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Opinions of Saturday, 17 December 2016

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

Con Rawlings can't be the face of the anti-corruption campaign in Ghana

By Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman

The ink is barely dry on the pink sheets and J. J. Rawlings has already found time to send a letter to Nana Addo, president-elect, on the prime issue of corruption. Why is Rawlings so quick out of the tracks on corruption? Is he genuine about corruption? Is he trying to settle scores within the NDC? Nana must not allow himself to be used by Rawlings to settle scores within NDC.

Nana please beware!! Yes all NDC officials found to be corrupt must be dealt with but this should not be at the beck and call of con Rawlings. While this move can or may be applauded by some as tactical and preemptive, true anti-corruption crusaders must sit with creased, if not wizened, eyebrows. For far too long, we’ve allowed the inmates to run the asylum. No more!!

I’ve watched with juvenile glee, the pompous, haughty and phony lament of JJ Rawlings, pursuant to the plague of corruption in Ghana. He has had numerous occasions to rightfully accuse his fellow NDC party members of industrial strength corruption. While the latter may or does canorously stimulate and palliate the itchy political ears of the Npp, the party must not be conned into JJ’s web of lies and chicanery.

Indeed, he maintains that, the erstwhile Mahama regime, boast a whopping 60% corrupt officials. Rawlings, with seemingly deep consternation, if not trepidation, is able to call embattled Woyome a thief. He waxes poetic about the misdeeds of Betty Mould- Iddrissu, pertaining to the Woyome scandal.

Is the pot not calling the kettle black beauty? Too be sure, Rawlings has gone after NPP corruption as well. Notably, is his famous tag of ex-president Kufour as Atta Ayi, the notorious armed robber who terrorized the country at large. As far as JJ Rawlings is concerned, he is the cleanest person to ever saddle the presidency of Ghana. Lord have mercy!

So why do Ghanaians, especially some high level Npp stalwarts, cringe or deflect, when you bring up the need to go after this obviously corrupt man? As far as I am concerned, there so no one more corrupt than JJ Rawlings. With unbridled power, he took callously from the poor people, and turned around to thumb his nose at us. He believes we are cowards and fools.

We must call his bluff and prove him wrong. He is so ripe for the anti-corruption harvest. What even irks me more, is the call by some disgruntled NDC operatives, that, Rawlings should be made the leader of the NDC once more. Can’t they see how his stock has fallen because of phoniness and thievery lays threadbare? Why is Rawlings immune to justice? Why?

Why should Rawlings not be seen as the face of anti-corruption in Ghana? Simply put, he is just as corrupt, if not overly and roundly corrupt. He has no credibility! Let us briefly look at key excerpts of his record while in office. Till now, we’ve never had an accounting of PNDC account 48.

This is an account, whose name did not miss the evening news, when Rawlings, the grotesque dictator, and his marauding henchmen, were running roughshod over innocent Ghanaians. All alleged offenders, true or not, were asked to pour fines and charges into this bottomless account. Yet, all never got any accounting of what happened to the loot. If this is not a public heist, orchestrated in broad daylight, I don’t know what is.

To add coarse salt into our gaping wounds, this despicable activity, has been repugnantly indemnified under our troubled and tortured constitution. Is a phony and contorted revolution, a reason to steal and hoodwink the people? Is it a reason to behave irresponsibly? Isn’t a revolution designed to correct grave ills in society?

As if the above is not enough, Rawlings, has confessed, that, he took, at a minimum, $2 million cash, bundled in, perhaps a Samsonite suitcase, from General Abacha of Nigeria. The Nigerians, maintain that, it was $5 million.

Who do you believe to be telling the truth on this matter? I surely don’t believe Rawlings. What happened to the $3 million difference? Indeed, we are led to believe, that, the only reason why Rawlings confessed, was because of an investigation that Buhari, the current president and an anti-corruption crusader, is pursuing. If Buhari is looking into such matters, why not us?

Folks, let us not forget that, General Felli, was killed by Rawlings and his henchmen for legally sourcing a $50,000 cedi loan! In another instance, a cheque of $17 million is reported to have gone missing between Ghacem, P.V. Obeng and Chairman Rawlings. Who took that cheque and where did it end up? Where is our money? Never mind the $4 million from Ghacem, was alleged by one Gamey, to have gone to Rawlings and his wife. Oh this greedy Rawlings and his wife!!

It is not news that Nana Konadu Rawlings has benefitted from our Judgment debt travails. It is reported that she took in well over $4.5 million. She even had the audacity to question why she was not paid in dollars. Yesu! Her claim to this money stems from the fact that, she used the name of country Ghana to source a loan for her private shenanigans. When Kufour came to power, he refused to continue dispensing that foul, immoral and corrupt arrangement.

Konadu sued, and unfortunately, our snail and yam chomping judges, agreed with her. Technically, she may have a case, just as Jake did over the bungalow brouhaha, but why must Ghana guarantee a loan for a private cocoa business, belonging to JJ and his wife? Who benefitted from the $4.5 million loot? Where is the money con JJ and wife? This is the same woman who used his husband’s power to acquire public companies such as Nsawam Cannery, for pesewas on the cedi. Did Rawlings not see anything wrong with his wife’s activities? If his conscience works, why didn’t he moan, squeal and yelp?

