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Opinions of Thursday, 10 February 2011

Columnist: Ashiagbor, Kwaku Kele

The Ghanaian Condition (Part13)

CORRUPTION IN GHANA---IT IS THE SYSTEM AND THE JUDICIARY-STUPID

The massive corruption at the Tema Harbour as exposed by the ace journalist Anas Amerayaw Anas comes as no surprise to the majority of discerning Ghanaians.
We were all in this country when not too long ago, Mr Harruna Esseku,the former Chairman of the N.P.P stated categorically and unequivocally that they used to collect SACKFUL OF BRIBES FROM CONTRACTORS and that he personally would carry same monies in the boot of his car and deliver them to Ex-President J.A .Kufour in the Castle.

As of today nothing was done about this. If the then sitting President could be collecting BRIBES left,right and centre from contractors and nothing was done about it,what do you expect those below him to do? After all,if a fish spoils it starts from the head.
With this in mind.it has now become a national game for every Tom,.Dick and Harry in any position of TRUST and RESPONSIBILITY to dip his/her hand into the national coffers knowing very well that even if caught nothing will be done about it.
If not how come that just few weeks ago,the CEPS officials caught on tape by the same Anas which tape was played all over our TV stations are now set free by our corrupt judiciary aided and abetted by some officials at the Attorney Generals Department.

In Ghana the Judicial Net is so tight that no small fish can get out of it whist at the same time the same judicial Net is so wide that no big fish can be caught by it.
Simply put.in our country Justice goes to the highest bidder. The poor will always be given a custodial sentence even for minor offences whislt the rich and the powerful with connections go scott free because they can afford to bribe their way.
What has been exposed by Anas has been high-lighted over a year ago by one of our local newspapers --“The Daily Post” This paper has been in the fore-front exposing the nefarious activities of the GcNet Company and some DIC ------Destination Inspection Companies but the Minister of Trade Miss Hannah Tetteh did nothing about it.If anything their contracts were renewed and now the birds have come to roost.
Mr President,don’t get Mad,get even.Being a Tax Proffesor,please set up a Committee of Experts to take a radical overall view of out Tax System and see if drastic actions cannot be taken.

As of now it is a lottery for any importer to know precisely how much tax and duties he/she has to pay on any commodity brought into the country.
Why can’t the Tax System be so simplified that one can log on into the system at any time and know exactly how much one has to pay? Surely this does not need the brain of a rocket scientist to work out a system or device of this kind in these days of computer knowledge.

Make the system so TRANSPARENT & OPEN that no one can abuse it.
Secondly please reduce the massive bureaucracy to the barest minimum as it is this bureaucracy that is being used by the Corrupt CEPS officials to frustrate and delay importers in the clearing of their goods.
Thirdly it should be mandatory that no CEPS official should be in one station for more than 3 years .

Mr. President,please take a second look at how our folks in the Diaspora are being treated by the OBNOXIOUS TAX REGIME we have in Ghana,
These folks worked very hard to acquire personal properties like cars and other items but on bringing them home are made to pay heavy and unreasonable taxes to the extend that at times they just can’t afford to pay these taxes and so their cars are seized and autioned at ridiculously low prices for the same CEPS officers and some Govt Appointees to buy.
Fourthly if you sincerely and honestly want to fight Corruption in our motherland then please IMMEDIATELY see to the implementation of the various Audit Reports by the Auditor General.

As of today there are various corruption cases pending in our courts and nothing is being done about them. With all due respect, the Judiciary is the greatest obstacle to justice delivery in Ghana. They have been using all sorts of tricks to delay and postpone cases before them to the extend that people are now beginning to lose confidence in them.
Another favorite trick is to dismiss high profile cases on what they term “technical grounds”They sometimes conveniently ignore the merits of the case..
In my last year at school in the year1960 our then Headmaster used to tell us that “In Ghana Freedom and Justice resides only on the Independence Arch” It is only now that I undersatand what he meant.

Mr. President,as the saying goes, “If you want to change the fruit,you first must change the root” You cannot reduce or eliminate corruption if the beauracracy ,the complex multitude of taxes and the corrupt judiciary are left intact,you simply are wasting your time. You got to tackle the problem at the root level


KWAKU.KELE.ASHIAGBOR