With hands of his friend, his friend’s brother, alleged ex- girlfriend and Veep’s brother-in-law in the ‘Wonkye Ndzi’ pie
‘Akuffocracy,’ that strange variety of Democracy under President Akuffo-Addo, defined as Government of the Akuffos, by the Akuffos, for the Akuffos, has so far seen the appointment of at least 20 of the President’s family members and close pals into government.
These 20, including an alleged ex-girlfriend of the President, are all in very strategic positions in government as Ghana turns into an Animal Farm where the Akuffos and their friends are more meritorious than everyone else.
As The Republic presents an Enterprise Copy on ‘Akuffocracy,’ thus far, an important caveat is that the breakdown includes only the people appointed by the President himself – a subsequent list of appointments by these appointees of the President is still developing.
The list of star appointees of the President in less than five months in office, of course, starts with the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. A direct cousin of the President, Mr. Ofori-Atta had long been tipped as the would-be Finance Minister, even when President Akufo-Addo was still a Presidential Candidate.
In addition to his sanguineous relationship with the President, Mr. Ofori-Atta had been in pole position to be appointed head of Ghana’s Exchequer because of his role as a bankroller of his cousin’s campaigns in the years leading up to election of Nana Akufo-Addo.
In Nana’s long journey to the Presidency, his lifelong dream job, Ken Ofori-Atta had been an indefatigable optimist and availed Data Bank, his bank, as source of financial muscle.
In 2008, for instance, an extravagant but failed bid for the Presidency by Akufo-Addo had seen him splurge some $47million on the Presidential campaign. That money had been sourced from Ken Ofori-Atta’s Data Bank.
And so, it was no secret to Ghanaians that the 2012 elections, which Akufo-Addo had declared as an “all die be die” affair, had been a battle for the opportunity for Ken Ofori-Atta to recoup his many investments as well.
It has since not come as a surprise to Ghanaians that in less than four months into the regime days of the Akufo-Addo government, the Finance Minister is embroiled in a $2.25billion financial scandal involving his shady sale of bonds to an offshore company.
Another important Akufo-Addo family member appointed by the President into his government is his half-sister, Gloria Akuffo, as Attorney General. Madam Akuffo has so far conveniently claimed that she was not aware of Ken Ofori- Atta’s shady sale of the $2.25billion bonds to Franklin Templeton, a company in which his business partner is a director.
She is recently in the news for once more conveniently claiming that a decision by the Ashanti Regional chief state attorney to discontinue a case involving some eight pro-NPP goons was taken without recourse to her.
Attorney General Gloria Akuffo is the paternal niece of currently appointed Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, who is the cousin of the President. Sophia Akuffo’s nomination to the Chief Justice job saw the vandalism of the Judiciary’s sacrosanct pecking order as President Akufo-Addo hopped over Justice William Atuguba, who was in line to succeed retiring Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, to nominate his cousin.
Both Gloria and Sophia Akuffo had practiced as young lawyers in the Adabraka-based law firm of the President, Akuffo-Addo, Prempeh and Co.
The President, a lawyer, is obviously on top of his onions as a head of state and knows that the way to exercise stranglehold in a Democracy is to have your relatives in charge of all legal institutions of statecraft, including the police. And so, in charge of the Ghana Police Service as Inspector General is David Asante-Apeatu, the President’s half-brother.
Samuel Atta Akyea, a cousin of the President’s is the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing; and Atta Akyea is the brother-in-law of outgoing Chief Justice, Theodora Georgina Wood, who has already been assured a place on the Council of State by President Akufo-Addo.
Another cousin of the President, Kwesi Amoako Atta, is the Minister for Roads and Highways, while Nana Asante Bediatuo, a half-brother of the President, is Executive Secretary to the President.
Also, Daniel Akuffo, affectionately called Danny, a younger brother of the Attorney General, enjoys the benefits of his blue-blood as a member of the privileged Akuffo family, as he sits as the District Chief Executive of Shai Osudoku.
Other direct kinsfolk of the President who have been appointed into his government are Gyankroma Akufo-Addo, the President’s daughter, who is on the Creative Arts Council, and Ingrid Nana Adjoa Hackman, wife of Gabby Asare Otchere- Darko, a prominent cousin of Akufo-Addo’s who has been appointed to the Board of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.
Mr. Asare Otchere-Darko himself is known to operate from behind the scenes as the de facto Chief of Staff, in spite of the figurehead, Akosua Frema Opare.
In his shadowy role, Gabby is known to operate in like manner as other family members of Nana Yaa Ofori-Atta and Fredua Ofori-Atta also family members of the President.
The Republic has heard that it is just a matter of time before these shadowy members of the Akuffo/Ofori-Atta/Akufo-Addo dynasty would be appointed into more official roles in the government of their kinsman President.
Duke Ofori-Atta and Michael Ofori-Atta were members of the 35-member Ghana@60 Committee that recently planned and executed the celebration of the diamond jubilee of Ghana’s independence from 6th of March 1957.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has not been entirely left out of the spoils of politics in ‘Akuffocracy’ – his brother-in-law, Abu Ramadan, has long been appointed as one of five Deputies of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO)
Mr. Ramadan, a longstanding vocal member of the People’s National Convention (PNC), who had recently abandoned the PNC and crossed carpet to the NPP, was the one who recently revealed that the President has appointed as many as five deputy Directors-General at NADMO alone.
Also, a distended and over-bloated government-size under President Akufo-Addo includes appointees in the form of pals and even alleged ex-girlfriends. Ursula Owusu, the Communications Minister, was well rumored to be a girlfriend of the President before her recent marriage.
Other pal beneficiaries of the spoils of Akuffocracy include Dr. Ernest Yedu Addison, a brother of Philip Addison, a lawyer friend of the President. Dr. Ernest Addison’s appointment as Governor of the Bank of Ghana had only taken place after then Governor, Dr. Abdul Nashiru Issahaku, who had been Governor for just a little over one year after his appointment in 2015 was uprooted in spite of complex security of tenure guarantees by the laws of Ghana.
Philip Addison himself is said to have been pencilled for appointment as a Supreme Court judge.
Enters, Akoto Ampaw, a longstanding friend of President Akufo-Addo’s. Lawyer Ampaw who had been a member of the President’s legal team during the 2012 election petition is the incoming Special Prosecutor.
As the President’s appointments show clearly that he has decided to turn the country into a family and friends, the fall out is an open faced betrayal of his own words.
In the build-up to the 2016 elections, then Candidate Nana Akufo-Addo had promised to never engage in a government of family and friends. Leveraging on wild rumours at the time, that former First Lady, Mrs. Lordina Mahama, had been distributing contracts during the Mahama regime, Akufo-Addo had mockingly told NPP supporters at a fundraising event in Kumasi that he would never allow even his wife to have a say in his government.
“I won’t operate a family and friends government in Ghana and I can assure you that every person in the country would have his fair share of the national cake,” he had said.
The then Candidate Akufo-Addo had added for good measure that, “My wife would not be in charge of the distribution of contracts in this country…she would never distribute contracts in the country…”
But less than five months into his administration and Ghana is already a family business with more family members of the President appointed into government than any other Ghanaian President in history.
Also, immediately Akufo-Addo became President, one of the first actions he took was to splurge a whopping 1.5billion old cedis to renovate official bungalows for his wife, First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo and the Wife of the Vice President, Second Lady Samira Bawumia.