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Opinions of Sunday, 21 August 2011

Columnist: Amponsah, Jerry

Mills’s gifting shibboleth: Abuse of incumbency!!!

Before it was the first lady, Naadu Mills, dishing out over $42,000.00 customized gold watch; today, it’s the president receiving a gift in a flamboyant form. There is no wrongdoing! Clearly, President Atta Mills’s presidency has toppled the “fastest growing” gift league.

President Barrack Obama who even eliminated the most wanted man in the world, Osama bin Ladin, hasn’t received a fraction of the magnificent “gift” of a president coming from a poverty and disease-ridden country like Ghana.

The plain truth is that the national leader, in his “action year,” is flaunting his better Ghana agenda with a luxurious edifice for “pee and pooh pooh.”

Recently, the president has been hit with a firestorm of criticism for an extreme controversial “mansion” he’s building. A sitting president ought to set a very high moral standard for the rest of his people to follow. Gift of this form if not a “kickback,” then, ultimately, it aims to induce – and influence the judgment of the president. The good people of Ghana are the purveyors of the holistic truth. Irrespective of how hard he fights it, the truth remains – cut and stoned!

When the shocking news broke out, “Koku Anyidoho, Communications Director at the Presidency, said to an Accra based radio station that the facility in question was meant to make the security personnel at the Head of State's private residence comfy – ‘pee and pooh pooh.’”

According to him, the building was to contain a toilet, shower, and rooms for the security personnel to rest. He went on to say that, the new building was a “gift” from Regimanuel Gray Estate Limited as a token.

Koku was not able to mention the specific number of bedrooms in the outhouse when he interviewed on Tuesday on Joy FM’s morning show. He said that the president would pay the outhouse, privately, later. In addition, he pleaded with the host, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, to give him time to fish for more information over the popular ‘gifted’ edifice – he had little knowledge over the “mansion.” Does it aim to influence the action(s) of the commander in chief? Koku Anyidoho was short to mention the contractual agreement’s document covering the “gift” in question. Now, the NDC government has skillfully developed a reputation for lie. You agree with me that it is illegal to accept “bribe!”

On a different platform, “Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa had given a vivid description of the building as a small edifice to make security personnel at the residence comfortable. He did not fail to add that the property being developed was a gift to President Atta Mills.” According to Ghanaian Chronicle.

The president has become a queer mixture of humility and dishonest. My concern today is not with how deep his questionable devotion to God is but his conduct.

The “bribe” which has masked a gift from Regimanuel Grey Estate Limited to the president is illegal and punishable by a heavy fine on the business and a loss of job for the president, or no possibility of reelected in 2012. Surely, this will clean up a huge portion of similar dirty practices.

President Mills’s self-acclaimed superior morality is a phony that will come crashing down like a ton of bricks. Where in the world can a President receive a mansion as a gift? “What did Mills do for Regimanuel Company to receive a mansion which [the] company is selling at about one million dollars,” quizzed Sarpong on Ghanaweb.

This is where the implementation of ‘operation’ “Baba Jamal creeps in. “Yours is to make government look good, whatever the circumstance. If the government buys sheep and gives it as a gift, you are free to say it is a cow. You are free to say that…. If the colour of the sheep is black; you can say it was a white colourful cow.”

The lies of President Atta Mills-led government have moved from chronic to critical.

Therefore, the largely disgraced and booted father of the NDC party, Mr. Rawlings, was right by calling them “greedy bastards.”

Now, the president is under fire for accepting a “mansion” from a business entity. It’s a way of selling power and influence of the executive to a corporate body that’s already poised to take the taxpayer for a very long and a deep ride. “You scratch my back; I scratch your back,” is a saying for a reason. It’s, simply, a “cause and effect.”

A true leader would never live the appearance that he can be easily bought. Hypocrisy and impunity are visibly the underlying fabric in the current NDC administration.

Over two-and-half-years, where has the security staff has to pee and pooh pooh? “To relax,” as mentioned, does the security staff which is suppose to be vigilant and be wildly awake sleep on the job?

Why is president Atta Mills not directing the estate developer to give its gift to the homeless just as he publicly did to the Christmas hampers to underline his “I CARE FOR YOU” campaign slogan? He preaches virtue but practices vices. It doesn’t look nice on the president to come under siege and be entangled with such a gridlock.

Fat is fit – he does not entertain small envelopes.

Now, the police can also call what they take from the drivers a “gift.” The national leader who’s suppose to lead a good example – has strongly endorsed bribery within the public service, so, the police could easily carry with their “gifts” from the drivers and same to the Customers Officers etc. He’s gracefully shined light on corruption in the country – it’s stinking! Doesn’t Atta Mills know that gifts are bribes and lead to corruption? When the president does it that means it is not illegal.

The director of the estate developer, Regina Botwe, explained the structure - a three-bedroom residential quarters still under construction - is for the president’s security detail. She insisted, “We have never given anything as a gift to the president”. Our estate management company here sat down and decided to put a quarters which can serve as boys quarters, should we decide to develop the place itself.”

There is been no wee bit of truth in the presidential spokesperson’s denials. People would have to know whether the office of the president has been fair to himself or not. He’s brought himself and his office down.

He needs not to conceal his conduct and disgrace his office, which is a way of forfeiting his reputation. It is a clear conspiracy to commit bribery that will cost him his already tainted political life in 2102 presidential election.

We need ethic rules in our system because the president is too weak to resist the temptation of being bought.

Jerry Amponsah (Sabbato) Communications Group NPP – New York.