By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte needs to explain further precisely what he means, when the Acting Excutive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS) claims that the Secretariat has prevented about 75,000 ghost names from being entered onto the 2014-15 payroll of the “Scheme,” and I mean every nuance of the pun suggested by the quotation marks. I also want to know how many scammers or fraudsters were arrested in the process.
The NSS’s acting capo, as in play acting, also claims that this purportedly new measure has saved the nation some GHC 26.5 million (See “75,000 Ghost Names Removed from NSS Payroll, Saving GHC 26.5 M” Graphic Online.com / Ghanaweb.com 1/21/15). If the glaring intention here to win the tottering Mahama regime some cheap plaudits, then, needless to say, this grimmickry could not be even more insulting to the intelligence of progressive and hardworking Ghanaians. What we need to know is how long in the nearly 7 years that the National Democratic Congress been in power that this scam has been going on.
In other words, how on Earth could the National Service Secretariat have been allowed to operate any substantial budgetary expenditure without the presence, on staff, of an internal auditor, let alone periodic external auditors, in order to ensure that every single Cedi and/or Pesewa was accounted for? What this obviously goes to show us is that the last thing on the minds of the NSS operatives was accountability, much less probity and transparency. But precisely how have any savings been made for the overburdened Ghanaian taxpayer, unless Dr. Kpessa-Whyte can also tell us about any measures that he and his staff have put in place to retrieve the hundreds of millions of Cedis that have already gone into the wrong pockets, with interest and punitive damages.
Indicting and rounding up a handful of the topmost operatives of the NSS racket that was allowed to fester for so long, with the apparent collusion of higher-ups in the erstwhile Mills-Mahama government, and now the Mahama/Amissah-Arthur government, would not wash. What is needed here is a thoroughgoing revolutionary overhaul of the entire system, not just the kind of back-slapping grotesque gimmickry that Dr. Kpessa-Whyte recently trotted out, obviously in a lurid bid to sounding out the intelligence and common sense of the proverbial average Ghanaian.
And on the preceding score, ought to be eerily and vividly recalled the fact that some Ghanaian generals and military rulers have been summarily executed by firing squad for “squandering” infinitesimally less than what is at stake here. And what is even more intriguing, if also for the inexcusable hypocritical irony here, is the fact that it was basically people with the mindset of the bulk of the key operatives of the so-called National Democratic Congress that executed the aforementioned military rulers. To be certain, a remarkable percentage of these unconscionable “revolutionary” executioners of yesteryear are still at post in the Mahama government even as I write.
Or is the message we are being given to understand here that it is all right to steal and get away with one’s loot, as long as one belongs to the right gang of thuggocrats? Dr. Kpessa-Whyte also wants Ghanaians to jubilate over the fact that this is the first time during the last 7 years that naked corruption at the headquarters of the NSS has been deflated from the humongous ghostly staff of 184,965 to 89,612. Now, that is nearly 50-percent reduction in the NDC’s “revolutionary scamming” of the Ghanaian people. Hooray!!! And why not?
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]