Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu and Former President John Mahama
Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has reportedly expressed interest in conducting a probe into how the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) diverted $6 million out of a loan of $175 million to construct government hospital projects to fund its campaign activities in 2016.
According to a report monitored on Joy News, the Special Prosecutor had requested more details on the matter to enable him conduct investigations.
His office is likely to open preliminary investigations into the matter as soon as evidence is provided by media outfit.
Joy News, as at the time of filing this report, had promised to supply the evidence “in the next 24 hours.”
The $175 million loan facility was meant for the construction seven district hospitals and an integrated Information Technology (IT) system, but the NDC administration, headed by ex-President John Mahama, who is desperate to make a comeback, dipped its hands into the funds to conduct a survey.
According to the report, the research was conducted by UK-based SCL Social, the mother company of Cambridge Analytica and that it was paid $6 million to undertake a nationwide survey to provide data for the proper planning of the healthcare needs of Ghana.
The contract consisted of two discrete political and public health elements- the political element involved the testing the attitude and perceptions of the population towards contemporary issues faced in Ghana and public confidence in the capacity and competence of the then NDC administration to implement timely solutions.
It was also to ascertain the level of satisfaction with the performance of the NDC at district, regional and national levels and how that could translate into future electoral success.
But the NDC government, at the time, reportedly did not indicate that $6 million was to be used for the survey during the parliamentary approval of the loan.
The Diversion Process
According to the investigative report, British Infrastructure Company NMS won a $175 million contract for the construction of the seven district hospitals and the integrated IT system.
Out of the total amount, the said $6 million was to be used by the previous Mahama government to fund the research conducted by United Kingdom-based SCL Social.
Accordingly, SCL Social was to undertake a nationwide survey to determine the “public confidence in the capacity and competence of the current (Mahama) administration to implement appropriate timely solutions.”
Head of Investigations at Channel 4, Job Rabkin, is quoted as saying that “the whole project was paid for by the government of Ghana with taxpayers’ money. It gathered health data but it also gathered very important data that could be used later for political purposes.”
A former NDC’s Deputy Minister of Health, Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, was made the head of the Project Steering Committee in an agreement which was signed between the government of Ghana and NMS.
Speaking to Joy News, Mr. Mettle-Nunoo admitted knowing SCL Social and confirmed that crucial campaign intelligence was gathered through a research.
However, the former Deputy Minister declined comment about whether the work done by SCL Social is the same research presented to the NDC.
Mr. Mettle-Nunoo reportedly stated that the said research was disregarded by his party, but this has not deterred the Special Prosecutor from initiating a probe into the allegation especially where public funds are involved.
The Head of Research of the NDC, William Ahadzie, says if it can be established that the previous Mahama administration used part of the $175 million loan meant to build hospitals to conduct an election-related research, then the previous administration may be said to be culpable of misappropriation of funds.
Dr Ahadzie said although he was aware of the research, he did not know public funds were used in conducting it.
He didn’t think that Mr Mettle-Nunoo would use public funds for a party project.
“But if that happened, clearly that would be a misappropriation of funds if that was the intention.”
Ahadzie said when a report on the research was presented to the party by Rojo and his team, his understanding was that as the health issues were being investigated, the team also collected sentiments, attitudes and the general perceptions or respondents which they extracted for the party.
BY Melvin Tarlue