Rawlings came to power, a thin, malnourished, malcontent, railing against rot and carbuncles in our tortured public life. He surely had a boil to lance and many agreed, that, the feral swamp, had to be methodically and deliberately drained. At the time of leaving office, Rawlings was in the swamp with his henchmen. The Ahwoi brothers for example, confidants of Rawlings, used their position and power to amass loans and later defaulted without a mouse piss on cotton reaction. Loans advanced by the IMF and World Bank could all not be accounted for under the vile rule of Rawlings.

Today, he shamelessly writes an epistle to a newly elected president about anti-corruption. What did Rawlings do about corruption under his civilian rule? Always the vindictive character, Rawlings is trying to use Nana Addo, to go after those who have marginalized him in the NDC. Nana Addo, must not fall for this juicy bait. Nana keep your eyes on the prize and follow the money as the Americans say!

The long and short of this narrative is to say that, Rawlings, is much more tainted than the people he rails against. Rawlings is linked with much more corruption than Betty-Mould can ever dream of. The fact that you indemnify crimes of corruption does not mean it did not happen or should be glossed over.

Invariably, Rawlings is so pathological, he does not have the capacity to see or admit his own shortcomings. He is a malignant narcissist and a blooming egomaniac, who cannot see anything wrong with his misdeeds. It is for this reason that, some of us, have made it a point, to constantly remind us of the corruption flotilla that Rawlings built and nourished, under the ruse of that phony revolution.

I know and have seen Nana Addo, playing footsy with Rawlings. He seem to fawn in the good graces of Rawlings and gives the pretense that investigating and prosecuting Rawlings is off the table. Not too fast Nana Addo, president elect. The challenge we face, is treating both the big and small fish the same way before the law. I personally don’t see why we should wage an anti-corruption war against low rank officials, if high rank officials continue to commit worse crimes and walk free.

The rule of law, was not devised to go after just the poor and weak. If Nana Addo, president elect, is serious about rule of law, and as courageous as we are made to swallow, he must make sure it is applied to all, regardless of status and power in society.

While I am happy that Nana has promised to freely dispense the rule of law, my enthusiasm is bound to dim precipitously, if this effort, is only aimed at the poor, weak and middle level officials, while self-confessed scofflaws like JJ and his wife, walk free. What will it take to hold Rawlings and his wife accountable? If we cannot hold them accountable, why must we hold others accountable?

It is blatantly unfair and gravely troubling that we continue to nurse this warped and discredited notion that some are above the law but other must toil and live under the law. No way Nana Addo! No! Justice for all must be our motto! Yes all!!

Corruption has metastasize in Ghana because the leaders are corrupt. The fish stinks from the head! The very people we entrust to play the role of watch dogs, have become the epitome of bald face corruption. If we don’t start from the top and deal capriciously with these daring criminals, it will surely be farcical to go after the low hanging fruit. Nana Addo, has been touted by his rabid supporters as the paragon of anti-corruption. He is bold and courageous we are told. Well, some of us are daring him to go after the big fish who serve as the verdant seeds of corruption. Nana show your mettle!

This anti-corruption gale, swirling menacingly and baying the undivided attention of Rawlings and his ilk, must start with him. The NPP has a huge majority in parliament. They should at a minimum, hold hearings about the Abacha bribe scandal, the Ghacem cheque, Nana Konadu’s acquisition of state properties, Woyome scandal, the numerous properties of Rawlings and work their way to the Dzifa Attivors and the Adu Asares. This time around, we must do it right and not cower to the bullying tactics and empty bluff of Rawlings. Yes we surely can! We can do this, at the same time as we take care of other pressing societal needs.

There is no doubt in my tired mind that one of the key reasons for booting Mahama out of office is the low down dirty corruption that shamelessly engulfed the NDC. With ten fingers, the NDC looted from the great people of Ghana. Thankfully, we have a president elect, who has promised a special prosecutor, to delve into all allegations.

These functions must be adequately, in fact inordinately, resourced, to get the job done. Other complementary organizations like the police, judiciary, CHRAJ, BNI, CID etc should be depoliticized, richly funded and properly staffed to make sure that all who have stolen or caused financial loss to the state, are dealt with vigorously and ruthlessly.

We must all keep intense pressure on Nana’s Addo’s regime, to fairly and relentlessly go after anyone, regardless of rank and following, who has taken a pin from country Ghana. A repeat of Kufour’s failure in this direction, must, should and will ensure that Nana is booted out in the next election. We will not stop until justice is restored and delivered to the great people of Ghana. We are fairly asking for what is irrevocably Ghana’s.

We will pursue them to the gates of hell, if that is what it takes. Justice must be blind and dispensed freely towards all. Until the big fish is dealt with equally, going after the small fish must and will always be frowned upon. Justice, Justice, Justice is our cry!! Viva Ghana!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman aka Santrofi Anumaa, the black swan, is a political talk show host on Highlife Radio. Please join me every Saturday from 9am to 12 noon eastern time on the People Parliament. Keba shorr!