Excellent Ghana says it has been observing with keen interest, the matters and issues arising from the outbreak of Bird Flu (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza HPAI H5NI) in Ghana since 2015.
While commending government for adopting tough measures to contain the bird flu outbreak, the civil society organization says it is shocked, at the revelation by Mr. Victor Oppong, President of the Ghana Poultry Farmers Association, that the majority of their members whose birds/farms were destroyed owing to the Bird Flu outbreak are yet to be compensated five solid years after their livelihoods have been destroyed.
The CSO, says, it is appalled by the explanation from the then Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of Livestock, Dr. Louisa Hannah Bissiw, that monies allocated for the compensation of poultry farmers whose farms were affected by the disease, had been used for logistics and administrative expenditure notwithstanding the government’s initial purchase of six vehicles, 20 motorbikes and the establishment of laboratories to help contain the bird flu disease outside the amount received for compensation.
“In performing our proper role and constitutional duty of demanding accountability and transparency, it is our conviction, that, her farcical and ludicrous position confirms that Dr. Louisa Hannah Bissiw (Deputy Minister of Agric – as she then was – either derelicted, refused or neglected her legal duty and worryingly still, appears unrepentant in helping the farmers receive compensation: rather, adding insults to injury,” its statement averred.
It added: “Excellent Ghana therefore call on our venerable Dr. Hannah Bissiw (being directly in charge then) and indeed the government to assuage our fears by clearly telling our suffering poultry farmers and Ghanaians;
- How much funds was entirely voted by the John Dramani Mahama government and other bodies for the containment of bird flu between 2015-2016?
- How much of the released amount was actually paid to affected poultry farmers, why?
- An account of the how these monies were expended notwithstanding any report from PIAC or other statutory bodies?
- Under what circumstances and under whose control was the amount released for the COMPENSATION of farmers affected by the bird flu disease, disbursed?
- What provisions and procedures were followed in disbursing the funds released for compensation if due diligence was firstly done at all?
- Has Ghana suffered any financial loss/misappropriation from the use of released/accrued monies for the compensation of poultry farmers, with regards to the Bird flu outbreak in 2015and if so, are there grounds to charge anyone with the offence of “causing financial loss”??
- Were these said monies underutilized” through negligence, criminal activity or any other illegal or wrongful act, and if so, who was responsible for it?
- How come about 36 bird flu affected Poultry farmers remain uncompensated if they were to be covered by the total monies received for the bird flu compensation?
- Where are the separate cars Dr. Bissiw claims the compensation monies was used to buy, and in what state are these vehicles? Especially when further checks reveal, that, the Ministry of Agriculture, received GH¢7million out of the GH¢11m requested from government, (forming more than half of the requested amount) but failed or neglected to compensate even half the total number of affected farmers. In creating this problem, has our former Deputy Minister of Agric in-charge of Livestock, Dr. Louisa Hanna Bissiw not increased the likelihood of individuals/ farmers getting dishonest and nicodemously selling off any infected farm produce in the future, for fear of suffering foreseeable losses?”