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Opinions of Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Columnist: Amorse, Amos Blessing

Akufo-Addo’s sacking bravado versus IGP’s ‘galamsey’ tomfoolery

Last week or so, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana resigned amidst speculations that government impressed on him to take that decision because he was appointed by former President John Mahama. This was later to be confirmed by Dr Anthony Akoto Osei who said the Governor resigned because of his alleged dalliance with the NDC.

This clearly show that the President or whoever, used coercive power of state to chase out the Governor because of his political affiliation. Personally, I don't have a problem with that. At least, lawyer President Akufo Addo has set "good" precedent, and the NDC would not hesitate to invoke same precedent to chase out the new Governor President Akufo Addo hurriedly appointed when they recapture power.

But look at this! President Akufo Addo has variously announced his unalloyed commitment to fighting the galamsey menace. The Minister of Natural Resources recently begged Chinese nationals destroying our environment to stop the act. When he was scolded by the public for going mild on persons his government has promised to prevent from destroying the environment in our own country, he issued a steam-less ultimatum to the galamsayers.

The former Natural Resources Minister, Hon Inusah Fuseini has also been telling us how these Chinese officials variously attempted to induce him to allow them perpetuate their destructive trade. Only God knows the number of powerful people in this country these 'clever' Chinese guys have successfully bribed.

While Ghanaians, except those profiting from the act, are busily advocating for an end to galamsey, the Ghana Police Service led by the Inspector General of Police happily accepted a 'fat' cash donation from a very powerful Chinese Firm.

Note that the President or Natural Resources Minister cannot fight these Chinese galamsayers without the active involvement of the Ghana Police Service. But the same Police Service who will be used to drive away these Chinese galamsayers and others engaged in the act are now the ones having a jolly ride with Chinese nationals and accepting cash donations from them. Isn't this incredible?

Can the IGP look into the faces of his Chinese sponsors to deploy his men to the hinterlands to chase out Chinese galamsayers? The cash donation was ostensibly to support the Police Service to complete the PIPPS office. But beyond that, there is a hidden and sinister motive. Their motive was to induce the police to help them impede government’s effort in fighting the age long problem. Why would the Chinese Company make this donation at a time Ghanaians are up in arms against Chinese nationals engaged in galamsey?

This is a clear case of bribery and we don't need another Joe Ghartey committee to determine if the donation was a bribe or not. Come to think of it, do we need foreign nationals to build offices for our security agencies? Our we not exposing our country to underserved danger?

What the IGP has done has gone beyond be careful level. President Akufo Addo and his men contrived and used coercive power to force the Governor of the Bank of Ghana out, this is the time to apply the same coercive power to show the IGP the exit. The President has made us to understand that he abhors corruption. This is the time to back his words with action. An IGP who gleefully accepts bribe in front of TV cameras while in uniform cannot work with a President who detests corruption in any form.

First, the IGP must be instructed to return the 'bribe' to the Chinese officials. It must not end there, he must be impressed upon to resign. If a Governor of the Central Bank can be made to resign because of his political affiliation, then an IGP who openly accepts bribe must not only resign, he must also be prosecuted together with those who offered the bribe.

President Akufo Addo and his government's commitment to fighting the galamsey menace should not be cast in any sophisticated political theory or logic. If you promise to end galamsey, the surest way to do it is to ban it and use state security to chase out those engage in the act. Individuals who are not committed to this laudable fight must be thrown out of the galamsey war ship.

And in this case, the IGP cannot be trusted to support the fight against galamsey so he must go. No long talks. The President must demonstrate that he is not only good at driving away NDC appointees. He must add to his tally of talents and records that he is equally good at sacking persons like the IGP who accepted donation from Chinese officials at a time we are wailing and calling for an end to galamsey. Enough of the sentimental solutions! This is the time to morsel the bullet.

Amos Blessing Amorse