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Opinions of Sunday, 18 October 2015

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

I still say Prof Adei is wrong on his ‘misstatement’ on MPs

Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

when I wrote to question the authenticity of the almost blanket condemnation of Members of Parliament by Professor Stephen Adei for taking bribes while performing their duties, I had many readers reacting to my position saying in the main that I was defending the corrupt MPs. Some went to the extent of saying I was ignorant about the subject matter. Others felt there was no need for empirical scientific evidence over the allegation by the professor that 80 percent of the MPs are involved in taking bribes. While I respect the views of these men I still believe that they must reconsider my position. How did the professor arrive at the percentage of bribe takers in parliament? Would any of you accept being accused of corruption if you are MPs or are related to a very descent MP? Being well educated yourselves, are you sure that eight out of ten Members of Parliament are corrupt? This to me requires evidence, yes legal evidence beyond all reasonable doubt. I don’t think that any of the readers would accept being accused of corruption when they have not committed any offence to merit that accusation. Please don’t let us reduce Ghana into a jungle where people can just say anything to render a section of society bad enough to be condemned and attacked with no just cause. One of the readers made arguments about my position that seem to contain some reasonable arguments. The writer Mr. Abeiku Mensah said as follows, “What is sweeping about a true fact? No one in Ghana, in fact not even members of Ghana's parliament, can give the name of a Member of Parliament who has never received a bribe in their short time as members of a once great institution. The fact to the matter is that the citizens of this great nation could not get the dishonorable men and women of parliament to, voluntarily or by legal obligation, declare any and all of their respective assets prior to taking office and again during exit from office. They never will because there will never be a Member of Parliament that ever passes a morality test”.

While I still insist that the allegation of bribe taking by parliamentarians is without any proof is a sweeping statement I buy the suggestion made that all parliamentarians must declare their assets once they win elections to enter the chamber of parliament and declare their assets when they leave office. I think when this law is enforced every parliament would tread cautiously in wealth acquisition while in office. However as is the case currently no one knows the financial standing of parliamentarians, who are suspected to be in a position to acquire wealth through foul means. I still hold the position that Professor Adei did not speak well when he condemned almost all parliamentarians as bribe takers but they are advised to maintain a clean financial sheet by declaring their assets if possible publicly as done by president Buhari of Nigeria.

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