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Opinions of Sunday, 4 December 2016

Columnist: Asubonteng, Bernard

Trivialization of bribery cases: Mahama government’s Modus Operandi

By Bernard Asubonteng

President John Mahama and his inner cycle backers have clearly adopted one basic method of operation in terms of responding to charges of corruption or serious accusations of bribery.

Their modus operandi is to let the president appears to stay above the fray, but quickly let loose all the NDC attack dogs come out forcefully to deny, demonize the accusers, and trivialize the charges into oblivion. Put in another way, whenever the president or any of his top members gets entangled in corruption or bribery incident, their most effective approach is to mount sustained verbal assault while trivializing whatever the accusations are till eventually the amnesia-inclined Ghanaians forget about the whole case.

Not long time ago, one of the fearless and corrupt-free Ghanaian reporters at the JOY FM did world-class investigations into GYEEDA, SADA, including the disgraced Alfred Woyome’s state funds. The reporter’s bold work unearthed systemic corruption and widespread waste of state resources in those government-backed agencies.

Rather than responding honestly by setting up an independent team of inquiry to get to the bottom of it, the Mahama-led administration pretended like an ostrich that buries its head in the sand and pretends nothing is happening.

As expected, after the GYEEDA expose, many top-ranking NDC government officials tried to trivialize, and even question the integrity and the motive of the journalist at the forefront of the investigations.

Somewhere last year, the same JOY FM journalist who spearheaded the GYEEDA episode conducted another matchless investigation into President Mahama and his connections with a Burkina Faso businessman. The Burkinabe man, it turned out, was said to have road construction contracts with the Ghanaian government under Mr. Mahama. We learned from the investigation that the businessman had given the president Ford Explorer or Expedition truck.

Based on the circumstances and the manner in which the current Ghanaian head of state accepted the vehicle from an individual bidding for, or doing business with the state of Ghana, there were serious ethical questions begging for answers. But, again, the president and his “hosanna boys” quickly came out singing in fawning and dismissive tones, mockingly trivializing the Ford investigation as something inconsequential as a mere “gift” from the Burkinabe to Mr. Mahama.

The trivialization didn’t just stop there. The president’s folks admitted, indeed, that the Bole darling boy accepted the Ford truck as “gift” but they also told the whole that the vehicle had since been added to the fleet of presidential cars at the Jubilee House.

Meantime the president’s hangers-on, without an iota of shame, directed their outrage at the decent investigative reporter for exposing and hence putting an irreparable dent on their boss’ moral compunction. As part of their modus operandi, the president’s die-hard followers claimed the Ford bribery investigation was “much ado about nothing.” According to them, the whole Ford bribery inquiry was sponsored by the opposition (NPP), but incidentally it was led by a journalist with “northerner” extraction naively bent on bringing his fellow “northerner” down.

Now here we go again with another trivialization from Mr. Mahama’s cheerleaders relating to the unfolding bribery charges by the Northern Regional Chairman of the NPP, Daniel Bugri Naabu. At least, so far Mr. Bugri Naabu has provided one hard fact regarding President Mahama and his brother’s effort to bribe him to rally against his own party and its presidential candidate for this month’s general elections.

For the sake of argument let us ignore for a moment all the hard cash allegedly involved here, and focus on the vehicles the president and his brother were said to have given or offered to the NPP Northern Regional Chairperson. The consequential question worth examining are the provision of the documentations covering the vehicles connected with the bribery, tracing the previous owner of the cars/trucks to one of the presidential aides of Mr. Mahama.

How do the president and his lackeys explain this tangible charge? Well, the Mahama’s administration pattern of lies and trivialization of blatant evidence of bribery and corrupt practices continue unabated. While President Mahama and his brother are quiet about the bribery scandal, the NDC General Secretary Mr. Asiedu Nketia, for instance, is trivializing otherwise potentially constitutional infractions by a sitting president of Ghana.

Bribery is a very serious offense, especially, if one of the offenders is the leader of a country. It is the main reason the smart people of South Korea is calling for the resignation of their president as we speak today.

Keep in mind the loud-mouthed and the seemingly semi-literate Mr. Asiedu Nketia was brought to Accra from a remote village in Brong Ahafo area and became cosmopolitan on the back of the former President Rawlings. The point is when Mr. Asiedu Nketia was struggling to make ends meet in his village-living days Mr. Bugri Naabu was already one of the rich prominent businessmen in the country.

Yet, Mr. Asiedu Nketia as usual is going from radio station to another demonizing and trivializing Mr. Bugri Naabu’s stature to the effect that “a man who can’t even speak for himself can’t be bribed to campaign for the Mr. Mahama.”

What is Mr. Asiedu talking about here? He hardly makes sense that is why he always mocks and insults people who disagree with him. If Mr. Naabu doesn’t know how to talk for himself, why did your boss and his brother approach him with two vehicles? The evidence is documented; if you dispute it, how about you disprove it beyond doubt? Many of us are not shallow-minded to be swayed by some village antics from Asiedu Nketia.

Hopefully, on December 7, Ghanaians will reject the culture of trivialities and corruption and put in place serious-mindedness and honest people to run the country. By the way, whenever Mr. Asiedu prays (if he does), some of us wish he never forgets ex-President Rawlings in his prayers, because he brought him from rags to fame to get the platform to mock, demonize, and trivialize issues of national importance as well as people, including his mentor Mr. Rawlings.

The writer is based in the USA. He can be reached: b.asubonteng@gmail.com