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Opinions of Sunday, 10 December 2017

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Will the day come when Ghana’s political criminals find they’ve nowhere to hide?

Since the birth of Ghana’s Fourth Republic (from 1993 to present), the nation has revoltingly lost billions of dollars meant for developmental projects through unbridled sleazes and corruption, and yet the methods employed by the successive governments in combating the apparent canker have been extremely disappointing, so to speak.

Dearest reader, tell me, if the rampant bribery and corruption, dubious judgment debt payments, stashing of national funds by some greedy opportunists , misappropriation of resources and crude embezzlement of funds meant for developmental projects by some public officials do not warrant criminal charges, then where are we heading as a nation?

It is for this reason that some of us have been looking forward, though nervously, to welcoming President Akufo-Addo’s brain child (the Special Prosecutor) to lawfully retrieve stolen monies from the corrupt public officials.

To me, the arrival of the Special Prosecutor will, arguably, remain the single most important accomplishment of President Akufo-Addo’s administration.

Indeed, it would be exciting to witness the Special Prosecutor exerting dint of effort and retrieving stolen monies in the bribery and corruption cases from 1992 to present.

Anecdotally, the Special Prosecutor could retrieve from the corrupt public servants in excess of 30 billion Cedis that will go a long way towards supporting the implementation of developmental projects.

The Special Prosecutor, so to speak, will lawfully and assertively go after the greedy politicians and other public servants who have dipped their hands into the national coffers in the past, and those who are in the habit of doing so.

But who says that the suspects and their apologists would not grumble and squall over the Special Prosecutor’s lawful interrogations?

Trust me, the chorus bandwagon will cry foul and sing along their usual witch-hunting rendition.

After all, didn’t the flamboyant apologist sing the same hymn when Ibrahim Mahama was invited by the EOCO to answer questions about an alleged import tax evasion?

Verily, the apple-polishers labelled the interrogation as political witch-hunting. However, it came to light that the brother of former President Mahama, Ibrahim Mahama, had evaded import taxes (in excess of GH12 million) since 2015.

Well, I am afraid the chorus bandwagon should brace themselves for more of such legal and routine interrogations in the coming months.

With all due respect, why should anyone be concerned of witch-hunters, if he/she is not a witch?

In other words, if you are not a thief, why be concerned of the presence of the police?

It reminds me of my inquisitive six-year-old son, who once put me on the spot on the question of the existence of witches.

My son posed inquisitorially: “Dad, do witches really exist?”

Upon hearing my son’s seemingly weird question, though intelligible, I became speechless momentarily. Nonetheless, I reluctantly broke my silence after a few seconds. I sighed deeply in a desperate attempt to emit my apparent bewilderment.

I proceeded mirthfully: “Son, why do you require such information?”

My Son: “Dad, I have been reading extensively about witches and just wondering if they really exist.”

“Well, Son, I have never come across a witch before, but I would like to think since a witch has a taxonomic classification (nomenclature), a witch might as well exists”, I retorted.

Pardon me that was just a little digression. In fact, I have always maintained that Westerners are not less corrupt than their African counterparts. However, what makes the people elsewhere much more responsible than a Ghanaian and Africans as a whole is the rigidity of the state institutions and the effective laws and regulations.

Elsewhere, though, the laws and regulations are strictly enforced, and as such the vast majority of the citizens and denizens prefer the observance to the stringent fines and the harsh punishments.

It must be emphasised that in as much as the followers have a duty of obligation, it is up to the leadership to bring sanity into the system by strictly ensuring that all laws and regulations are enforced without fear or favour.

To me, the introduction of a Special Prosecutor is a pragmatic way of tackling the rampant bribery and corruption cases head-on.

How sweet would it be if the Special Prosecutor managed to roundup the conspiratorial plotters in the Woyome’s dubious judgement debt payment for instance?

And more so it would be a great news if the Special Prosecutor managed to claw-back all the embezzled monies in the scandalous corruption cases involving the infamous Bus Branding, SSNIT, Brazil World Cup, GYEEDA, AZONTABA, SADA, SUBAH, the purported $200million debt incurred on the faded STS housing deal, the dubious Embraer 190 Aircrafts and hanger for the Ghana Armed Forces and over a US$100 million oil revenue loss between 2011 and 2013 as reported by the Public Interest& Accountability Committee.

Dearest reader, isn’t it somewhat refreshing that the justice system is going to descend heavily not only on goat, cassava and plantain thieves, but as well as the hard criminals who hide behind narrow political colorations?

In fact, I have always insisted that a fantastically corrupt public servant is no less a human rights violator than the weirdo Adolf Hitler.

Take, for instance, while the enigmatic Adolf Hitler barbarically annihilated innocent people with lethal chemicals and sophisticated weapons, a contemporary corrupt public servant is blissfully bent on annihilating innocent citizens through wanton bribery and corruption.

Consequently, the innocent citizens would often end up facing economic hardships, starvation, depression, emotional labour and squalor which send them to their early grave.

It would, however, appear that the political criminals have the licence to steal. And, if that was not the case, how come the offending politicians and their minions often go scot free?

How on earth can individuals commit unpardonable crimes (gargantuan sleazes and corruption) against the state and get away with their misdeeds?

Well, the all-important question the discerning Ghanaians should ask is: will the day come when “Ghana’s political criminals” find they have nowhere to hide?

In sum, it is our fervent hope that the Special Prosecutor will work strenuously and assertively in our nearly impossible fight against the existential sleazes and corruption that have stunted our development over the years.

K. Badu, UK.