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General News of Thursday, 17 November 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

I just can't arrest officials implicated in corruption - Mahama

President John Mahama has responded to critics who say he has failed in bringing to book claims of corruption among some public officials in his government.

He said Ghana's constitutional rule must be respected and allowed to work adding he would have acted arbitrarily if Ghana were still in the era of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC).

Responding to a question at the ‘Evening Encounter’ with the Presidential candidates on GTV Wednesday, he spoke of his handicap in ordering the arrest of alleged corrupt public officials in his government and putting them behind bars with due process of the law.

He said although it was done under the PNDC, the time are different and Ghanaians must appreciate that he is not a dictator to "you are accused of corruption I will catch you and lock you up and wait until you are proven guilty or innocent then release you."

"But we cannot eat our cake and have it. People have to go through the process and the process is very slow,” the President noted.

There have been a lot of allegations of corrupt practices in the President's administration with many Ghanaians accusing him of lacking the courage to crack the whip when it matters most.

Some have criticised Mr Mahama for reassigning his appointees when they drop the ball in executing their constitutionally mandated duties.

President Mahama re-assigned the Minister for Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and his Deputy Joseph Yammin right after the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

This was some few days after the Black Stars were eliminated from the FIFA World Cup.

But the President insisted that his government is doing its best in dealing with allegations of corruption under his watch.

He gave an example of how government has been able to recover about GHc40 million from officers implicated in the malfeasance at the National Service Secretariat three years ago.

"Some of them have pleaded guilty and offered a refund so we’ve gotten back GHc40 millions of taxpayers’ money,” adding others are under criminal investigations which have been ongoing for the last three years.

He pleaded with all to have "patience with the process because we cannot go back to unconstitutional system.”