General News of Sat, 21 Apr 2018123
Double Salary: I can’t prosecute anybody else if these ‘Honourables’ are spared - Amidu
Prosecuting any other body or individual over corruption in his capacity as Special Prosecutor will be unfair and almost impossible if the subject of ‘double salary’ allegations is overlooked and or brushed aside rather than pursued and thoroughly investigated and the offenders prosecuted accordingly if found culpable, Martin Amidu has said.
Mr. Amidu believes the rule of law and justice should be applied to all without fear and favour such that a state official who engages in criminality or corruption would face the full rigors of the law just as any other ordinary Ghanaian would.
His comments come on the back of what he describes as attempts by some of the alleged NDC MPs to seek the intervention of President Akufo-Addo in the situation to overlook the issue.
Some NDC MPs named as having collected double salaries as MPs and Ministers during their term in office under the erstwhile Mahama administration reportedly held talks with President Akufo-Addo to persuade him to intervene in the double salary scandal. According to Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu urged President Akufo-Addo to discontinue investigations into the matter to avoid bringing the name of parliament into disrepute.
Speaking on the issue on Accra-based CitiFM however, Mr. Amidu expressed worry over the development which he says is unfair and unjustifiable. He sees no reason why persons said to have engaged in corruption should be spared being investigated and prosecuted accordingly because of their positions as Members of Parliament when the law will not be lenient on an ordinary individual engaged in a ‘lesser’ crime even; his conscience he says will not allow him go on that tangent.
“What is worrying for me is the knowledge that some people are even talking to the president to compromise so that crime will be overlooked because they are Members of Parliament”.
“… Why should a Special Prosecutor be prosecuting ordinary Ghanaians and your honourables will be involved in these things; then they will be talking to the president to wash it up. Then I have no need sitting here. I won’t even have the conscience to continue……Will I have the conscience to prosecute any other body for corruption if the CID finds something prosecutable and are not allowed to prosecute because Members of Parliament are involved? That is not fair,” the former AG said.
He continued: “The ordinary man going to jail is a human being like a Ghanaian. I don’t like this whole idea about political elite. Honourables you are supposed to be, and then you are just fleecing the country. Indeed, that is an offence of abuse of office for private gain”.
Citing a similar instance he faced as Deputy Minister he said;
“Money was ever paid into my account… When my bank notified me I told them to return it because that is not what me and the Attorney General agreed. I could have kept it. This is what they should have done. You don’t keep the money for six months, one year, two years or three years, you’ve left office, one-and- half years, you’ve not made any efforts to return it. Then when the CID begins seeing it now you are rationalising it and yet when the ordinary man takes plantain one bunch, he goes to jail for 15 years. So, what is the political elite telling us?”
“If it’s been happening since 1992 and no one has seen it, now it has been seen, those responsible should bear the consequence,” he added.
Some NDC MPs have come under attack over allegations that they received salaries while serving as both Members of Parliament and Ministers or Deputy Ministers.
A total of 25 ex-appointees were initially invited by the CID for questioning over allegations of having received double salaries as MPs and ministers, a claim most of them have denied. 18 of them were reportedly later called asked to disregard the invite by the CID.
8 persons so far have been interrogated by the CID. Meanwhile minority in parliament have vehemently denied the allegations tagging it as a witch-hunt attempt by government.
They argued that it is false that some 25 members of the NDC MPs, who were former ministers and deputy ministers, were paid double salaries as MPs and also as ministers and that what is seen as double salaries were paid in lieu of accumulated arrears the government owes them.