General News of Thursday, 4 October 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Nana Akufo-Addo Pledges To Make Corruption Unattractive

The flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has promised to introduce stiffer punishment that will make corruption unattractive and very expensive at all levels of the society when he is voted into power.

Consequently, he said, his administration would, among other measures, amend the relevant sections of the Criminal Code and Offences Act “to make corruption a felony rather than a misdemeanour”, to make the theft of state funds more expensive for the criminal.

Addressing a section of faculty members and students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi Wednesday, he trumpeted his personal incorruptible nature, and said: “I bring to the table and to the Office of President of this great country an unblemished track record of personal integrity and fortitude.”

He challenged the record of the NDC in fighting the canker within its almost four years.

Nana Akufo-Addo is in Kumasi as part of his nationwide campaign tour to garner votes for the December 7 general election. The address was dubbed: “Why Ghana Cannot Afford Corruption”.

Other moves he intended to undertake as part of his determination to fight corruption, if voted into office, would include the institutionalisation of what he called an “Anas Principle”.

The flag bearer explained that the “Anas Principle” was where a special squad made up of the best and young talents, well trained and disciplined would be engaged by existing anti-corruption agencies to keep the fight against the menace constant at every corner of the country.

He pledged to support and provide anti-corruption institutions such as Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ, Economic and Organised Crime Organisation (EOCO), the Financial Intelligence Centre and the Ghana Police Service, with greater financial resources to recruit, train, engage and retain more of the technical personnel to be able to investigate and educate against the menace.

Regarding the controversial ‘Woyome-Judgement Debt Saga’, Nana Akufo-Addo said the NDC communication team had tried with difficulty to seek non existing equalisation of the “criminal behaviour” by claiming that all governments paid judgement debts.

He explained that in the first four years of the NPP administration, when he was the Minister of Justice and Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo was the Finance Minister, less that GH¢4 million was paid as judgement debt, while the NDC, in its first term, had paid a whopping GH¢642 million, close to the GH¢678 million that his administration, if voted into office, would spend in improving facilities and teaching and learning at the various secondary schools in the country.

Nana Akufo-Addo said although President John Mahama had promised a sole commissioner to thoroughly examine the judgement debt and negotiate settlement, Ghanaians were just expecting that the government retrieved monies which had been paid to some people without any justification.

The NPP flag bearer stated that it was easy to appreciate why Ghanaians were having doubts about President John Dramani Mahama’s commitment to fighting corruption, it was because of his involvement in at least, the two most controversial international transactions he led.

He said the two transactions were the abortive $10 million STX Housing deal from Korea and the Embraer 190 Jet and the accompanying $17 million hangar from Brazil.

Unlike the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which stated in its 2008 Manifesto that it would enact into law the Freedom of Information Bill to facilitate access to official information but had failed to do that, Nana Akufo-Addo said his government would pass the bill as well as improve the archival management, including record keeping and information retrieval systems in the public sector to facilitate transparency and accountability in public affairs.

He sounded a warning to his party members saying, “If your idea is to make corrupt money in government, then there will be no room for you in my government. If you think of public office as a short cut to making money, then find some other venture to engage your time and energies because there will be no place under an Akufo-Addo government for self enrichment in politics”.

Nana Akufo-Addo declared that the time had come for us a nation to end the business of going into politics because now we need to change the culture of seeking wealth through politics and seeing politics as a field for financial gains.

“This approach to politics has debased what should be the essense of public office — the spirit of service for the common good. I as your President will lead by example and will not allow corrupt, greedy and self-serving politicians in my government”, and challenged Ghanaians to hold him to this sacred promise.