All the Members of Parliament who voted in favour of the passage of the allegedly bloated $92 million rural electrification contract between the Government of Ghana and a Chinese firm – which used local firm Smarttys as a front – are “thieves”, political science lecturer Dr Richard Amoako Baah has said.
“If they say somebody is trying to steal money from the government and yet you agree with the person, it means they themselves have become thieves and, therefore, you have to throw them out. It’s very simple. That is how it works. [These are] the checks and balances we put into this system,” Dr Amoako Baah told Ekow Mensah-Shalders on Class91.3fm’s Executive Breakfast Show on Tuesday March 15.
Pressed further by the host for clarification about whether he was actually referring to the MPs, who voted for the deal in parliament on Monday March 14, as “thieves”, Dr Amoako Baah repeated the adjective, explaining that: “Well, if I have appointed you to manage my affairs and somebody is stealing money and you don’t stop it, not only do you not stop it, you applaud the person, you let them go. Maybe, you even gave them more money; you are a thief too, you are [an] accomplice to that thief, and, so, that’s what I’ll call you. I’ll fire you, just as I want to arrest the thief, you must be arrested, too, because it’s a form of conspiracy, it means you, too, have a hand in it.”
The MPs, according to Dr Amoako Baah, are supposed to protect the interest of their constituents and Ghanaians in general, and, so, if they are rather helping officialdom to be “mediocre and corrupt”, then they should be voted out, adding that: “We have a dictatorship of the majority.”
Minority MPs vehemently raised opposition to the involvement of Smarttys Management and Productions Limited, owned by Ms Selassie Ibrahim, in the $92 million deal, which they argue was bloated by $9 million.
Smarttys was last year ordered by Chief of Staff Julius Debrah to refund GHS1.5 million to the state, after a GHS3.6 million contract awarded it to rebrand some 116 Metro Mass Transit buses, was found to have been bloated. National outrage over the graft resulted in the resignation of former Transport Minister Dzifa Attivor.
The Minority MPs said they could not understand why Smarttys would be tolerated by the government to front for the Chinese firm when it has been cited in the bus branding graft.