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Opinions of Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Columnist: Kakraba Pratt

Why all heads of our national security, prosecution agencies, must lose their jobs

Folks, this is not one of those Hausa koko attack moments. This is serious stuff after a dinner of konkonte with hot pepper sauce which is giving me a sleepless night.

I woke up yesterday to news that one of the main persons allegedly implicated by two official reports commissioned by no less an organization as the Central Bank of Ghana, for his role, action and or inaction resulting in the collapse of Capital Bank, Pastor Mensa-Otabil has travelled to the United States of America. I asked myself why? Why was he allowed to continue to be in possession of his passport and allowed to leave the country at a time that he is clearly a person of interest to the nation in its quest to investigate and get to the bottom of the scandal that has engulfed our banking sector and nearly collapsed our economy.

We are forgetting that lack of a proper in-depth transparent and accurate judicious enquiry to deal with this matter will increase the lack of confidence in the sector and also affect investor confidence in our economy?

It is clearly apparent that Mr Otabil May have a lot of information that will assist the authorities in tracing at least 620 Million Ghana Cedis of magic money that was granted to Capital Bank to keep it afloat. Where the money went and why it went and help discover who else may have contributed to the wanton dissipation of the bailout money, even if he personally has done nothing wrong.

Come on folks, before any of you accuse me or anybody demanding answers and making sure that this matter does not die a natural death, or witch hunting, let me stress that the esteemed Man of God is not a witch. Nobody can hunt him if all his actions and inactions were sincere and above board without any malice aforethought.

Also please note that this is not the first time the renowned spiritual leader and father and judges has travelled to the United States or any other country. We have never been concerned with his previous travels to America. But we are all witnesses to the fact that a precedent has been established where people who are of interest to the nation in such uncleared events are prevented from travelling.

A case in point is the businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome, who is in the news for a fraction of the amount Otabil is allegedly connected with. Another is the erstwhile CEO of Cocobod, Mr Opuni, to just mention two cases. These persons of interest to the state have had their passports impounded and their assets frozen while their various cases are at different stages of investigations, prosecutions and resolution.

So why on earth is this “animal farm” treatment of the darling Pastor of the establishment, who has to approve and pray for the national budget before even parliament gets to hear it? Why a different treatment for Woyome and Opuni but a “kids glove” treatment for Osofo Otabil? Is he more equal than other suspected infringers of the law in Ghana?

Ordinarily, it would not have mattered if Otabil had travelled to America or Akim Oda. But there seemed to be evidence available to the Bank of Ghana at least, on the face of it, that Otabil personally took a loan of 150 million ghc out of the 620 million and also took 37 million on behalf of his church ICGC, which does not appear to have landed in any of the accounts of the church.

Just last week, there seems to be evidence suggesting the existence of Pastor Otabil’s huge investments in real estates and mansions in the state of Virginia in America, circulating on social media. A fact that has not been denied by either the Pastor or any of his “ Arch Bishop Ghanaians must shut up” spokespersons.

This would also suggest that there could be more undisclosed investments in America. Why would the apparatus of state allow him to travel to America where there could be the possibility of concealing and covering up such investments, which could then hamper our ability to trace and retrieve any such monies in the event that he is found culpable and we need to utilize the existence of such investments and proceeds from them to defray part of our 620 million?

Also a text message exchange between the Pastor and his long time friend, Reverend Dr. Saddick Arthur, who lives in America and who was his confidant until very recently when they had a falling out over what may not be a spiritual clerical friendly dispute, indicated that Pastor Mensa-Otabil has since March of this year been making enquiries as to how to acquire an American Green Card. (by the way American green card is not for cleaning the environment but a legal terminology for permanent residence status in America) in the text message exchanges, the Pastor is supposedly asking about average income levels in America and how much a family may require in order to survive in America.

If these otherwise seemingly enquiries in their individual cases, when put together cannot be wildly be interpreted as somebody seeking an alternative residence other than in Ghana, then a common sense university needs to be established in Ghana for some of us.

