircrafts to 55 million dollars when the actual cost was quoted as 28.5 million dollars. It took senior party executives to pressurize the late President Mills to dissolve the committee and not make public, the findings of their brief investigation.
If former President Mahama has forgotten, it is worthy to remind him that the biggest, shocking and disgraceful State Capture act to have happened in Ghana was when the NDC government he acted as Vice President, colluded with businessman Alfred Woyome and created a non-existing debt, looted the state and shared the 51 million Ghana cedis booty.
Former president Mahama should know that as a man who once occupied the highest seat of the land, Ghanaians expect him to walk in the shadows of former Presidents Jerry Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor who since leaving office have lived and exhibited traits of genuine statesmanship without resort to petty politics, lies and deceit. If former president Mahama has any dignity left, the scandalous revelations surrounding his disgraced Mobile Money Interoperability deal with Sibtom Switch System, gifting of Ghana’s billion dollar bauxite deposits to Ibrahim Mahama and the fraudulent sale of state owned Merchant
Bank to cover-up his brother’s indebtedness to the bank should silence him from making any pronouncements on public purse accountability and State Capture.