This comes on the heels of the Mahama Ayariga Affair in which, believe it or not, the Bawku-Central National Democratic Congress’ representative or Member of Parliament maliciously, albeit inadvertently, publicly revealed what most Ghanaians have always known and suspected all along – that there is an unspoken parliamentary payola system called “Sitting Allowances,” which our so-called Honorables routinely use to supplement their official taxpayer-underwritten salaries.
And this is why I find the First-Deputy Speaker’s rather self-righteous characterization of Mr. Jon Benjamin, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, as a man whose official conduct and deportment “transcend the bounds of decency and propriety” to be patently absurd (See “UK High Commissioner Jon Benjamin Lacks Decency – 1st Deputy Speaker” Kasapafmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 4/27/17).

Indeed, what lacks decency, to be certain, is the gaping albeit predictable failure of Mr. Joseph Osei-’Wusu and his ranking associates on the Parliamentary Appointments Committee (PAC) to boldly and honestly look the very people who offered them their electoral mandate in the eye, and tell them that, indeed, there exists an across-the-board payola sub-culture in our National Assembly that may be significantly impeding the level and quality of performance of these parliamentarians. And for those readers who may not be in the know, what Mr. Osei-’Wusu, who also doubles as the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Asante-Bekwai, is alluding to is a scam or a fraudulent racket involving the use of false pretenses by some four Ghanaian MPs to securing diplomatic visas for themselves and their relatives, several of whom violated their visa requirements and/or contractual agreements by overstaying their welcome in the United Kingdom.

One of the four MPs has since either lost his seat or retired from the august House. The four MPs, all of them men, have been named as follows: Richard Acheampong, of Bia-East in the Western Region; Joseph Benhazin Dahah, of Asutifi-North, in the Brong-Ahafo Region; Johnson Kwaku Adu, of Ahafo-Ano-South, in the Asante Region; and George Boakye, the former MP for Asunafo-South, in the Brong-Ahafo Region (See “Two MPs in UK Visa Fraud Allegations Turn to Lawyers for Advice” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 4/26/17). As usual, looking for that prime opportunity to merciless lambaste my National Democratic Congress’ political punchbags and scumbags, I decided to conduct a head count of the alleged culprits, only to be rudely awakened to the discovery of the fact of a whopping 75-percent of these scam-artists being bona fide operatives of the New Patriotic Party. This may very well explain Mr. Osei-’Wusu’s decision to bear down hard on the resident British High Commissioner.

Lawyer Osei-’Wusu’s point is that Mr. Benjamin had earlier on dispatched a confidential letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, expressing the utter displeasure of Her Majesty’s Government, and therefore need not to have publicly disclosed the alleged scam. Well, those of us who recently had the misfortune of witnessing Speaker Oquaye royally bungle the disciplinary aspect of L’ Affair Ayariga could not disagree more with Lawyer Osei-’Wusu, as he is popularly known among his constituents. The ordained Baptist cleric and former Dean of the University of Ghana’s Faculty of Law, literally swore Mr. Ayariga and his covey of vengeful NDC witnesses to a veritable Oath-of-Secrecy, thus effectively guaranteeing the perpetuation of the afore-hinted parliamentary payola sub-culture for the foreseeable future.

It is quite likely that like the rest of us avid observers of the Ghanaian political scene, the incontrovertibly astute Mr. Benjamin had had second-thoughts. It was best to let the Ghanaian public exercise the final judgment and have the last word as well. After all, don’t our judges routinely sentence salted-fish and live goat thieves to prison terms ranging from five to ten years every week day? Needless to say, the ten-year visa ban slapped on the pates of these so-called Honorables is like the sort of mild finger-tapping water-baptism that my immortalized maternal grandfather, the Rev. T. H. Sintim, of Akyem-Begoro, Asiakwa, Asante-Mampong and Dwaben, offered me at the Asante-Akyem Bompata Presbyterian Chruch at barely three months old. Not surprisingly, Mr. Osei-’Wusu would also have these thoroughgoing and brazen fraudsters appeal their ban.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
April 28, 2017
E-mail: [email protected]