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Opinions of Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.

SFO, EOCO, CHRAJ, BNI, CID - Are these Useless Acronyms?

By Kwaku A. Danso

In a posting on GLU forum by, Feb.14, 2012, about EOCO report to the President acknowledging an error in the date of the payment of the Ghc17 million to Alfred Agbesi Woyome, I find the email address Please can somebody verify the email address of the EOCO for me! I see the name, and I wonder why!! I don’t think that email address even works – just as many Government email addresses that are mere fashion statement that we are in ICT age and we sue to obtain grants from foreigners. Fake! Fake! Fake! Why do we like to deceive ourselves so much with names and outer appearances? What culture is this! It may shock some to know that some of these don’t even have filing systems and data tracking one would expect it the modern age. I want to send this EOCO a message that I am having difficulty with the new name and recommend to go back to the old name, SFO. The name CHRAJ as an acronym was even worse but we seem to have gotten used to it. The old SFO was simply okay and beautiful.

Serious FRAUDS encompasses all frauds, Organized Crime, non-Organized or individual crime, be they Economic, Social, Political or not. To me all frauds are serious anyway and they are crimes!! Period! How can we define some corruption crimes as Economic and others non-economic? Folks, I don’t trust any acronym that is more than 3 letters – they don’t go well for me. I may be getting old and may have a short memory absorption span? I beg ooo! No book long!

In Ghana we keep changing names and do certain things that makes it hard to see any sense of stability – SFO to EOCO, CID to BNI, Flagstaff to Jubilee to Flagstaff, and we even celebrate days of infamy, day of illegal coups as memorial days! Are we crazy!! We have 100s of Ministries, and Ministers and Deputies, and our Parliament doesn’t even have offices for over 19 years now after the 4th Constitution!! Disgrace!!! What guarantee do we have that when Paa Kwesi Nduom or Nana Akufo Addo becomes President they won’t change the name to reflect their view of life. How about CEHU –Crimes Evaluation and Hanging Unit, set up after the old Chaka Zulu system of hanging those who commit certain crimes against the state!! Of course I would simply make it CHU – Crimes Hanging Unit of government.

My Gosh! Black Man!! What kind of people are we? Where is the substance?

The bottom line is what we are doing in investigating crimes, and if it is a crime, be it public or private, economic or social, enacting punishment! Period! Why should we have a separate building and tea-drinking and benefit-collecting teams to investigate the same things when we have a State Attorney General and Prosecutor offices? In Ghana even the police can represent a case in court for prosecution. Recently we have seen many rural town and district cases taken to court and sentences issued quickly without delay. That is beautiful to emulate. Whatever happened to our old Police Stations, Magistrates, town Councils in the small towns like Abetifi? Too much Western education doth make us mad? (to paraphrase what they told St. Paul). In the major cases in Accra, due to high level corruption, nobody goes to prison for years, if at all!! There is no guarantee that this Woyome man will see prison and be fed with cassava, and perform any work for the state such as pick any night soil!

Why should any President simply change the name of a criminal investigation name and charter when we don’t even have a common phone number people can call when they see or observe corruption of public crimes! Most people in Ghana don’t even know a number to call for emergencies and the police, if you visit any police station, have very few vehicles or motorcycles to respond to emergencies!

Leadership system – Folks, is it our leadership system? I have agonized over the last forty years about our leadership and I still do. I recall Kwame Nkrumah and even Dr. Busia coming to Parliament between 1957-1960 when we were growing up, and facing the people, and now all these changed! Ghana is becoming more and more ridiculous as the population grows and we seem to lack problem-solving leaders and executives!! Now the President hides behind a 25 year old (deputy) Information Minister to tell the people what solutions are for the nation! Ridiculous! I strongly think the American Presidency system has not worked for us. Ghana needs a President who will face the problems of the nation in Parliament and not hide in some slave castle! Let us solve problems! Let us discuss openly our problems and invite the people to provide solutions in parliament! Let us cease having one man appoint over 4,000 Ministers and Agency heads in 10 regions and 150 Districts and thousands of towns!! And none of them working well! Ridiculous!

Raw Power –

Is it possible leadership desire for raw power that is hindering us? We had the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) since colonial times and after independence, and they were working just fine. It was changed to BNI (Bureau of National Investigations). Doesn’t the BNI seem more like a tool of the President to you? Why should the President dictate the method of investigating a major crime like this Woyome Ghc51 million fraudulent payment case? The old CID seemed to have greater respectability and I remember as a child hearing major murder cases such as the 1950s solved by private investigators of the CID! What have the current generation of leaders done but use these BNI, CHRAJ, etc, as agents of their own whiles some are suspected to be involved in crime syndicates!

Let’s keep it simple, folks!! As former US President Bill Clinton was quoted as saying, KISS – Keep it simple Stupid!

Kwaku A. Danso

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