Despite all his good intentions, Anas is not an angel

Today is definitely tough, for me, as I had to write against all odds. It’s tight, and I guess you are not going to get the same quality of art as Simpa Panyin has been known for.

Anyway, I admired the Royal Wedding, and how the couple celebrated their love. It was beautiful. They reminded me of a birthday outing I witnessed between two Angels. They held hands. They stared. They kissed, and finally, they flew. Theirs was not of royal wings, but beautiful enough to call it their own.

It is this beautiful celebration of love between Harry and Meghan that should have filled this page, but for the scandals that suddenly emerged on our front pages, Nyantakyi here, KelniGVG there, instantly dislodging my thoughts, making me wonder if there could ever be a day in our lives, in this country, when we would not soil our feet.

I have been reflecting on life a lot, since morning, especially in the light of the unending scandals that plague our country. In many ways, I feel we need a revolution. But which of them? Those who led revolutions, themselves, eventually lived in opulence while in office. The servants of those who vowed to protect the public purse are profusely leaking the purse.

I am told a certain company, KelniGVG, has been awarded $89million contract to monitor our telecom companies, to ascertain how much revenue government should receive out of each call, similar to the Subah deal we condemned a few years ago. How it happened that Subah suddenly transformed into KelniGVG can only be explained by our politicians who speak with both of their mouths.

I am growing weaker each day – I don’t know what I should attribute it to – despair, frustration, or just a disappointment. Nana Addo, I had a lot of confidence in you. But some of these KVIP things break me down. It does not, at all, make sense to me, to condemn Subah, then suddenly emerge with KelniGVG – they both appear reckless and irresponsible, honestly.

Sam George, the Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, and a former Presidential Staffer in the government of President John Mahama has also waded into the scandal, annoyingly. He is reported to have said, “the taxpayer has no business paying any private company any money for anything called monitoring because that is a calculated sham to defraud the taxpayer”.

Sam George is further quoted to have said: “None of the companies, be it Subah or GVG, has the capacity to tell, irrespective of any probe they claim they have put into the telecom systems, that they can give us exact real data separate from what the telecom companies themselves generate”. He concluded by saying that “the deal signed during the Mahama government was useless, claiming all the time that Subah was contracted, it relied on the data of the telecom companies, and that the Akufo-Addo government signing a new contract is only a replication of an old contract which amounts to nothing”.

You see the problem Simpa Panyin has with you? Sam George, you were in President Mahama’s government for several years. You knew the Subah deal was useless. Yet you did not say anything. What is it that has changed, that, you are now telling us that the deal President Mahama entered into was bad?

Anyway, I agree with you. The Subah deal was as useless as I imagine this GVG one too is. When I was at Barclays, we had something we called “Start of Day”, and another we called “End of Day”. These are simple data generating actions that gave us a full picture of what the bank had gone through during the day.

The Bank’s FOS (Front Office Software) had been configured in such a way that, each day, every single transaction such as withdrawals, deposits, balance enquiries, ATM transactions, and virtually every single press of the computer key was registered on the FOS automatically.

At the end of the day when the bank had closed to customers, and every staff had entered all outstanding balances, the operations manager, or his representative, then printed the “End of Day”, which was simply giving a command to the computer, to print.

The computer automatically printed every single transaction that it was used for, including even if you only checked a customer’s account without any further action (like making a call without answer), the print out will show that you entered the account (you made a call) without any further action (without answer).

It will show the name of the staff, the staff ID, the date of the transaction, and the time of the action, including the branch/department name and ID, and whether the transaction was authorized or not authorized, whether it was deleted or not, whether it was reversed or not, as well as deposits/withdrawals and balances on customers’ accounts, including the actual text or data you entered.

I left the bank in 2007, at a time when technology was not as robust as it is today. We did not need Subah or whatever to monitor any of those. It was an automated generation of data that was verifiable. With the advancement of technology, do we really need $89million to monitor call transactions, when it is so easy for the telecom companies themselves to generate every aspect of the data we are looking for? My brother, are we not finding ourselves in another create, loot and share?

Anyway, I don’t want some of these things to draw me away from President Kwesi Nyantakyi, and what the future holds for him. Kwesi Nyantakyi, Ghana’s longest serving FA president is currently under arrest. President Akufo-Addo is reported to have watched a video that implicates him in a number of ways that has implications for the presidency.

With President Akufo-Addo’s arrest warrant flying in the air, Countryman Songo, a dismissed worker of Multimedia Group, who was dismissed because of his constant corruption allegation against Kwesi Nyantakyi, has become an instant hero, as many people are now calling for his return to continue his “Fire for Fire” program on Adom TV.

I have seen Kwesi Nyantakyi rise, from the year 2005, and I am not sure if I am about to see his fall. I have no idea why Kwesi has done this to himself. The Ghana Football Association, is not for one person, so Kwesi, you should have left when the applaud was loudest.

I don’t know what President Akufo-Addo saw in the video. But for him to have instantly called for Nyantakyi’s arrest, is a good enough value, that something seriously wrong has been seen somewhere. The unfolding scandal gives me no comfort, creating the impression of money being stolen. I get the impression of women being used. I get the impression of defrauding by false pretense. I get all manner of impressions.

I am not sure if Nyantakyi has been given the opportunity to watch the video. Even if he has, he still has the chance to exonerate himself of any criminalities. We have had several examples of people who are actually caught in the act, yet they are able to give reasonable explanations as to what actually transpired. Eventually, they get acquitted and discharged.

I am sure you know me to be a hardliner anticorruption writer. So I am not defending Nyantakyi in any way. If he indeed, stole some money or used the president’s name in vain, the appropriate criminal prosecutions should apply.

But we must not kill him before his death. Anas is great. I love his work. And he epitomizes my ideal world of what good citizens must do to save our country from needless leakages. But, just like myself, and everyone else, Anas is not an Angel. Despite all his good intentions, he is capable of wrongfully implicating innocent people.

We must remember that none of the judges implicated in the previous Anas’ video went to jail. Many of them were dismissed. Some of them were suspended. Others were exonerated. What does it tell us? That not everyone implicated in the video might be a criminal. Nyantakyi might have been seen doing something wrong in the video, which is worth investigating, but that does not instantly transform him into a criminal.

Columnist: James Kofi Annan

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