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Opinions of Monday, 27 June 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Anas’ numbers on judiciary ricochets on executive

In Shakespearean parlance, this is what is called “Poetic Justice.” The law of action and reaction; or more accurately, the law of retribution. Not very long ago, renowned Ghanaian investigative journalist cum lawyer Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his Tiger-Eye PI firm did an extensive exposé on the judiciary and produced a video documentary titled “The Eyes of God.” In that exposé, quite a remarkable number of judges and magistrates were shown taking bribes ranging from cash to foodstuffs and livestock, such as yams and plantains; and goats, sheep and fowls, respectively. The documentary took a couple of years to shoot and prepare for public consumption; it was intended to expose a rankly corrupt justice system that had made it virtually impossible for the poor of Ghanaian society to receive and/or be meted justice in the traditional sense of the term.

As was widely anticipated, the Anas exposé resulted in several high court judges, including Justices Ajet Nassam and Dery, losing their jobs and occupational benefits and entitlements. Others who also lost their jobs were, however, allowed to keep their benefits and entitlements because as Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood then observed, this second category of judges who had been literally caught with their pants and skirts down had shown genuine remorse and contrition. Back then, yours truly wondered whether these hitherto judicial demigods had at the height of their power and fame, or popularity, also demonstrated a laudable modicum of charitability and leniency towards criminal suspects arraigned before them who had equally shown genuine remorse. I was here, of course, thinking about the yam, plantain, cassava, goat and sheep thieves who were routinely slapped with traumatically scandalous jail terms ranging from five to twenty years!

But, of course, all the preceding is decidedly beside the point. I speculated then that it was only a matter of time before the extensive reach of the arm of justice caught up with the members of the executive branch of the government. And on the latter score must be significantly added the fact that President John Dramani Mahama had called a press conference and publicly, imperiously and pontifically declared that he had actively collaborated with Mr. Anas and his Tiger-Eye PI team of crackerjack investigators to expose the alleged judicial scam-artists. This was not the very first time, the former National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Gonja-West had smugly added.

Well, as Americans are wont to say, “Whatever goes around comes around” after a while, of course. It was only a matter of time before somebody bolder and much smarter forensically taught the Chief Resident of the Flagstaff House what most of us adult Ghanaians past the half-century mark had always known and suspected, to wit, that “It takes one to know one.” Now, President Mahama has also been exposed to be one who may actually be morally more diseased, or blighted, than a full-half of the judges he so self-righteously sought to expose and thoroughly humiliate the other day.

Now it has come to light that in the waning days of the equally corrupt regime of President John Evans Atta-Mills, late, the then-Vice President John Dramani Mahama received a “gift” in the form of an American-made Ford Expedition automobile valued at $100,000 (One-Hundred-Thousand United States’ Dollars) from a Burkinabe road and building contractor to whom the government had recently awarded a fence-wall contract worth some $650,000 to cordon off the Ghana Embassy building in Ouagadougou, the ancient capital of present-day Burkina Faso.

It has yet to be officially clarified precisely under what circumstances the Ford Expedition “gift” was accepted by then-Vice President Mahama from Mr. Gibril (or Djibril) Kanazoe. From the recent pronouncements of Mr. Fred Agbenyo, described as a Deputy Communications Director of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), one can fairly objectively and quite accurately draw several conclusions, including the indisputable fact that, indeed, the Ford Expedition auto “gift” to Mr. Mahama was presented to the latter in his extant official capacity as Vice-President of Ghana and may directly have had something to do with the fact of Mr. Kanazoe’s having been awarded the aforesaid contractual deal in Ouagadougou.

What is inescapably striking to observe here is the fact that a comparative analysis between the value of the Ford Expedition and the Ghana Embassy fence-wall in Ouagadougou does not indicate that this relatively humongous “gift” was merely intended to demonstrate the giver’s appreciation for his otherwise monetarily piddling contractual award. Put more bluntly, about the only reasonable conclusion that any critical thinker can arrive at is that this “gift” was meant to pave the way for much bigger future sweetheart or no-bid contracts. Which clearly appears to have resulted in the subsequent awarding of a GH? 82 million road-construction contract to Mr. Kanazoe.

Now, I don’t know what the procurement laws of Ghana have to say about the preceding “gifting” of the metaphorically suggestive Ford Expedition automobile. But listening to Mr. Agbenyo, the Deputy NDC Communications Director, it is limpidly clear that the proffering of the Ford Expedition automobile was in direct relation to Mr. Kanazoe’s business dealings with the Mills-Mahama and now Mahama/Amissah-Arthur regime. Which clearly explains Mr. Agbenyo’s assertion that Mr. Mahama accepted the Ford Expedition auto from Mr. Kanazoe on behalf of the government and people of Ghana.

Now, if the preceding was really the case, why had the recipient not promptly held a press conference to make the same known to the nation? I am quite certain that the likes of former Justice Ajet-Nassam are following recent events surrounding the Ford Expedition “gift” with sedulous attention.

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