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Opinions of Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Mallam Issah Vindicates Akufo-Addo on Anti-Corruption Campaign

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Sept. 25, 2015

I remember pretty vividly the indictment, prosecution and conviction of Mallam Ali Yusif Issah, then-Minister of Sports under the tenure of President John Agyekum-Kufuor. I remember it vividly because it came like an earthquake in a government that was scarcely a year old, which most Ghanaians traumatized by the 20-year dictatorship of Chairman Jerry John Rawlings envisaged as a welcome respite to the rank corruption, robbery and abject hypocrisy that characterized both the Rawlings-led so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC). But I had not noticed – being far away from state side – that Mallam Issah was actually an opportunistic crossover candidate from the Limann-founded People’s National Convention (PNC) – (See “’I Don’t Like Nana Akufo-Addo, He Will Never Be President – Mallam Issah Vows” 9/24/15).

In the main, Mr. Issah was duly convicted for either embezzling or misappropriating some $46,000 belonging to the hardworking members of Ghana’s national soccer team, the Black Stars. He would be dispatched to the Nsawam Medium-Security Prison to cool his heels for several months, until he was pardoned by President Kufuor on grounds of ill-health. What is interesting here is that Mallam Issah is not saying that he did not steal the money entrusted into his custody, as Sports Minister, which he is accused of having misappropriated or squirreled into his private account; he is only angry that it was then-Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who personally undertook the vigorous prosecution of Mallam Issah, rather than delegating such statutory obligation to one of his minions or state attorneys on staff.

Now, I don’t know the exact nature of the relationship that existed back then between the two former colleagues – Mallam Issah claims that Akufo-Addo has a personal reciprocal dislike for him – but it clearly appears to me that coming as the very first major corruption scandal in the Kufuor government, Akufo-Addo’s hand was forced by the imperative need to project a positive anti-corruption image of the Kufuor administration. And so it may not have necessarily been that Akufo-Addo decided to handle the prosecution of Mallam Issah out of any personal animus, or antipathy, that he may have had for the PNC crossover cabinet appointee. Of course, I also strongly believe that Divine Providence, or God, is charitable enough to have mercy on unpatriotic thieves like Mallam Issah.

The preceding notwithstanding, it amounts to grossly claiming too much, almost to the damnable extent of blasphemy, for Mr. Issah to presume that him being duly prosecuted by Nana Akufo-Addo for stealing from the Ghanaian taxpayer, religiously either empowers or entitles him to self-righteously imprecate the political fortunes of the man who made him rudely, albeit aptly, aware of the fact that being a cabinet appointee did not entitle Mallam Issah to unconscionably embezzling funds meant for the diligent and talented Ghanaian soccer stars who were slaving themselves in Egypt to hoist the country’s flag above all else on the African continent. Indeed, if he had any sense of accountability and shame, Mallam Issah would be remorseful and profusely apologetic, instead of puerilely behaving as if he had an inalienable right to steal from the Ghanaian taxpayer, as well as the yeomanly patriots of the Ghana Black Stars.