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General News of Monday, 1 January 2018

Source: citifmonline.com

Target your corrupt officials too – Mahama tells Nana Addo

Former President John Mahama has challenged President Nana Akufo-Addo to show true commitment to the fight against corruption by prosecuting corrupt members of his own government.

According to the former president, corruption must be dealt with completely by holding both present and past government appointees accountable.

Mr. Mahama was speaking during the commemoration of the 36th anniversary of the 31st December Revolution held in the Volta Region, where he said “the easiest part in the fight against corruption is prosecuting your political opponent.”

“It does not take courage, it does not take bravery to prosecute one’s political opponent. The true test in the fight against corruption is holding your own people accountable when they go wrong… We must not pursue post regime accountability, we must pursue accountability while your regime exists.”

Sympathy for indicted party members

Mr. Mahama also asked party members to sympathize with former appointees of his administration who may be indicted in any corruption probe under the current government.

“Having been the disciples of probity and accountability, we must not run away from probity and accountability, we must be prepared to face any prosecution that this government throws to us, but we must do this with commitment and solidarity. Solidarity with our colleagues who will fall foul of the law because the law says you are innocent until proven guilty by competence and justice of the court, and so we cannot pronounce our colleagues guilty on the basis of allegations by the NPP.”

“They will have their day in court and until they have that day in court, it is our duty to solidarize with them to make sure they have the best legal representation to be able to put their case in order, and it is my wish that things will turn out well for them,” he said.

Parliament passed the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill in November 2017 after its third reading marking the fulfillment a major NPP promise.

When operational, it is hoped the Special Prosecutor’s office will be independent of the Executive, which observers believe will allow it to adequately deal with corruption-related issues which have plagued past governments.

This Bill defines the modalities for the appointment and operations of the Special Prosecutor, which will have the mandate to investigate and prosecute cases of alleged corruption under the Public Procurement Act 203 Act 63 and other corruption-related offenses implicating public officers, political office holders and their accomplices in the public sector.

Lame duck office

Also speaking at the anniversary ceremony, the party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, warned that the Office of the Special Prosecutor risks being a lame duck if the appointment of who leads the office isn’t done independently.

He stressed that appointing another NPP lawyer will be tantamount to having “two lame-duck Attorney Generals who can only prosecute members of a past government, and not deal with members of the sitting government. That is the wrong way of fighting corruption.”