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Opinions of Thursday, 27 September 2018

Columnist: Ahmed Antwi-Boampong

Anti-corruption ‘macho man’ Martin Amidu cries for resources

In our attempt to fight corruption we went for an over hyped macho man and effectively starved him until he cried and lamented from the pangs of hunger in the open. I have maintained that throughout history the fight against corruption has been fought and defeated not by macho but by systems, even though I concede that among the other requirements are the twin requisite of political will and an incorruptible anti-corruption crusader.

What’s happening to the National identification cards and processes which to my mind should serve as the basis for any attempt to fight corruption. Why? Because that’s supposed to be the primary identifier of individuals and entities that should serve as the requirement for holding any account whatsoever. As it stands now, not even God can track any political thief or civil or public servant who’s punching above his means and stashing public funds in the numerous banks we have across the country.

Similarly, businesses invade taxes with impunity and such reckless abandon, a consequence of which is government’s perennial revenue shortfalls which prevents it from achieving its deliverables. Effectively, if God can’t track tax evaders and thieves within such a labyrinthine system what can an over hyped Martin Amidu do? Certainly, he’ll use his common sense as he claims he’s doing. Systems have shown to work all over the world. We should be able to do simple cut and paste with all the moneys we have and continue to expend on the NIA. The system as we have it that swallows all ill-gotten money without coughing it up can’t be rescued with any messiah.

• Set up the NIA and get it integrated into other national databases.

• Bank KYC must require potential and existing account holders to provide a yearly estimate of inflows into the accounts and their sources.

• They should report any suspicious amount or unrelated inflow which deviates from as its reported without justification to the relevant authorities.

• In fact, for civil and public servants as well as employees of businesses they must require contract or employment letters which provides salary details as to how much it’s to be expected per month into the accounts. Any amount in excess must and should be reported.

• We should make it an offense for any financial institution not to abide by this and not to report same.

• Whiles at this we shouldn’t relent in enforcing the law and prosecuting offenders.

• Given the scale of the thievery and corruption in Ghana left to me alone to serve as a deterrent any tax evasion or corruption related offenses should be considered crimes against the state and carry the death penalty.
Ghana has bled and continues to bleed through the vicious and brutal plunge of her public funds. Not a day passes without several millions not alleged to have gotten missing.

Let’s get the fundamentals right. I am eternally optimistic that the president means well and is committed to fighting corruption. He might be our last hope in my estimation. If he doesn’t succeed we are doomed. I don’t pretend to have the power of a Jewish prophet, but I am grown enough to see that the clouds have gathered. The distant rumblings of thunder in the skies is only indicative of torrential rains to come. The ordinary Ghanaian is about to say I have had enough.

For them, politics cannot continue to be an organized crime unit where political parties plunder the wealth of the country and then take turns to trade accusations and counter accusations as to who is the most corrupt with no demonstrable commitment and evidence to fighting it. That day is coming when the Ghanaian people are about to say we’ve had enough.

The conditions of 1979 are here with us. What is missing is a Jerry Rawlings.

But who knows whether he’s with us but just waiting for the right moment?
Those who have ears let them here.