…HE Michel HADDAD denies $50k bribe

As civil society advocates for institutional reforms and administrative systems which have structural mechanisms for fighting corruption, it is emerging that the Ghana Armed Forces may be equally corrupt as an institution just like its counterpart, the Ghana Police Service.

DAYBREAK investigations in the last few years have revealed that far from the accepted fact that everything about the military is sacrosanct, the truth is that on a daily basis, its operations manual or Service Regulations, which in the heady days of June 4 became a yardstick for measuring corruption and sentencing officers to death by firing squad, has since been consistently violated, particularly in financial administration, including the handling of expenditure related to international peacekeeping missions supervised by the United Nations.

Unfortunately, very senior military officers including some of those occupying positions within the Military High Command has been found culpable – with support from political authorities who have a mandate to lead in the fight against corruption and mismanagement of the state purse.

A confidential document intercepted by DAYBREAK which affirms the fact cited two senior officers of the rank of Colonel caught in one such scandal.

According to the document, emanating from the Special Investigations Branch of the Ghana Military Police, the two officers who were caught in the alleged act are Lt Cols George Nkansah now at Southern Command and Aaron Amadu Baba of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College.

Report on investigations conducted into shipment and clearance processes after the UNIFIL operations GHANBATT 83 in Lebanon stated that the two got mired in scandals to the tune of $91, 600 and which must be refunded to the military for its fraudulent nature.

The long list witnesses who went before the investigative committee included Colonel James Hagan, Director, UN Peacekeeping Operations, Army HQ; Major d. Fiagbe, Base Workshop; Lt Nartey James Teye; 1 Signal Regiment and WO1 Karto Arthur Parcius, HQ Special Services Brigade.

Others were Sgt Koranteng Prince Menyah, 1 Battalion; Sgt Salifu Ibrahim, 1 Signal Regiment; Cpl Oppong Samuel, HQ Special Services Brigade and Capt Dawaye Edna.

The rest were WO1 Amenyo Catherine and Higher Executive Officer Mensah Ofori.

Some of the worrying findings were that some contraband goods were found concealed in the sea freight items of some troops who served with the GHNABATT.

That Lt Col Nkansah and Lt Col Baba fraudulently secured an invoice from EL Habr Transport (HA) indicating a total amount of One Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand Six Hundred Dollars ($183,000.00) as the cost of shipping for the thirty four by twenty (34×20) footer sea freight containers.

Additionally, GHANBATT 83 paid an amount of One Hundred and Seventeen Thousand Three Hundred Dollars ($117,300) for all thirty four by twenty 34 X 20 footer sea freight containers.

It also emerged that HE Michel HADDAD did not receive Fifty Thousand Dollars as alleged by Lt. Col Nkansah, who admitted the offence of altering and forged shipping documents and misappropriation of funds meant for troops sea freight and wrote an undertaking to refund an amount of Sixty six Thousand Three Hundred Dollars on 28th September 2017 but failed to honour it.

According to the report, “it is important to bring to bear that Commanding Officers who embark on UN missions in Lebanon over years have been conspiring with various shipping companies to inflate figures on invoices used in clearing sea freight container at the Tema Port. In the case of UNIFIL GHNABATT 83 the total costs of shipment including all charged as One Hundred and Seventeen Thousand Three Hundred Dollars ($117,300) for all thirty-four twenty (34x 20) footer sea freight containers whereas the invoice presented to MOVCON by Lt Col Baba at the port was One Hundred and Eighty Three Thousand Six Hundred Dollars $183,600 representing a difference of  Sixty six Thousand Three Hundred Dollars ($66,300.00) in shipment for the same thirty four by twenty (34×20)  foot containers. This clandestine act is clearly an attempt at evading tax and misappropriating troop’s money. If these acts are brought to the notice of the Ghana Revenue Authority, it could spell mistrust between the GRA and the Ghana Armed Forces.