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Opinions of Friday, 26 April 2019

Columnist: K Badu

Let Mahama and Mahama have their day in the law court

In recent times, Ex-President John Dramani Mahama has been daring President Akufo-Addo to arrest, investigate and prosecute him and any member of his family if there is admissible evidence to suggest that they amassed wealth illegally during his time in office (See: ‘Jail me! Mahama dares Nana; dailyguideafrica.com/ghanaweb.com, 24/03/2018).

If dearest readers may remember, in one of NDC’s secret gatherings in London somewhere last year, Ex-President Mahama was reported to have challenged President Akufo-Addo to take over his (Mahama’s) alleged offshore properties (See: Take over my ‘hotel’ in Dubai – Mahama dares Akufo-Addo; kasapafmonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 21/03/2018).

Moreover, former President Mahama was once reported to have poured his heart out: “thankfully, they are now in power and I will want them to prosecute me and the first lady if it is true the DKM company belonged to us” (yen.com.gh).

Understandably, some of us would be regarded as political extremists, who are mischievously seeking to cause disaffection for constantly highlighting the injustices in the country which some observers bizarrely perceive as a trivial issue, but we must be true to the faith, uphold and defend the good name of our beloved Ghana.

For a long time now, some of us have been harbouring a gleam of suspicion on our mind in respect of Ex-President Mahama’s constant denials of any wrong doing while in office and that any attempt to investigate him will hit the wall.

Back then, some of us were of the opinion that the Mahamas’ were probably voluntarily putting themselves forward for interrogations by the Special Prosecutor.

It is pretty certain that Mrs Mahama is not immune from possible prosecution, unlike Mr Mahama, who per Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, is covered by the irrational indemnity clause.

That said, let Mr and Mrs Mahama be rest assured that their wishes will definitely come to pass.

We hope and pray that every suspect will have his/her day at the Special Prosecutor’s quarters.

Honestly stating, but for the insertion of the unconscionable indemnity clause in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, some of us, would have preferred Ex-President Mahama to face the Special Prosecutor and answer questions about the Ford Expedition Vehicle, the STX housing deal, the Brazilian aircrafts and the Armajaro scandal.

First of all, we would have demanded answers from Ex-President Mahama’s dreadful handling of the STX Housing deal which was supposed to provide affordable housing units to the security agencies.

In spite of the fact that the deal did not materialise, the then Vice President Mahama, is alleged to have given us a bill in excess of $300 million.

Secondly, we would have lodged complaint with the Special Prosecutor to look into the Brazilian aircraft deal if not the ridiculous indemnity clause.

It would be recalled that during his State of the Nation Address on 19th February 2009, the late President Mills informed the Parliament that his government was looking into the decision to acquire two executive Presidential jets.

However, the late President Mills was somehow ambivalent over the acquisition of the aircrafts and thus observed: "Ghana simply cannot afford the expenditure at this time and we certainly do not need two Presidential Jets" (thestatesmanonline.com, 16/06/2016).

Astonishingly, however, whilst the late Mills was joyfully delivering his euphonious state of the nation address in the parliament, the Vice President John Mahama, who also happened to be the chairman of the Armed Forces Council, was blissfully entertaining delegations from Brazil and busily negotiating the acquisition of five jets, including the most expensive hangar without the knowledge of the late President Mills.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the late President Mills became suspicious of the whole deal and decided to put a committee together to review the deal, according to Mr Martin Amidu, the former Attorney General under President Mills.

In the wisdom of the framers of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, the insertion of the controversial indemnity clause was to “let the sleeping dogs lie” and move on with our lives.

Notwithstanding the utter public outcry over the indemnity clause, Professor Albert K. Fiadjoe, the Chairman of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) insisted that the removal of the controversial clause from the 1992 Constitution would lead to anarchy in the country.

“It means that all governments since 1966 are illegal, that we must immediately handover the reigns of government to the Convention Peoples Party, we will criminalize all those who have participated in governments since the overthrow of the first republic and would also bring unnecessary interruptions in national affairs.

“The removal of the indemnities could adversely affect the democratic dispensation because it would give the negative impression that the country is reneging on a settlement that it has previously accepted.

“This could seriously undermine stability in the country (Source: graphic.com.gh, 2012).”

In as much as the CRC’s reasons for the retention of the indemnity clause may be valid, there is no justification for corrupt public officials to keep all the alleged stolen monies.

In fact, in contrast toCRC’s position on the controversial indemnity clause, it will, however, remain unfair, unconscionable and incommodious not to amend the unpopular indemnity clause to allow us to retrieve any possible stolen funds from the greedy public officials.

To me, Ghana’s constitution has to be reviewed further and the irrational clauses such as the indemnity clause are either amended or expunged accordingly.

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

And more so the traditional exemption of heads of state from prosecution despite the evidence of a case to answer is wrong.

How serious are we as a nation when we can only descend heavily on the goat, cassava and plantain thieves and let go hard criminals who persistently dip their hands into the national coffers as if tomorrow will never come?

Elsewhere, though, both past and incumbent heads of state may face the laws without any recourse to their status.

Take, for example, in recent times, the controversial South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, found herself in a wide-ranging corruption and cronyism scandal, which culminated in her removal from office in March 2017.

And more recently, former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, who has been cited as the most famous president in Brazil’s contemporary history, has been sentenced to nine years and six months in jail after being found guilty on corruption and money-laundering charges (Source: guardian.co.uk, 12/07/2017).

Surely, we could do better. So let us do so. Let us amend or expunge the irrational laws and replace them with innovative and expedient laws.

K. Badu, UK.

k.badu2011@gmail.com