Award-winning Investigative Journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni has made a passionate appeal to the Chairman of The Church of Pentecost to check their Elder, Joseph Siaw Agyepong of Zoomlion Ghana Limited over what he describes as a dubious contract with the government of Ghana.
Manasseh has been a lone ranger in an active campaign against the CEO of Zoomlion for almost 10 years, accusing the astute businessman of engaging in several shady business deals with successive governments.
In an open letter posted on his Facebook page, Mr. Azure, among other things, asked if the church of Pentecost was complicit in Mr. Siaw Agyepong’s “cruelty”.
DEAR Apostle Eric Nyamekye,
1. I write to you, the Chairman of The Church of Pentecost, to draw your attention to the cruelty and theft that is perpetrated against 45,000 children of God by one of your most respected elders and one of the biggest funders of your church.
2. I wouldn’t have involved your church in this mess, but I have evidence that your church is involved in lobbying politicians for the business involved.
3. On December 3, 2016, when Zoomlion Ghana Limited market its 10th anniversary with President Mahama and opposition politicians in attendance, your predecessor, Apostle Dr. Opoku Onyinah preached the gospel at the ceremony.
4. He used his sermon to appeal to the “government and opposition politicians” to support Zoomlion and its group of companies. [This link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmwqlLvvQaE&t=2846s has evidence of Zoomlion’s grand corruption and a video of the immediate past Chairman of The Church of Pentecost, openly lobbying “politicians” to keep doing business with Zoomlion.]
5. I am aware that your church, in some time past held prayers for the Jospong Group when the government changed hands and there were fears that the new administration would not continue with the crude monopoly President Kufuor created for Zoomlion.
6. I am also aware that Zoomlion is a big spender in your church. He has donated church buildings, vehicles and cash to support your ministry. For this reason, it is only fair that you, as a church, should have an interest in the dealings of the company you openly lobby politicians to engage.
7. Within the period The Church of Pentecost Chairman was lobbying politicians for Zoomlion, the company and the politicians signed a contract to supply bin liners and waste bins. That quantity of bin liners was sold at Zoomlion and its sister companies at NINE HUNDRED THOUSAND CEDIS. But Jospong and the politicians teamed up and signed a contract that priced the bin liners at SIXTY-THREE MILLION CEDIS. Yes, 63 MILLION CEDIS for bin liners the company sold at its factory for less than 1 MILLION CEDIS. [Here’s the evidence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmwqlLvvQaE&t=2846s and Jospong confirmed the pricing when the story was published.] Jospong and Zoomlion have been involved in many corrupt deals in Ghana and abroad. The World Bank even banned Zoomlion in 2013 for two years after the company admitted to paying bribes in Liberia.
8. In 2017, Elder Siaw Agyepong told Joy FM in an interview that The Church of Pentecost didn’t believe the corruption allegations against him. I didn’t believe him because members of the church aren’t idiots. Every allegation of corruption I have made against Jospong had evidence to back it. It is the reason he sued me for defamation and had to run away. A former Chief of Staff at the presidency and cabinet minister told me they could talk to him so that we resolve the issue out of court. I declined and told them if the government was interested in prosecuting Jospong’s corruption, I was prepared to prove in court that the company was irredeemably corrupt.If you don’t want to believe Manasseh Azure Awuni’s exposes, then you should believe the World Bank, the 2013 GYEEDA Committee, CHRAJ and Auditor-General, who have found and published corrupt deals involving the Jospong Group and Zoomlion.
9. The issue I want to bring to your attention this morning is not about the general corruption of the Jospong Group of Companies.
10. Apostle Eric Nyamekye, my heart aches anytime I see the sweepers of Zoomlion at work. Every month, the government allocates 600 cedis from the public purse for each sweeper. But the government and Zoomlion entered into a cruel arrangement to pay the workers 180 cedis a month so that 420 cedis should go to Zoomlion.
11. Zoomlion claims the number of sweepers nationwide is 45,000 and bills the government for that number even though the Youth Employment Agency said the number was inflated and Zoomlion could not prove the 45,000 figure.
12. This means that every month, Zoomlion makes about 19 MILLION CEDIS from this contract while the sweepers go home with only 180 Cedis. They don’t have transportation allowance from their homes to the markets they sweep. They don’t have health insurance or pension. Nothing!
13. Chairman of The Church of Pentecost, your church has launched a 3-day fasting and prayer against the economic hardship in Ghana. In this hardship, what can 180 cedis buy? How do you think the sweepers and their children will survive this period?
14. You may have heard all manner of lies told by Zoomlion that the money goes into buying fuel and maintaining cars. Here is the worst part of it:
15. When the sweepers finish sweeping, for instance, the Bongo market and put the refuse in the big communal containers, ZOOMLION HAS A SEPARATE CONTRACT FOR WHICH IT IS PAID TO LIFT THE CONTAINER FROM THE MARKET TO THE REFUSE DISPOSAL SITE. This contract is called Sanitation Improvement Package (SIP) and ALL THE DISTRICT, MUNICIPAL AND METROPOLITAN ASSEMBLIES IN GHANA have been paying for this contract from their deducted common funds since 2007.
16. Zoomlion also has a separate contract to “manage” the final disposal sites and another separate contract to fumigate the assemblies. This contract has been running continuously since 2010. [I have evidence of everything I say about Jospong, Zoomlion and their corruption. If you invite me to substantiate or give more details, I will willingly do so. For nearly 10 years since I started this crusade, you never bothered to find out more, but I hope you will act on this letter. One of your church elders wrote a similar letter but nothing has changed).
17. Having put the exploitation in context, I want to appeal to you and the entire church. The God you serve is a just God. God does not support stealing from the poor to feed the greed of a few.
18. If you care about Zoomlion and lobby politicians to do business with the company, then you should care about the thousands that are exploited by the company. They are children of God.
19. Their tears and cries are not heard by the cruel and corrupt politicians who team up with your church elder to deny them decent livelihoods, but the God above hears them when they cry out.
20. Your church has stated its position on homosexuality and I want you to take a position against this grand corruption and slavery of the poor sweepers by a company you lobby politicians to support. Step in and stop this. If Jospong continues with this crude and cruel practice, apply the sanctions you apply to the young people who have sex before marriage.
21. The contract has expired and a new one is being negotiated under the same outrageous terms. Step in and let your elder and his accomplices treat the poor, helpless and voiceless sweepers right.
22. If you care about Jospong’s tithe, I implore you to care about his soul. This practice isn’t going to end well if, indeed, there is God and there is Judgment Day.
23. And you should care about the thousands that are oppressed, cheated and denied their due by Jospong and the politicians you lobby to continue doing business with the group.The Church of Pentecost is one of the few churches that still stand for true Christianity and I hope its leadership will choose Christ over anything else when it matters most.Yours sincerely,Manasseh Azure Awuni