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Opinions of Monday, 11 September 2017

Columnist: Isaac Kyei Andoh

Since when did Board Chairs get blamed for CEOs and Directors’ decisions in Ghana?


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As a Ghanaian, I must first of all state that the SSNIT Software scandal deserves to be interrogated and anyone found to have made personal gain at the expense of the nation, brought to book.

Money meant for the comfort of many should never be allowed to foot the cost of the luxury of a few.
That said though, finding people guilty on radio, television, online and print media does not in any way make them guilty. This is why the issue has to be investigated by the appropriate institution and for the court to decide if crime is suspected.

My worry though is the name of the former Board Chairman of SSNIT which seems to have dominated the then Director of SSNIT who was in charge of the day to day running of the Trust.
Since when, in the history of Ghana, did Board Chairmen get blamed for failed administrative decisions in Ghana?

There have been reported financial malfeasances at Cocoa Board, GHAPOHA, SADA and host of other institutions in Ghana and one thing is common: you never hear the Board getting blamed for the alleged offense. This is because they are purely the result of administrative decisions that the board have little power to influence.

On the SSNIT website, the boards are described as the Trustees of the scheme and they are responsible for the policy direction of SSNIT.
So why is Professor Joshua Alabi being made to suffer injury for a decision that is not policy related but purely for the day to day administration of SSNIT?

Is it because he has been tipped as one of the people likely to succeed ex-president Mahama as the flag-bearer of the NDC?
The culture of demonizing people in the name of politics in this country will in the long-term compel people, with genuine intention to serve this country in leadership positions, to rethink their decision to avoid insults and lame accusations..
Even though we have come of age as a democracy, our politics still thrives on Machiavellian tactics and the only way to rise being to pull others down.
It is unfair and not right because in the long run, we want credible leaders for this country and perception is very important if leaders can work with the needed support of the people.

In Ghana, we have made every politician appear to be a thief in the minds of the people and therefore once a new person emerges, he is dragged into the mud.
I don’t know Prof Alabi enough to bulge for him but clearly from a distance, I can say with authority that his name is being dragged into the SSNIT issue because he has been mentioned as one of the frontrunners to lead the NDC.

This does not in any way imply that the people accusing him are NPP: in truth, it can possibly be the underground dealings of some of the NDC flagbearer hopefuls.
Where ever this is coming from and whoever wants to benefit from the diversion of accusation: the first point of defeat in every investigation focussing on the wrong suspect.

Prof Alabi cannot and should not take the blame for a decision taken by Ernest Thompson simply because its fits into future political propaganda.
If we want to get to the root of the SSNIT Software scandal, we must take away the political lens and deal with the people whose decision led to this loss to the state. If Prof Alabi is found to have gone beyond his core duty as Chairman of the Board to be part of that deal, he should be dealt with.

Until then, he must not be subjected to ridicule before the court of public opinion when Ernest Thompson and those whose signatures made the deal possible remain in the periphery because they have not been tagged as potential leaders of the NDC.

We can’t use different rules for the same offense because of politics and expect to make much progress in our fight against corruption.

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