General News Sat, 17 Feb 2018
It is emerging that huge sums of money believed to have been stolen from state coffers have been traced to foreign accounts.Sources investigating the stolen cash have said the offshore accounts are held in Europe, Asia and some African countries where there is financial stability.
The sources said details of the said accounts had been identified and it is likely to attract the attention of the Special Prosecutor, Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu, when he is given the nod by parliament.
During his marathon vetting on Tuesday, Mr. Amidu said that he has the capacity to track all stolen funds stashed in foreign accounts.
“We will trace them and then they have to decide whether they will come and pay reparation or bring the money back or we will deal with it,” he said, adding, “There is an international law on politically exposed persons. If you want to open an account with a certain bank, especially in the UK and America, they ask you to fill a declaration of consent that if questions are asked about you, the bank is at liberty to provide them.”
He said, “….. So, legal assistance gives us an opportunity for those who think they are smart enough to put their monies and go through the Kotoka International Airport because they are exempted from very critical screening and deposit them abroad.”
The former Attorney General posited, “I was once the Minister for the Interior and so I know the security methods of doing it. We will use these methods.
Mr Amidu said he was not coming into office to jail people and would be nice to all those who would show remorse and bring back their stolen public funds. He pleaded that there should not be any politicization of issues when people are arrested adding, “Crime is crime without political colouration and that is how the office will run if I am approved.
“We should go back and look at the offences the Special Prosecutor can prosecute. Out of the 10 offences listed with the general provision of other offences, six of them are misdemeanours, two are felonies, two are unclassified. So for me, the issue is not necessarily wanting to fill Nsawam with people.”
Justifying his position, he said, “What is the use imprisoning him if you can’t get the monies back? If he agrees to get the monies back only for a conviction and probation, I think that is better for the nation than imprisoning him 10 years, feed him 10 years, give him prison clothing and if he is grown, he will have chronic conditions and be sending him to hospital. If you will bring part of the money back or all of it and it is reasonable, that is the thing I like about this section so that those who think that the office is just to be there locking people left, right and centre will realise that the office will act reasonably.”
Mr. Amidu added, “This plea bargaining thing has a good incentive. If people want to make reparation for the consideration of the court and go and sin no more, the office will have to take into consideration all the grounds upon which reparation must be accepted and the reparation must be reasonable because it will come to the knowledge of the people of this country.”