The unending public outcry over President Akufo Addo’s packing of government with his close relatives, relatives of his appointees, known business associates and friends, appear to have fallen on deaf ears as the septuagenarian leader continuous to rope more of such family and friends into his government.
The ever-sharp lenses of the Ghana Palaver has picked up more relatives of persons closely linked to either the President or top NPP functionaries who have been given juicy appointments in the Akufo Addo government.
The latest to join the ever-expanding and nepotistic government are Stacy Ofei Darko and Shirley Laryea.
Ms. Ofei Darko has been appointed as Deputy CEO of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan(NEIP).She is believed to have obtained the job because of her connection to maverick NPP legislator Kennedy Agyapong with whom she has a child.
Shirley Laryea on the other hand is known to have secured an appointment as an Assistant Office Administrator at the Office of the President in view of her marriage to long-time Akufo Addo media operative and advisor, Geddy Laryea.Mr Laryea is famed for running the Miss Ghana franchise through his media and advertising company,Media Majique in the 90s.It is widely believed that the description of an “Assistant Office Administrator” is only a ruse to mask Mrs. Laryea’s true role as the special assistant to the first lady, Rebecca Akufo Addo.
The latest appointments came to light following the Ghana Palaver’s close scrutiny of the tall list of Presidential Office Staff sent to Parliament by Akufo Addo last month. The list of 998 staffers, provoked a wave of condemnation by Ghanaians, livid at what they say is the reckless dissipation of scarce national resources on the creature comforts of NPP activists who occupy superfluous positions.
Also buried deep in the controversial list are known family members of the elderly President who have been given specially-created portfolios at the presidency designed to make them earn a living on tax payer’s money.
Amongst Akufo Addo’s family members at his Office, is his cousin, Duke Ofori Atta, who is also the brother of controversial Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta. He is described as “Director of Programmes”, a position which analysts deem nebulous and undefined.
Also at the Presidency, is Michael Ofori Atta, a nephew of Akufo Addo who has been given the title of Director of ECOWAS. It is unclear what specific role he plays especially given that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration already has a seasoned professional handling the affairs of the sub-regional body on behalf of the government of Ghana.
Another Nephew of the President, William Ofori Atta, is described as an “office assistant” on the controversial list.
Yet another relative of the President, Alice Ofori Atta, has been slotted in as a “protocol officer” at a time when the State Protocol Department has dedicated staff willing and able to cater to the protocol needs of the Presidency.
A relative of the first lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo Addo (nee Reindolf), Gabriella Arafua Reindolf, operates as “Deputy Director, Hospitality” according to list while Akosua Newman, wife of long-standing Akufo Addo acolyte and now Senior Presidential Advisor, Victor Newman, serves as an “Executive Assistant” at the presidency.
These names add on to a disturbingly lengthy list of relatives of Akufo Addo already occupying key positions in his government.
Direct members of Akufo Addo’s family who serve in his government include;
Nana Asante Bediatuo who is the President’s Executive Secretary, Works and Housing Minster Samuel Atta Akyea, Transport Minister Kwesi Amoako Atta and Attorney-General Gloria Akufo all of whom are the President’s cousins. Gloria Akufo’s brother occupies the District Chief Executive slot at the Shai Osu Doku District in the Greater Accra Region.
Akufo Addo’s daughter, Gyankroma Akufo Addo serves on the Creative Arts Council.
The President’s younger brother, Edward ‘Bumpty’ Akufo Addo is reported to have formed a quartet with his cousins, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta and Duke Ofori Atta as well as his nephew, Asare Otchere Darko, popularly known as Gabby and are believed to control the President’s business and financial interests. Though Bumpty and Gabby hold no formal positions in government, they are widely thought to be the President’s closest advisors. Gabby in particular, is said to be the most powerful man in the Akufo Addo administration second only to his uncle.
Gabby’s wife and daughter-in-law of the President, Nana Adjoa Hackman, is not to be outdone in the grabbing of juicy appointments by family and friends of the President. She sits on the Board of state Petroleum firm, GNPC.
