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Opinions of Sunday, 3 July 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

This diversionary tactic is very annoying

President Mahama and Anas Aremeyaw Anas President Mahama and Anas Aremeyaw Anas

As far as most of us keen observers of the Ghanaian political scene are concerned, the Tiger-Eye PI exposé on the judiciary has peaked and been effectively done and over with. The recent dismissal of some magistrates and high court judges implicated in the Anas exposé is merely incidental to the main event which is decidedly passé.

This is not to either say or imply that now the members of the judiciary can go back to business as usual, almost as if the Tiger-Eye PI exposé never happened because it incontrovertibly did.

Nevertheless, it reeks with inexcusable annoyance to read news headlines making President John Dramani Mahama seem as if the former Atta-Mills arch-lieutenant has been living well above board (See “Mahama Sacks Judge Ivy Heward-Mills” / 6/24/16).

The publication of news about the recent dismissal of Justice Ivy Heward-Mills, coming right on the heels of the timely exposure of Mr. Mahama in the $100,000 Ford Expedition payola scam, made the entire case involving Ms. Heward-Mills seem to have been deliberately planted to divert attention from the indisputable fact that when it comes to the expression of his moral authority, President Mahama is irredeemably bankrupt.

The dismissal of Justice Heward-Mills only puts into sharp relief the double standard in the treatment of members of the judiciary who are found to have fallen afoul of their professional code of ethical conduct vis-à-vis members of the executive branch of government literally caught with their pants down where the proverbial cookie jar is concerned.

Justice Heward-Mills was allegedly found to have criminally abused the privilege of her office as a high court judge by accepting kickbacks from counsel of defendants with cases pending before her court. In the process, she is alleged to have criminally tweaked the contours of natural justice in favor of these criminal defendants.

Justice Heward-Mills is also accused of discussing some cases pending before her court with one of the parties to any particular case at the expense of the other. And for the preceding glaring instances of professional misconduct, not only has she been effectively dismissed from the bench, or disrobed, her name has also been promptly deleted from the payroll of the Judicial Service.

She is also likely to forfeit all her employment benefits, including her pension and other perks.

As of this writing, for example, Justice Heward-Mills had reportedly been ordered to vacate her official residence and hand over her officially assigned government-owned vehicle, together with all other properties in her possession that were made available to her when she was first named to the office from which she was recently dismissed.

In the case of the former Rawlings Communications Minister, President Mahama has officially and publicly admitted that, indeed, he accepted the “gift” of an American-made Ford Expedition automobile valued at a whopping $100,000 from a Burkinabe contractor who had direct business dealings with the Government of Ghana, when he fully knew that such business-related “gift” was no gift at all but a naked act of bribery, and one that had a significant financial and quality-of-life impact on the Ghanaian taxpayer.

Now, rather than promptly and honestly apologize for his ethical, and criminal, misdeed and plead for punitive leniency, the man has decided to thumb his nose at his victims by imperiously claiming that the Ford Expedition auto whose offer he had gratefully accepted and even phoned the giver to thank him, is not his choice of vehicle after all, and that his automobile of choice is the Japanese-made Toyota.

The preceding prompted one political commentator to question whether the President of Ghana had also assumed the post of Chief Marketing Manager of Japanese-made vehicles in the country.

What needs to happen here are two things, namely, the prompt impeachment of Mr. Mahama and his immediate removal from office, or his prompt censure by Parliament and his rendering of a public and official apology to the Ghanaian people.

There is, of course, a third and most punitively effective option, namely, the resounding defeat of the pathologically corrupt Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the November 7 general election.