In reaction to former President John Mahama’s description of Ghana’s newly launched digital property addressing system as ‘419’ or fraudulent, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has told the latter that the real scammers under his previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, will soon be exposed.
A visibly incensed Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia did not take kindly to the former President’s criticism, describing Mr. Mahama’s understanding of the system as laughable, and urged him to read wide about the system.
He said Ghanaians after experiencing eight years of the former president’s leadership as Vice President and President, know what a ‘419’ scam looks like.
“We know a 419 scam when we see one, and that unfortunately was the hallmark of the administration of former president Mahama. Ghanaians will find out more soon as people are held legally accountable. With the record that former president Mahama has in the area of governance, it is incredible that he would have the effrontery to talk about “419 scams.”
The Vice President, an avowed critic of the then Mahama administration, made these comments when he spoke today [Monday], about the importance of the digital property addressing system for farmers at the plush Peduase Lodge.
Speaking at an NDC unity walk in Cape Coast on Sunday, the former President accused the Vice President of embarrassing the government with the digital addressing system which in his view attracted a huge cost, when same could be accessed on Google Maps for free.
“How can you launch a Google GPS system that is freely available on our mobile phone and say it is a national addressing system. It is such a pity. Why will you embarrass the president so much? You go and take a whole president to bring him to come and launch a system that is 419,” John Mahama said.
According to him, the addressing system is fraudulent, and that someone must be punished for misusing state funds to procure the system.
He thus called on the president to “show that he is serious about corruption” by holding someone accountable for the launch of the $2.5 million digital addressing system.
“When we talk about accountability, this is where the president should show that he is serious about corruption. Somebody must account for 15 million giving away free of charge. When I was in office, there was a bus branding incident, GH¢3.6m, a minister of state resigned because of GH¢3.6m,” John Mahama said.
But Dr Bawumia said Government indeed ensured value for money, and so cannot be accused of wastage or corruption.
He thus enumerated a number of initiatives that were known to have led to the siphoning of state funds under then President Mahama.
“The National Digital Property Address System:
• is not your 419 GH¢200 million SADA Guinea fowl and tree planting scam
• is not your 419 Smarttys Bus Branding scam
• is not your 419 $23 million runway at Kumasi Airport
• is not your 419 GH¢ 952 million GYEEDA scam
• is not the 419 $14 million mansion for the vice president
• is not the 419 GH¢657m Woyome, Waterville and other judgement debt scams”
According to the Vice President, other companies bid as high as GHS170 million for the project.
He said one of the most credible international companies that participated put in a bid for over GHS38million.
“The NDPAS is therefore value for money. Countries such as Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Mongolia are all implementing NDPASs similar to Ghana and none has opted for a free Google or other existing free mapping app. In fact, from the prices quoted by the international main supplier of the digital address systems all these countries have spent at least three times more than Ghana for their digital property address systems. For former president Mahama to claim that Ghana’s NDPAS and the accompanying GhanaPostGPS app is a 419 scam demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the system. We have been witnesses to 8 years of his governance as vice president and president and we know what 419 scams look like.”
Mahama just engaged in parroting propaganda – Bawumia
Dr. Bawumia in response said, “I read that the former President described Ghana’s National Digital Addressing system as a 419 scam. When I read his reasoning for such a description, it became very evident to me that he has no clue about what he was talking about and was just engaged in parroting propaganda. I actually had a good laugh.”
Educating the former President and critics of the system, Dr. Bawumia explained that, the system is a “national database system that provides the digital address for every landed property in Ghana.”
“Basically every 5x5m property has a unique digital address on the grid with region, district and postcode. Under this system, 16.1 billion addresses have been generated for the whole of Ghana. It relies on surveyed data from Lands Commission and the Latitude and Longitudes to generate postcodes and addresses for every square inch of Ghana.”
He further pointed out that, the system is “independent of Google and any other mapping tool” adding that “Google will not give the postcode, region or district for a particular location for example. It will not give you a register of addresses for every user. Banks for example cannot confirm an address by going to Google maps, but they can do so through the NDPAS for registered users.”
Digital Addressing system will benefit Ghanaians – Bawumia
The Vice President stated that, the 2.5 million dollar system will be beneficial to Ghanaians and cannot be compared to the millions blown by the Mahama government in the bus branding, SADA scandals and others that rocked his government.
“We did not spend it on Akonfem, bus branding, over-priced mansions and contracts, ghost roads, etc. We have spent it on something productive. As a result, Ghana has an excellent digital property addressing system if former president Mahama would care to take some time and just read and learn about it. It was developed by Ghanaians and we should collectively take pride in their work and not try to pull them down.”
He warned that former President Mahama and his appointees will see what 419 really means when the claws of the legal system is unleashed on them.