Two cousins of the President, Nana Yaa Ofori Atta and Fredua Ofori Atta both siblings of Ken Ofori Atta are also said to hover around the Presidency in undefined capacities. Nana Yaa is known to take over commentary of state broadcaster, GTV at important state functions involving his cousin the President.
President Akufo Addo has also appointed his cousin, Rhodaline Baafour-Gyimah, to the board of national oil trader, GOIL. Mrs Baafour-Gyimah joins her husband and brother-in-law of the President, Alex Baafour Gyimah, who chairs the Board of the Gaming Commission.
Dr Edward Kwapong, another cousin of the President, this time on his father side from Akropong, is the helmsman at the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.
Kwame Akufo, an Accra-based Lawyer and nephew of Akufo Addo has been made a member of the Board of Petroleum downstream regulator, The National Petroleum Authority. Kwame Akufo prior to moving into private law practice underwent apprenticeship in his uncle’s law firm, Akufo Addo, Prempeh and Co.
In a salacious twist, two women with whom Akufo Addo is known to have had amorous relations have been rewarded with ambassadorial roles, while a third, Elsie Awadzi (nee Addo) has been made the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana.
Virginia Hesse, whose previously-undisclosed 54 year old daughter Akufo Addo sired during their University days, is now Ghana’s ambassador to the Czech Republic while Prof Abena Busia, daughter of one-time Prime Minister, Kofi Abrefa Busia, is currently serving as Ghana’s Ambassador to Brazil.
She is known to have been on the verge of marriage to Akufo Addo when the proposed liaison inexplicably fell through in the early nineties. The now Mrs. Elsie Awadzi is known to have been involved in a passionate love-affair with the President following the untimely demise of his wife, Eleanor Nkansah Dwamena.
The President’s cousin Ken Ofori Atta has leveraged his relationship with Akufo Addo to assemble a cast of close friends, relatives and business partners in many public financial institutions that give him vast influence over the sector.
The Finance Minister’s sister-in-law, Eno Ofori Attah, was recently made Deputy Managing Director of SIC Financial Services while his sister, Alice Ofori Atta, currently heads the Tema Development Corporation.
Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, currently serves Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).Ogbarmey Tetteh is a former Vice President of Data Bank and a known protégé of Ken Ofori Atta.
He thus heads a regulatory agency that may be called upon to investigate wrongdoing by financial sector actors including the Finance Minister.
Ex-Data Bank Company Secretary, Deila Awo Assimeh has also been drafted in as a member of the SEC Board.
The appointment of the duo, according to some financial analysts, presents a major obstacle to holding the Finance Minister or any other state financial entity to account. They argue that it is nigh on impossible for Mr Ogbarmey Tetteh and Deila Assimeh, given their proximity to Ken Ofori Atta, to act impartially and make adverse findings against Ken Ofori Atta, a man who plucked them from relative obscurity into financial limelight.
This arrangement all but gives the Finance Minister a carte blanche to do pretty much as he pleases.
At the Finance Ministry where he rules the roost, Ken Ofori Atta is reported by insiders to have shunted aside highly-qualified technocrats and picked in their stead, middle level operatives from Data Bank to occupy plum roles in the formulation and implementation of the Akufo Addo government’s economic and financial policies.
His nephew, Michael Asare Bediako, has been tapped as his Special Assistant through who all dealings with senior officials at the Ministry are to be routed.
The Ghana Palaver has learned that among the Data Bank importees at the Ministry and its agencies are, Ernest Akore, Sampson Akligoh, Felicia Gyamfi Ashley and Ntiwaa Daaku Kwakye.
Ernest Akore, a former non-executive director at Data Bank,now sits on the Ghana Revenue Authority Board. Sampson Akligoh, who was once a Data Bank Vice President and Head of Research as well as a fixed income strategist, now heads the Financial Sector Division of the Finance Ministry.
