Ace investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni has written an open letter to the Attorney General of the Republic of Ghana Gloria Akuffo in response to claims that there’s not enough evidence to prosecute government officials, private individuals and companies involved in the fraudulent payment of over 200 million cedis to the Jospong Group for shady fumigation that no one has evidence of work done which he revealed in his “Robbing the Assemblies” documentary.
In Manasseh’s open letter, he indicated that, the attorney general should come out and explain clearly to the public if it’s Government’s point not to touch the Jospong Group and its collaborators in the public sector because, any suggestion that there isn’t enough evidence is prosecute is a palpable falsehood.
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He argued that the work for proving beyond reasonable doubt is done because “government officials could not provide even the contracts or other supporting documents based on which the payments were maid. The Jospong Group was able to provide contracts for only 2016, but could not provide contracts for the other three years.”
BELOW IS MANASSEH’S OPEN LETTER TO ATTORNEY GENERAL GLORIA AKUFFO
Dear Attorney General Gloria Akuffo,
I am writing again on claims that there is no enough evidence to prosecute government officials, private individuals and companies involved in the fraudulent payment of over 200 million cedis to the Jospong Group for shady fumigation that no one has evidence of work done.
If the government has made it a point not to touch the Jospong Group and its collaborators in the public sector, it should state that clearly. Any suggestion that there isn’t enough evidence is prosecute is a palpable falsehood.
Madam Attorney General, I have heard that in criminal cases, you have to prove beyond all reasonable doubts. This often places the burden of proof on the prosecutor. In this case, however, you have been spared that burden. The work has been done. The burden of proof has shifted significantly from the prosecutors to the accused — the ministers and government officials who paid the money and the private companies and individuals who received it.
Your burden is to prove to the court that some ministers and and government officials paid the money to the Jospong Group for no work done. That has been established by my documentary and further investigation by the Financial Forensic Unit of the Ghana Police Service. With the help of the Financial Intelligence Centre, the police investigators even got the bank accounts into which the monies were paid and evidence points to a powerful individual in the Jospong Group who almost single-handedly withdrew these monies (mostly in cash) from those accounts. So there’s evidence of payment.
Your burden is to prove that the money was paid for no work done. That has also been established. You have evidence that the Ministry of Health and all the district assemblies in Ghana already had contracts with the Jospong Group to do two separate fumigation exercises in EVERY DISTRICT, METROPOLIS OR MUNICIPALITY IN GHANA. These contracts have been running since 2009 and 2010 respectfully. For this reason, the Local Government Ministry, had no business awarding a third fumigation contract to the same group of companies to work in the same areas the two fumigation contracts were already being executed.
In my “Robbing the Assemblies” documentary which is available to you and your team, officials of the assemblies, including environmental health officers, said they did not know about the said fumigation exercise and did not know when it took place. A massive fumigation exercise like the one which took place recently could not have happened in the districts without anybody knowing about it.
You have proof that NO OFFICIAL OF THE MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT — FROM THE MINISTER TO THE DISTRICT ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH OFFICER — WITNESSED, SUPERVISED OR CERTIFIED THE WORK before the payment of over 200 million cedis was made. The Jospong Group has even written to say they were not supervised.
The government officials could not provide even the contracts or other supporting documents based on which the payments were maid. The Jospong Group was able to provide contracts for only 2016, but could not provide contracts for the other three years.
When Zoomlion went to the High Court to challenge the Auditor General’s surcharge and disallowance of over 184 million cedis paid to Zoomlion by the National Health Insurance Authority for a shady fumigation, the Auditor General used my “Robbing the Assemblies” documentary (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7t_qNa6lQA) as evidence. He said that piece of evidence proved very useful. The Auditor General won.
The main contracts on which the documentary focused was the one you’re pursuing, not the one which the Auditor General dealt with. So the documentary is more crucial in your case than that of the Auditor General. Yet, he found it “very useful” and so should you.
Apart from my documentary, the police also went round the country to gather evidence. So you won’t have difficulty proving that some persons and companies wilfully caused financial loss to the state, engaged in procurement breaches or whatever charges you intend to press.
Madam Gloria Akuffo, you also have proof that some of the Jospong companies handpicked for the award of the contract did not even exist at the time the contracts were awarded to them. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, CEO of the Jospong Group, told the police that it happened because of the change of name of Tropical Waste to Meridian Waste. One of the managers of the companies said it was not true. The police also wrote to the Registrar General and received a response that said no such change of name happened. All these are documented evidence.
The procurement officers at the ministry, who were supposed to have worked on the contracts, told the police they were not involved in the process.
The most incriminating piece of evidence in your possession may turn out to be the ineligible black and white photographs provided by Zoomlion as the only evidence of work done. I have analysed those photos and given your ministry a comprehensive write up on that.
The government officials now have the burden to prove or convince the court why they paid more than 200 million of state funds for goods and services rendered when they did not see or independently certify that the work was done. The Jospong Group, would also prove why it took the money.
If your prosecutors watch the documentary, understand the case brief, read the evidence from the police, go through the statements from the ministers, chief director and those statements from persons in the Jospong Group, this might turn out to be one of the easiest cases to prosecute because the deal was done brazenly without least application of common sense.
I hope to hear from you soon.
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