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General News of Monday, 12 October 2009

Source: Myjoyonline

Political system is rotten to the core - ex-SFO boss

The first Executive Director of the Serious Fraud Office says the political system in the country is "rotten to the core."

Mr Dominic de Graft Aidoo is therefore advocating a total overhaul of the system to save the country from the systemic corruption that has engulfed the nation.

Speaking to the Accra-based radio station, Joy FM, Aidoo, said he was hounded out of office by the very people who put him at the SFO - the political elite - because he was not willing to bend.

He said when he even tried to prosecute some cases at the courts, the dockets got missing - frustrating his attempts to seek justice for the country.

Citing some landmark cases he investigated, Mr de Graft Aidoo said he looked into issues relating to Securities Discount Company (SDC), SDCI, Capital Telecom and A-Life.

He said while investigating A-Life, a former Deputy Attorney-General in the Rawlings-led government, Mr Martin Amidu, called and tried to give him instructions as to how to conduct the investigations.

"What Martin Amidu tried to do was sufficient grounds for conflict so I resisted it."

Asked by Kojo whether he was surprised by the Mabey & Johnson scandal that has rocked some public officials, Mr De graft Aidoo said "No!

He said while investigating Capital Telecom on the instructions of former president Rawlings, the late Dani Ofori-Atta volunteering information in the Capital Telecom investigations, mentioned some individuals in the government then who played certain roles to make money from the bridge builders - M&J.

According to the a-little-less-than-72-year-old former Executive Director of SFO, Mr. Dani Ofori-Atta disclosed he (Ofori-Atta) had "made profit from some bridges he worked on."

He said public officials deliberately inflate figures of contracts and items meant for the state and rip the nation off.

He expressed regret that public officials used civil servants to perpetrate corrupt practices and left such officials to their own mercy when problems arose from those practices.

Mr de Graft Aidoo stressed the need for the strengthening of anti-corruption institutions in the country.

For him, the current moribund nature of the institutions makes them incapable of vigorously fighting or preventing corruption.