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Opinions of Sunday, 18 October 2009

Columnist: Amaoka-Attah, Alex

President Mills, This Is Your Destiny

Ever since Judge Rivlin’s Southwark Crown Court in London delivered its verdict involving Mabey and Johnson Company’s business dealings with Foreign Governments, particularly, Ghana, a number of NDC apologists have tried to whitewash, water down or belittle such devastating blow to the ruling Party. Some of these sympathizers have ridiculed the British Government for covering up similar shenanigans occurring elsewhere in other regions of the world involving British Companies. For instance they cite British Companies business dealings with Saudi Officials and the British Government’s determined efforts to stop criminal investigations into such corrupt practices by the British (SFO) Serious Fraud Office. Some of the NDC apologists argue that whilst the NDC bribe recipients were publicly named and embarrassed, the M&J bribe givers were alphabetized to conceal the identities of their Directors who were involved in the cash- for- contract scandal to spare them of such embarrassment. Some even argue that the titles and designation of some of the implicated NDC officials were inaccurate so the whole trial was a charade calculated to embarrass the ruling Party and that the whole thing was the doings of the New Patriotic Party to deflect attention from them.

Such argument is laughable. Western Governments will always do anything to protect their national interest thereby creating jobs for their citizens while the African politician, regardless of the level of their education, is willing to sell their soul for pennies. The question is did the British prosecutors establish their case against those implicated by showing exhibits such as the cashed checks and the Banking institutions where the said checks were cashed and the accounts numbers of the implicated officials? In other words, did the NDC officials take the money offered them to betray their own country? Why blame the British Government for looking out for their nationals? The fact of the matter is African politicians, and for that matter, Ghanaians, are inherently corrupt and do not have any sense of patriotism at all.

As much as they would want to wish this scandal away, it has now developed legs. This is simply because Rawlings, the apostle of probity and accountability under whose reign this criminal activities occurred, killed senior military officers for less and has hounded Kufour and the NPP for over 8 years accusing them of corruption at every opportunity in Ghana and international fora. When the NPP administration prosecuted and jailed Kwame Preprah, Dr. George Sipa-Yankey and many others, Rawlings and his minions attacked the then ruling Party for political witch-hunting and political vendetta. With the latest devastating ruling from the Southwark Court in far away UK, the Kufour-led NPP administration has been vindicated in vigorously pursuing officials of the National Democratic Congress who by this ruling, have been confirmed to be international rogues and thieves. As a matter of fact, the stench of the NDC corruption can be smelled from Accra all the way to the UK. These are intellectuals who will sell their own mothers for a pot of porridge without blinking the eye. Yet the NDC and her followers are quick to label others just to deflect attention from their nefarious activities.

Until Rawlings and officials of his administration fight to clear their names in the Norwegian Courts where their names were first mentioned in the SCANCEMGATE, the Mabey and Johnson scandal will continue to drip, drip and drip until the dam finally bursts. The Bi-Water company, another British Business Concern, has also claimed they were responsible for paying the school fees for Rawlings’ wards in Ireland and elsewhere. Recently, there was a Nigeria newspaper publication that accused Rawlings of taking money from a former Governor of the River State to run the 2008 general elections in Ghana.

It is very disturbing that such shameless personalities such as Rawlings, Asiedu Nketia, and my own good friend, Cornelius Ackumey, aka, Corney, and many others will have the audacity to call Kufour and NPP thieves even though no NPP official has been jailed for malfeasance. NPP officials are yet to be named in any foreign Courts any where in the world for selling their country. Whatever is out there are just mere allegations and innuendos. Nothing has been established in the Court of Law. There maybe some who are rotten to the core but for now, it is the NDC Party and her officials who have been jailed, convicted and pardoned in Ghana and have also been named in foreign Courts such as Norway and the United Kingdom as bribe takers who are willing to sell their own country for thirty pieces of silver. To them, probity and accountability is only a slogan but its tenet is meant for their opponents.

If Mills wants to be taken serious for fighting graft, then he must remove this case from the Attorney General, Ms. Betty Mould-Iddirisu who is shallow and incompetent and has already lost five cases against some officials of NPP in a competent Court of Law. Mills must hand over this particular case to SFO or the CHRAJ to avoid conflict of interest. The Office of the Attorney General and the NDC- controlled BNI cannot be trusted to handle such a case of international magnitude. We cannot also forget the manner in which Alhaji Muntaka’s case was handled by the BNI. The procurement of the Government-imported tractors by Ayariga, the presidential spokesman, has become a source of embarrassment to the President yet Mills has maintained a deafening silence. How can we so soon forget the Transitional Teagate that cost the Government a whopping 1.3 million Cedis? Ama Benyiwah Doe, a leading member of the NDC, has admitted to reporters of putting up a house within six months of being appointed the Regional Minister of the Central Region. How much is her salary to support such a venture within such a short time? Go figure.

For Mills to pursue NPP officials, he must be seen to root out corruption in his own Party especially, those who have been implicated in the Mabey and Johnson scandal. He cannot merely fire them and wish the scandal to go away. No. He must vigorously prosecute and jail them if found guilty. Their property must also be confiscated by the Courts to serve as a deterrent. After all, Charity, they say, begins at home. Political office must never be a panacea to politicians’ financial woes.

President Mills, this is the hand you have been dealt with. This is your destiny. Ghanaians are watching if you are up to the challenge. You cannot sweep this under the rug and then go after the NPP officials. You are at the cross roads of your political life. You can either go down in history as the man who gallantly fought corruption irrespective of political affiliation or go down in history as a clown.

ALEX AMOAKO-ATTAH

NEW YORK

The author can be reached at alex_amoakoattah@yahoo.com.