Feature Article of Monday, 13 February 2012
Columnist: Ampofo, Ofori
Mark My Words.
By: Ofori Ampofo
As of February 2012, the Alfred Agbesi Woyome scandal is the biggest news now in Ghana; and it is going to be the best seller for some time to come. The reasons are the magnitude of the scandal and the timing being an election year.
However, this scandal, corruption and misappropriation of public funds is not the first of its kind, and if we as a people do not change and learn to hold our leaders accountable, and our judicial systems also fails us, then, it is never going to be the last.
Ghanaians as a people have had several scandals in the past, some investigated and some casually overlooked and never prosecuted.
We have had several cases of financial misappropriations investigated in the past.
We have had cases of causing financial losses to the state investigated in the past.
They all became topics for discussions in the news media and on our streets and in our homes, as if people were going to be crucified. In all these, our Politicians and top civil servants haven’t leant any lessons, because, all such evils of our Coutry in the past have been covered up by those accomplices in Government.
In the few cases where culprits were found guilty by competent Courts of justice and sentenced to terms of imprisonment, they were later pardoned by the constitutional powers of the Executive, without any payment of restitutions. They always got away with their ill-gotten wealth, and Ghana has always been the ultimate looser.
The political will to punish economic crimes against the State is unfortunately not known in our Political history and culture. That is the main reason why political and civil service corruption has become cancerous and endemic to the extent that it has become a norm in our society. That is why politicians sign contracts without reading and understanding its content. At the end of the day there seems to be a Presidential pardon. So the lesson seems to be just do it and damn the consequences!
In all fairness, if the Attorney General of Ghana decided not to contest the Woyome judgment case, then there are more questions that she and all those connected to the payment of the judgment debt will have to answer. The unfolding scenario surrounding the Woyome scandal as so far established makes it very stinky and shameful for the office of the Attorney general.
To serve as a deterrent, all those who will be found guilty in the Woyome scandal, must in my opinion, have their assets and all bank accounts confiscated to the state. They should as well be sentenced to terms between 20 to maximum 50 years in prison. Until we start punishing economic criminals and corruption with all seriousness, the likes of Woyome will always be there and corruption will never be curtailed in our nation.
In a Ghanaweb feature article of 21st January 2012, a columnist Kofi Ata of Cambridge UK wrote in part, “ Woyomegate has now become a circus in Ghana. It is almost like a pandemonium in a Serengeti, where a Pride of lions made a kill, and the Predators and Scavengers such as hyena and vultures also want a piece. The only loser is the kill. In this case Ghana, who has none to speak for her. The pride Alfred Woyome , the Predators, NDC, and the Scavengers, NPP, are all only interested in filling their stomachs at the expense of the kill (MOTHER GHANA)”. I agree with Kofi Ata. The whole Woyome scandal was hatched under the NPP and finally killed under NDC and now buds are shivering. That is why nobody wants to cooperate with the investigations. Below is my intuitive prediction: As the headline indicates, Woyome has come and it will go away sooner or later. However, with the complexity of the scandal, my personal intuition is that Woyome may in the worst case be tried and some people sentenced for few years’ imprisonment as sacrificial lambs, just to cover up the people at the top; and as always, later these convicts will receive a Presidential pardon, before President Mills leaves office.
LET’S ALL MARK MY WORDS! AND MOTHER GHANA IS ALWAS THE KILL. I WEEP FOR MY COUNTRY.