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Opinions of Friday, 13 July 2018

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

When the Special Prosecutor’s Board comes marching to the doorsteps of malefactors!

The news of the inauguration of the Special Prosecutor’s Board by His Excellency President Akufo-Addo on Thursday 12th July 2018 is a clear manifestation of the president’s unwavering commitment and willingness to combat the canker of corruption.

There is no gainsaying the fact that since the birth of Ghana’s Fourth Republic (from 1993 to present), the nation has revoltingly lost billions of dollars meant for developmental projects through unbridled sleazes and corruption and yet the methods employed by the successive governments in combating the apparent canker have been extremely disappointing, so to speak.

Dearest reader, tell me, if the rampant bribery and corruption, dubious judgment debt payments, stashing of national funds by some greedy opportunists , misappropriation of resources and crude embezzlement of funds meant for developmental projects by some public officials do not warrant criminal charges, then where are we heading as a nation?

It is for this reason that some of us have been looking forward, though anxiously, to welcoming President Akufo-Addo’s brain child (the Special Prosecutor) to investigate, prosecute and retrieve stolen monies from the corrupt public officials.

To me, the creation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, arguably, remains the single most important accomplishment of President Akufo-Addo’s administration thus far.

Apparently, I have always insisted that Westerners are not less corrupt than their African counterparts. However, what makes the people elsewhere much more responsible than a Ghanaian and Africans as a whole is the rigidity of the state institutions and the effective laws and regulations.

Elsewhere, though, the laws and regulations are strictly enforced, and as such the vast majority of the citizens and denizens prefer the observance to the stringent fines and the harsh punishments.

It must however be emphasised that in as much as the followers have a duty of obligation, it is up to the leadership to bring sanity into the system by strictly ensuring that all laws and regulations are enforced without fear or favour.

So to me, the introduction of a Special Prosecutor is a pragmatic way of tackling the rampant bribery and corruption cases head-on.

Readers would bear with me that corruption is a serious economic, social, political and moral impediment to nation building, thus, corrupt officials must be held accountable at all times without fear or favour.

Corruption, as a matter of fact, is found in all countries—big and small, rich and poor—but it is in the developing world such as Ghana that its effects are most destructive.

And given the corrosive effect of corruption, no patriotic Ghanaian should ever shrill and thrill over the spate of sleazes and corruption in the country.

Unfortunately, however, it would appear that in Ghana, the justice system more often than not, descends heavily on goat, cassava and plantain thieves, and let go the remorseless criminals who hide behind the narrow political colorations.

We should, however, take solace in the fact that with the arrival of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, the justice system is going to descend heavily not only on goat, cassava and plantain thieves, but as well as the hard criminals who hide behind narrow political colorations

Indeed, it would be a great news if the Special Prosecutor managed to claw-back all the embezzled monies in the scandalous corruption cases involving the infamous Bus Branding, SSNIT, Brazil World Cup, GYEEDA, AZONTABA, SADA, SUBAH, the purported $300million debt incurred on the faded STS housing deal, the dubious Embraer 190 Aircrafts and hanger for the Ghana Armed Forces and over a US$100 million oil revenue loss between 2011 and 2013 as reported by the Public Interest& Accountability Committee.

How long would individuals commit unpardonable crimes (gargantuan sleazes and corruption) against the state and get away with their misdeeds?