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Opinions of Monday, 8 January 2018

Columnist: K. Badu,

Do Mahama and Mahama have a date with the Special Prosecutor?

Of course, to persistently write and highlight the injustices in the country, which some observers would bizarrely perceive as a trivial issue, is to be regarded as a political extremist, who is seeking to cause disaffection, but we must be true to the faith, uphold and defend the good name of our beloved Ghana.

In fact, I had a glint of suspicion on my mind after listening to Ex-President Mahama’s speech at the NDC’s unity health walk at Techiman, where he broached vehemently that he and Lordina are not owners of DKM, and that any attempt to investigate them will hit the wall.

Former President Mahama stated: “thankfully, they are now in power and I will want them to prosecute me and the first lady if it is true the DKM company belonged to us” (yen.com.gh).

It would appear that the Mahamas’ are voluntarily putting themselves forward for interrogation by the Special Prosecutor. In any case, I am pretty sure Mrs Mahama is not immune from possible prosecution, unlike Mr Mahama, who per Ghana’s 1992 Constitution is covered by the irrational indemnity clause.

All the same, let Mr Mahama be rest assured that his wish will definitely come to pass. Surely, every suspect will have his/her day at the Special Prosecutor’s quarters.

Well, if not for the insertion of the unconscionable indemnity clause in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, I, for one, would have preferred Ex-President Mahama to face the Special Prosecutor and answer questions about the STX housing deal, Brazilian aircrafts and the Armajaro scandal.

If we take a stroll down memory lane, somewhere in October 2010, the British media brought up sensational reports about how the then Vice President John Dramani Mahama, was lobbied by a British Cabinet Minister to get a reprieve for the ban imposed on Armajaro Holdings, one of the cocoa buying companies who were found guilty for smuggling the commodity out of Ghana.

Armajaro Company was banned together with a few other companies, when the award winning investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposed the smuggling of uncountable bags of cocoa into neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire.

Shockingly, however, the British media reported that subsequent to the meeting between the then Vice President John Dramani Mahama and the British Cabinet Minister, Armajaro Company was given a needless reprieve and then started its operations.

Besides, I would have demanded answers from Ex-President Mahama’s dreadful handling of the STX Housing deal which was supposed to provide affordable housing to the security agencies.

But in spite of the fact that the deal did not materialise, the then Vice President Mahama, is alleged to have given us a bill in excess of $200 million.

Last but not least, I would have lodged complaint with the Special Prosecutor to look into the Brazilian aircraft deal if not the ridiculous indemnity clause.

It would be recalled that during his State of the Nation Address on 19th February 2009, the late President Mills informed the Parliament that his government was looking into the decision to acquire two executive Presidential jets.

However, the late President Mills was somehow ambivalent over the acquisition of the aircrafts and thus observed: "Ghana simply cannot afford the expenditure at this time and we certainly do not need two Presidential Jets" (thestatesmanonline.com, 16/06/2016).

Astonishingly, however, whilst the late Mills was joyfully delivering his euphonious state of the nation address in the parliament, the Vice President John Mahama, who also happened to be the chairman of the Armed Forces Council, was blissfully entertaining delegations from Brazil and busily negotiating the acquisition of five jets, including the most expensive hangar without the knowledge of the late President Mills.

Unsurprisingly, the late President Mills became suspicious of the whole deal and decided to put a committee together to review the deal, according to Mr Martin Amidu, the former Attorney General under President Mills.

In the wisdom of the framers of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, the insertion of the controversial indemnity clause was to “let the sleeping dogs lie” and move on with our lives.

But despite the utter public outcry over the indemnity clause, Professor Albert K. Fiadjoe, the Chairman of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) insisted that the removal of the controversial clause from the 1992 Constitution would lead to anarchy in the country.

“It means that all governments since 1966 are illegal, that we must immediately handover the reigns of government to the Convention Peoples Party, we will criminalize all those who have participated in governments since the overthrow of the first republic and would also bring unnecessary interruptions in national affairs.

“The removal of the indemnities could adversely affect the democratic dispensation because it would give the negative impression that the country is reneging on a settlement that it has previously accepted.

“This could seriously undermine stability in the country (Source: graphic.com.gh, 2012).”

In as much as the CRC’s reasons for the retention of the indemnity clause may be valid, there is no justification for corrupt public officials to keep all the alleged stolen monies.

In contrast toCRC’s disposition, it will, however, remain unfair, unconscionable and incommodious not to amend the unpopular indemnity clause to allow us to retrieve any possible stolen funds.

To me, Ghana’s constitution has to be reviewed further and the irrational clauses such as the indemnity clause are either amended or expunged accordingly.

How on earth can individuals commit unpardonable crimes (gargantuan corruptions) against the state and get away with their misdeeds?

And more so the traditional exemption of heads of state from prosecution despite the evidence of a case to answer is wrong.

How serious are we as a nation when we can only descend heavily on goat, cassava and plantain thieves and let go hard criminals who persistently dip their hands into the national coffers as if there is no tomorrow?

Elsewhere, though, both past and incumbent heads of state may face the laws without any recourse to their status.

Take, for example, in recent times, the controversial South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, found herself in a wide-ranging corruption and cronyism scandal, which culminated in her removal from office in March 2017.

And more recently, former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, who has been cited as the most famous president in Brazil’s contemporary history, has been sentenced to nine years and six months in jail after being found guilty on corruption and money-laundering charges (Source: guardian.co.uk, 12/07/2017).

Surely, we could do better. So let us do so. Let us amend or expunge the irrational laws and replace them with innovative and expedient laws.

Well, I must confess I do not for a minute, envy the incoming Special Prosecutor, whose desk is already occupied with a tall list of alleged bribery and corruption cases.

Verily, whoever secures that prestigious job may have to work assiduously and assertively so as to circumscribe the almost insurmountable battle against the cancerous sleazes and corruption that have slackened our development so far.