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Opinions of Monday, 2 November 2020

Columnist: Bright Philip Donkor

The sacking of PPA Boss: Corruption has put the gear of our development in reverse

Adjenim Boateng Adjei Adjenim Boateng Adjei

Corruption is a socio-cultural problem in Africa and Ghana in particular.

Ghana has been riddled with persons siphoning money for their own
gain, which has become known as one of our major problems.

It has become a normal daily practice that people don’t consider as a crime.

The gravity of the effect of these corrupt practices on the development
of the country is not worthy of celebration.

As the 1992 Constitution guarantees my fundamental human rights
enshrined in Chapter Five, I would like to express my opinion on the
rather seeming endless social canker that’s drawing the nation’s clock of
progress backward.

The numerous strides that we make as a country have not yielded the results to our satisfaction.

The enemy (corruption) always consumes them at last. Isn’t this a melancholic narrative?

We can concretely say that corruption in Ghana is not just a mere
perception but inherently pervasive in the country as evidenced by an
investigative documentary conducted by Manasseh Azure Awuni, titled
“Contracts for Sale”.

It was revealed that the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) boss had interests in a private company, Talent Discovery Limited that got awarded several government contracts and was in the business of illegally selling those contracts to third parties.

One cannot also lose memory of the Judicial exposé.

Manasseh deserves a pat on the back. I will reiterate what the former US
President, Barack Obama once said “Africa does not need strong men. It
needs strong institutions”.

Simply put, institutions have failed and the masses are at its mercy.

The tortoise can no longer ignore the singing bird and we must act, fast!

Well, it’s instructive to learn what the Whiteman said about us, 72years
ago. Is it true that we have ‘a marked disinclination to face reality’ and
give everything to God?

And that corruption existed among us even during pre-colonial times?

Corruption in Ghana did not begin in the Fourth Republic. In fact, cast your mind back when the Aiken Watson Commission noted cases of corruption during investigations into the disturbances that led to the killing of some ex-servicemen in the Gold Coast in February and March 1948.

Meanwhile, corruption wasn’t part of the Commission’s terms of
reference, neither was it the cause of the disturbances. If that’s the case,
we as Africans have a deep seated problem and it’s not the preserve of
anyone, but we look at the degree for some solace. Any nation that’s
built on a corrupt foundation cannot attain the feat of success and

It’s not for nothing that we continue to borrow humongous financial
resources from so-called world economic powers whilst every single
challenge in this country aggravates.

Nothing has been done by way of transparency and helping us to know our money’s worth. And these debts sinking our nation, are monies that have been borrowed to finance the ever-growing corruption industry.

Know this, corruption in Ghana is not only seen in the political arena.

Even the electorate has to be bribed too, to vote for a particular party or
candidate. We’ve so many thieves in suits. It’s taken away resources
from the common pool and deprived the large population from partaking in the share of the national cake.

In spite of Ghana’s good governance and democratic credentials, corruption has engulfed our public service and society.

The termination of his appointment shouldn’t be the end of this case. We
don’t need people like him at the helm of affairs. To the best of my
knowledge, CHRAJ is a commission and, therefore the Attorney General
can’t use its findings as a basis for prosecution.

A case that can be used as an example to this one may be the Ghana@50 trial that led to the discharge of Dr Charles Wireko-Brobby and Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani, two former officials of the defunct Ghana@50 Secretariat.

During this case, Mr. Justice Marful-Sau advised that anytime the State
wanted to prosecute people considered to have misappropriated state
resources, it could resort to other investigative agencies and not the
Commission of Enquiry. Thus, Article 282 (61)(2a) and (62) of 1992
Constitution made it unlawful for the prosecution to charge the accused
persons, who appeared before the Commission as witnesses with any
criminal offence.

As the President has taken the approach to refer Mr Adjenim Boateng
Adjei’s case to the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), more drastic
measures must be taken against him.

If his only punishment is he been sacked from his job and a ban or disqualification from holding public office for the five years, then in actual fact he’s profited. I believe that the next necessary action by the OSP wouldn’t be kind of punishment alone that’ll make corruption lucrative.

Upon this further referral of the case, I am expecting these outcomes;

i. Whether answers are given by the perpetrator(s) on his sources to his
Bank Account?

ii. Whether he has acquired any properties within the period and what
happens to it?

iii. Has his close family and cronies been investigated?

iv. Apart from him, is there no member (s) of the Board complicit and
what’s the Board’s terms of reference? In short, the Board must also be
investigated for superintending such rot and must be dissolved at least.

v. All the monies should be confiscated to the state and he must be made
to face the full rigours of the law even it’s a maximum possible sentence
to serve as deterrent enough to discourage others from engaging in it.

It’s high time we shunned making corruption the main problem that’s
causing us the misery that we have. The OSP must ensure that the rule of
law prevails to safeguard Ghana’s kitty and be guided by the fact that,
LAW becomes the most central ingredient when statehood (nationhood)
is achieved.

The author, Bright Philip Donkor is the ILAPI, African Journalists for
Economic Opportunity Training (AJEOT-2020) Best Article Writer; a
Young Activist, Political and Social Commentator, Columnist and a
Prolific Feature Writer.