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Opinions of Thursday, 26 July 2018

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Heal Ghana from the insidious corruption: Please Mr Amidu, grill the greedy MPs

I have always maintained that the creation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor remains the single most important accomplishment of President Akufo-Addo’s administration so far.

Believe it or not, 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.

It beggars belief that individuals could form an alliance, create, loot and share gargantuan sums of money belonging to the state and would eventually slip through the justice net.

How could Members of Parliament knowingly keep double salaries to the detriment of the poor and the disadvantaged Ghanaians?

I will, however, venture to state that the deterrence for political criminals has been extremely disappointing. And, if that was not the case, how come political malefactors more often than not, go through the justice net despite unobjectionable evidence of wrong doing?

The Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, hit the nail on the head when he aptly beseeched the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Ghana Police to investigate the NDC MPs alleged double salaries to its logical conclusion and those who are found to have indulged in any criminalities prosecuted accordingly (See: ‘Double salary’ probe: MPs must face the law – Amidu; citinewsroom.com/ghanaweb.com, 19/04/2018).

“What is worrying for me is the knowledge that some people are even talking to the president to compromise so that crime will be overlooked because they are Members of Parliament…so Ghanaians will be awash,” he said in an interview he granted Citi News’ Umaru Amadu Sanda.

“… Why should a Special Prosecutor be prosecuting ordinary Ghanaians and your honourables will be involved in these things; then they will be talking to the president to wash it up. Then I have no need sitting here. I won’t even have the conscience to continue.”

“Will I have the conscience to prosecute any other body for corruption if the CID finds something prosecutable and are not allowed to prosecute because Members of Parliament are involved? That is not fair.”

Mr Amidu could not have said it any better. Where is the fairness when the political thieves could dip their hands into the national purse as if tomorrow will never come and go scot free, while the goat, cassava and plantain thieves are incarcerated?

It would appear that the vast majority of our politicians have no hearts. They are heartless. If that was not the case, how come they have wilfully dipped and continue to dip their hands into the national coffers to the detriment of the poor and disadvantaged Ghanaians?

And yet when it comes to the prosecutions of the political criminals, we are often made to believe: “the wheels of justice turn slowly, but it will grind exceedingly fine.”

Yet we can disappointingly recount a lot of unresolved alleged criminal cases involving political personalities and other public servants.

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, therefore, 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 the 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?