It is also worth noting that yesterday, another leading member of the ICGC pastoral team based in America Rev Mattison Safo, in charge of the ICGC Destiny Chapel in Texas, launched a special fundraising drive to raise a target of $20,000 USD by this Sunday for the upkeep and welfare of our esteemed Pastor.

This is over and above what he is entitled to as the International head of the church on his usual visits and trips to the United States of America. Why would ICGC seek to fund-raise for the upkeep of Pastor Mensa-Otabil who is already rich and may not need any financial assistance ( with 150 million dollars in his back pocket) rather than set up a welfare fund for his victims?

Some of whom have had to sell their houses, can’t pay for children’s education or feed their families as a result with either losing their jobs or life savings due to the activities or lack thereof of the Esteemed Man of God ( which god?) Can we remember those two ex-employees who have committed suicide and their young children left behind to grapple with life without a father?

Folks these are the sort of information that investigators and prosecutors look for in order to oppose a bail application of a person being investigated or use to impound the passport and other travel documents of a person of interest. Now, if a mere ordinary non-spectator citizen like me can have access to all this information, how come our national security apparatus, the BNI, EOCO, Special Persecutor’s office, CID, AG’s office, Bank of Ghana and other state institutions with immense and huge resources did not seek to have this information to either impound the passports and travel documents as well as freeze his assets?

That is why I contend that the presidency must as a matter of national interest remove the heads of all these institutions for not putting Ghana first in the discharge of their duties.

THEY HAVE FAILED GHANA!!

Why was he allowed to leave the shores of Ghana just 2 days before the finance committee of parliament was due to start its own investigations into the causes of the collapse of the banks, when he is a person of interests to the committee?

The reason why it would appear that some of us are worried and concerned about the apparent sweetheart treatment of Pastor Otabil is not that we blame him alone for the saga leading to the collapse of all the seven banks and the huge losses to the central bank and our economy. But that we fear that the seeming closeness of Otabil to government ministers and powerful people and his well-oiled connection to the corridors of power could mean that the investigations and possible prosecutions are watered down or botched in his Favour, which could also lead to all others involved in this sorry episode getting off lightly or Scott Free. Because there is a feeling that if we can’t touch one person, the state may be compelled to drop interest in the others too.

What is disheartening to us and enforces our belief is the sight of very senior members of the judiciary and senior members of government, in a tet a tet last minute hearty conversations and exchanges before a person of such negative interests, boards a plane to fly out of the country. In some countries, such a person may even find it difficult to get a taxi ride to the airport let alone Chauffeur driven rides in comfort to our nation’s premier airport for travel.

There is almost reliable information that points to the fact that the ICGC has only recently secured a one million dollar edifice in Virginia to start a new Cathedral, pointing to a possible extended stay of Osofo under the guise of helping to establish the new mission, and stay a little longer till the “boiling water gets cold” as we say in Ghana.

But as I write with sadness in my face and bleed for mother Ghana this early morning, I call on all well-meaning Ghanaians and true Christians all over the world to help urge or put pressure on Pastor Mensa-Otabil to return home without delay and to remain in Ghana until he is cleared by a proper due process of an appropriate judicial enquiry before he travels to any destination of his choice.

If he fails to return to Ghana within a reasonable period of 30 days from the date of departure from the shores of Ghana, then I urge the Attorney General or rightful state institution to file a person of interest motion in a court of law, ( or any other motion that the lawyers deem appropriate ) to declare him a wanted person and to seek his extradition from the United States of America and brought back to Ghana until all the events and circumstances surrounding the collapse of Capital Bank and others are unravelled to the satisfaction of both spectators and the citizens of the country and all monies which may be due us are all properly and completely accounted for.

ITS TIME FOR CITIZENS POWER TO BE EXHIBITED BY ALL GHANAIANS. THERE IS ONLY ONE GHANA. WE SWIM OR SINK TOGETHER.

(Please if you agree with me, share with all your friends and platforms. Those who disagree with me, must share with their friends and other platforms to give people who rightfully think like them, the opportunity to also disagree with me)

I SALUTE YOU ALL.