Seen as development agents at the constituency level, Members of Parliament (MP) are expected to use their share of funds, including the District Assembly Common Fund and Social Intervention Fund (SIF), among others, to support pro-poor development activities in the communities to the benefit of the people.
But according to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Jaman South, their National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP, Williams Okofo-Dateh, is doing the opposite.
They allege the MP is engaging in financial malfeasance and corrupt acts with approved project items or money by directorates of the assembly not disbursed. A situation, they said, is killing the development agenda of the municipality.
At a press conference in Drobo, Hayford Techie, Jaman South constituency Deputy Organizer of the NPP, accused Mr. Okofo-Dateh of colluding with suppliers to divert funds meant for the vulnerable, and school buildings at Anukunano, Miremano, and other communities, which is against the Procurement and Financial Management Acts, thereby depriving the people of the expected benefit.
“He (MP) has taken money to procure 600 bags of cement and 20 trips of sand to construct classroom blocks for the people of Anukunano, but our checks from the site indicate that after almost two years of taking that money, only 1,200 blocks have been molded. Again, Hon Okofo-Dateh has taken money for the Kwadwobadukrom project with virtually nothing to show for it,” he alleged.
A trip of sand and the blocks were on site near the dilapidated Anukunano MA JHS when JoyNews visited the cashew farming community.
Mr. Techie said the MP also took over 70,000 Cedis from the MP’s share of the common fund to purchase food items for the vulnerable in society during the 2021 Christmas celebration, however, their checks indicated “the items were diverted to party executives as Christmas gifts instead of the vulnerable in society”.
The NPP also alleged that 39,000 cedis the MP collected from the GETFUND meant for the purchase of about 300 bags of cement and 4 trips of sand to Miremano Islamic Primary, Ampenkro Asratoa M/A JHS, and Adamsu R/C JHS has still not been supplied despite inflating the prices of the items to about 15%.
The Jaman South NPP constituency secretary, Samuel Obeng Takyi, further alleged that building materials worth 20,000 cedis for the Miremano Islamic School resulted in a cash donation of 12,000 cedis to the school instead.
He explained that the MP, since coming into office, also took 60,000 cedis from his share of the social intervention fund to organize a football competition with 10,000, 7,000, and 3,000 cedis as prizes for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams.
The competition, however, did not end as a result of alleged security concerns.
“One would have expected that if the competition didn’t end as expected, the 20,000 cedis award should have been paid back to where the money was taken from, but for almost two years now the money is nowhere to be found, all as a calculated vehicle to loot from the people”, Mr. Obeng Takyi alleged.
When contacted, the Jaman South Municipal Chief Executive, Andrews Bediako, corroborated the claims made against the MP, Okofo-Dateh, adding that there are invoices and receipts to show that monies duly paid to the MP ends up not being used for the intended purposes with many abandoned projects in the communities.
“He (MP) went to some churches to say that I have refused to sign the 2022 documents to enable him to provide items to the vulnerable. I was around, so I showed the 2021 beneficiary list to them, which included NDC constituency executives”, he said and added that the 2022 beneficiary list is even worse.
To remedy the situation, Mr. Bediako said he has control over those that come to him, adding, “I have written to the education and health directorates in charge of the GETFUND and the SIF not to make payment without my knowledge, else I will involve the NIB, whom I am already inviting to investigate these issues”.
He emphasized that the money is not the MP’s money that he can spend at will, hence he will not allow him to shortchange the people of Jaman South.
The party called all stakeholders, including the media, audit service, NIB, and opinion leaders, to get involved and join them to serve as watchdogs to funds received by the MP and hold him accountable.
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