The Minority Chief Whip of Parliament, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, has accused the government of setting up the Ministry of Special Initiatives as a conduit for major corruption activities.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase believed the ministry was executing projects with bloated costs, and sometimes assumed roles that were designated for other appropriate ministries.
In its 2016 manifesto, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised to earmark US$1million to each of the 275 constituencies if it won power.
That promised got the party the “One constituency, $ 1million,” slogan.
However, Mr Muntaka said at a press conference organised by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Monday, June 1, that: “In 2017, the Akufo-Addo government and Bawumia as Vice, did not send one dollar to any of the 275 constituencies”.
In his opinion, “What they spent time doing was to set up another big corruption centre called the Ministry of Special Initiatives.”
Explaining further, he pointed out that in 2017 “not a single project was carried out in any of the 275 constituencies” and the NPP government “did very little in 2018 and 2019”, as contained in the budgets for the years, Mr Muntaka noted.
He said the government had spent almost GHC 463m, which was utilised for development projects by the Ministry of Special Development Initiative.
That amount, he said, was equivalent to about just US$81million, woefully short of $825m, which should have been disbursed to all constituencies since the NPP assumed office.
“What they spent for the whole year is covering just 81 constituencies out of 275 constituencies,” he lamented. “You think this is a promise that they really intended to fulfil? I don’t think so.”
He condemned the government for failing to make direct transfers to the Districts and Municipalities under the supervision of the MPs for those areas and the funds “are still in Accra”.
He said the ministry did not meet its target and cited the inability to complete a classroom block for three consecutive years in some cases, as he had seen in the budget presented to parliament.
He pointed out that the government promised to contruct1000 boreholes, but “they have done less than 500”.
“The MPs of these areas would have been able to execute the project if the funds were given to MPs,” he suggested.
Even though he acknowledged government efforts in procuring 307 ambulances, he questioned why the Special Initiatives Ministry was handling a matter related to health, which should have been executed by the experts at the Ministry of Health.
“Today, when you tell them to show us the cost and what have you, they are still dancing around. They do not want accountability, and that is the challenge of this government,” he criticised.
With the government’s ‘One-Village-One-Dam’ project, he observed, “By the time the dry season came when it was most needed, they didn’t have even a bucket of water in them. Some of them were poorly constructed to the extent that one heavy rain just broke the dugout and all the water ran out.”
For him, MP’s would not have supervised such shoddy jobs because “they would be held personally accountable when an election comes”.
He said he sympathises with the Minister for Special Initiatives because “all those who work under her know that she is being used as a smokescreen” for government’s parochial interests.
Mr Muntaka concluded that “she is not really in charge” of affairs at the ministry