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Opinions of Saturday, 14 April 2018

Columnist: K. Badu

Justice delayed! The failure of justice system to matter where needed most

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country (John F. Kennedy)."

Of course, anyone can claim birth right to patriotism. However, patriotism is not mere rhetoric and political gimmicks. Indeed, we could only evidence our patriotism through our actions and inactions. That is by showing our affection, solicitude and strong inclination towards our country in whatever we do.

It would thus seem oxymoronic if true patriots decide to keep mute while some obdurate criminals are blissfully hiding behind political coloration, devoid of patriotism and squeamishly stealing from the national purse as if tomorrow will never come.

Let us be honest, when people we entrusted with the national purse abhorrently inflated contracts to the tune of over GH5.4 billion, real patriots cannot keep mute. Indeed, such an action is criminally-minded and deserves to be censured with no uncertain terms.

And, how could any real patriot keep quiet when a sibling of a former president disgustingly refused to pay import taxes to the tune of GH12 million? How can we develop as a nation with such irresponsible citizens?

No true patriot, in all honesty, would keep his/her silence when a group of public officials decide to conspire and surreptitiously withdraw a whopping $400 million of Ghana COCOBOD’s money meant for the upkeep of poor farmers.

Some of us, as a matter of principle, cannot keep our silence when individuals who claim to be social democrats incredibly dipped their hands into the poor farmers money and built a luxurious mansion at an alleged cost of GH7.7 million for their own comfort. How pathetic?

Let us face it, it would be boundlessly unconscionable for any true Ghanaian to sit aloof while some conspiratorial plotters gleefully squander funds meant to transform the lives of the penniless in society through corruption scandals such as the Brazil World Cup, the infamous bus branding, SUBA, SSNIT among others.

How can any true patriot assume that it is alright when some cabals can conspire and pay dubious judgement debts to the tune of GH800 million?

Why wouldn’t true nationalists scream and upbraid the shameful racketeers who squeamishly created, looted and shared monies belonging to GYEEDA and SADA, which were meant to transform the lives of the poor and disadvantaged in society?

The revoltingly cyclical corrupt practices amongst the political elites and other public servants have indeed culminated in avoidable underdevelopment, excessive public spending, less efficient tax system , needless high public deficit and destabilization of national budgets, heightened capital flight and the creation of perverse incentives that stimulate income-seeking rather than productive activities.

Well, in so far as the elites among the ‘four legs animals’ continue to exhibit existential selfishness, lack of patriotism, and revoltingly look down upon the ‘four legs downtrodden, Ghana may never develop meaningfully in our lifetime.

Ghana, so to speak, has been lagging behind in terms of economic advancement largely due to lack of true patriots to oversee important positions over the years.

Apparently, greed, selfishness and lack of empathy have been the order of the day. Indeed, it is an illustrative case of ‘every man for himself’.

The unpatriotic and selfish attitudes of the men and women we often put in responsible positions have indeed cost this nation dearly. But all said and done, it is never too late; we can undo the wrongs by working honestly, collaboratively and diligently towards a meaningful advancement. Verily, we need unwearied and honest strong men and women who are ever willing to defend and uphold the relevant laws and regulations.

Of course, we have in our midst some honest men and women who have the wellbeing of Ghana at heart to put things right. Needless to state that we will require courageous and ever prepared law enforcement bodies and the judiciary to crack the whip without fear or favour if some nation wreckers elsewhere choose to hide behind a political party and steal from the national purse.

There is no denying or hiding the fact that since the birth of Ghana’s Fourth Republic (from 1993 to present), we (Ghanaians) have regrettably lost billions of dollars meant for developmental projects through unbridled sleazes and corruption. And yet the various methods used by the successive governments in fighting the menace have been extremely disappointing.

Corruption, as a matter of fact, impedes economic development by distorting markets and collapsing private sector integrity.

“Corruption also strikes at the heart of democracy by corroding rule of law, democratic institutions and public trust in leaders. For the poor, women and minorities, corruption means even less access to jobs, justice or any fair and equal opportunity” (UNDP 2016).

We should, however, take solace in the fact that the current Attorney General is seriously working towards bringing the suspects to book. Take, for example, on 14th March 2018, the State filed a case of causing financial loss against the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD and the CEO of Zeera Group of Companies and Agricult Ghana Limited.

And what is more, President Akufo-Addo has shown seriousness and commitment by establishing the Office of the Special Prosecutor with the responsibility of investigating, prosecuting and retrieving stolen monies from the corrupt public officials.

Apparently, some of us are of the firm conviction that the introduction of the Office of the Special Prosecutor is a pragmatic way of tackling the rampant bribery and corruption cases head-on.

Take, for instance, how sweet would it be if the Special Prosecutor managed to roundup the conspiratorial plotters in the Woyome’s dubious judgement debt payment?

And more so 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 $200million 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.

Dearest reader, isn’t it somewhat refreshing that 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?

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

The crucial question discerning Ghanaians should be asking the men and women in charge is: are you really prepared to investigate, prosecute, convict and retrieve the stolen funds from the extremely greedy and corrupt public officials?