Former Human Resource capo at Data Bank, Felicia Gyamfi Ashley has been appointed to the Entity Tender Committee of the Finance Ministry which is chaired by Ken Ofori Atta himself. Ntiwaa Daaku Kwakye also formerly of Data Bank has also been roped into the Finance Ministry.
At the Ghana revenue Authority, Ernestina Asafo Boakye, a family friend of Ken Ofori Atta,has undergone a meteoric rise from the lower ranks to head of stores.
Of equal note is the revelation that Charles Adu Boahen who is one of three Deputy Ministers at the Ministry has more than just a working relationship in government with his boss, the Finance Minister. He is in every respect his business partner following the purchase of shares in Enterprise Group previously held by Sanlam, a South African investment firm, by Black Star Holdings Limited, a company founded by Adu Boahen.
The Enterprise Group in turn is owned by Data Bank which was founded by Ken Ofori Atta and two others in the early nineties.
The Finance Minister can also count on strategically-placed allies in key state financial institutions, with whom he shares close bonds of friendship and business.
Among them are Keli Gadzekpo, his long-standing bosom friend and co-founder of Data Bank, who is head of the Enterprise Group, and Comfort Ocran who are both firmly ensconced on the Bank of Ghana Board. Keli Gadzekpo also chairs the ECG Board.
Another co-founder of Data Bank, Togbe Afede, chairs the NIB Board on which sits, Lynn Allotey Gadzekpo, sister-in-law of Keli Gadzekpo.
Former Data Bank kingpin, Yoofi Grant, occupies the CEO position at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre. Between 2009 and 2012, he served as Executive Director, Business Development and Private Equity Division of Data Bank respectively.
Vice President Bawumia is not to be left out in the scramble for familial appointments. His father-in-law( father of Second Lady, Samira Bawumia,) and immediate past National Chairman of the PNC, Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, has been made Ghana’s envoy to the United Arab Emirates.
The veteran politician, who was until the emergence of his son-in-law Bawumia as running mate to Akufo Addo in the 2008 elections, an avowed critic of the NPP, is believed to have secured the plum job due to his blood relations to the second lady.
Mr Ramadan joins his son, Abu Ramadan, who has been made the number two man of disaster relief agency, NADMO. The younger Ramadan, despite masquerading as a PNC activist, has always been believed to be a closet NPP supporter in view of his posturing on national affairs. He was used as a surrogate by the NPP in the many distractive court cases brought against the Electoral Commission in the run-up to the 2016 elections.
At the Interior Ministry, Mumuni Abdulai Bawumia, a brother of Vice President Bawumia has been appointed as Technical Advisor to the Interior Minister, Ambrose Derry.
The governmental hegemony has been extended to other supposedly independent arms of government. Akufo Addo ensured his family presence was felt in the Judiciary by appointing his relative, Sophia Akufo to the position of chief justice.
Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo recently courted anger among Ghanaians including many NPP members when he ensured the creation of additional portfolios within the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for two of his sons.
One of his sons, Kofi Bosompem Osafo Marfo, is the number two man at SSNIT while another, Kwodwo Gyamfi Osafo Marfo occupies a newly-minted and purpose-made Deputy General position at the NCA.
Gina Blay, wife of New Patriotic Party Chairman, Freddy Blay, is now Ghana’s Ambassador to European economic giant, Germany, while son of Parliamentary Speaker, Mike Ocquaye Jnr ,represents the country in India as Ghana’s High Commission, a position previously held by the senior Ocquaye.
At the Fisheries Ministry, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, who supervised the theft of GHS 22 million worth of premix in a massive scandal recently, has installed his direct brother, Joseph Botchwey as Administrator of the National Premix Secretariat. The Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Minister has also made her nephew, Elikem Sewordor, the Southern Volta Coordinator of the Premix Secretariat.
Wife of NPP broadcaster, Paul Adom Otchere, Rosemary Adom Otchere has also been given board membership of state investment promoter, the Ghana Free Zones Authority.
These appointments, which have attracted widespread condemnation from anti-corruption crusaders, makes the Akufo Addo regime the most nepotistic in the world.