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Ghana National Party stands up and speaks out!

Thu, 1 Nov 2007 Source: Ghana National Party

PRESS RELEASE

ANOTHER DARK DAY IN GHANA’S HISTORY. 1st November, 2007!

Members and executives of the Ghana National Party want to make it clear to the public that we are shocked at what has happened in Ghana in the week of October 22-26, 2007. For four major political parties to collude to want to indemnify politicians from prosecution is a dark day indeed in our history! On January 24th 1966 there was a military coup that toppled the constitutional Government of the first republic under Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. That day was and continues to be Ghana’s first dark day in our history. Even if you don’t like Kwame Nkrumah for any reason, it is an acceptable fact that he will forever remain and be seen as the architect of African political freedom.

Since his overthrow, successive politicians and military leaders that have come and gone have all ended up looting the wealth of the country. Those who are still living can be considered as wealthy at the expense of the people of Ghana. Bribery and Corruption, selfishness, greed, misappropriation of public funds and self-serving executive decisions that “willfully cause financial loss to state” are prevailing in the fabric of our national character. This has become so common that poverty has deeply entangled around the very lives of people as if God created such conditions on us. Not even Rawlings who came to power through the barrel of the Gun could quell those evils of our country. He is himself living now in an undeserved affluence at the expense of the people of Ghana. He signed and promulgated the 1992 constitution and indemnified himself against prosecution for any actions he may have taken during his rule as the head of state for nineteen years. Why did he do that to protect himself when others died without trial and for no guilt. The 1992 constitution have many sections for concern that require amendments if Ghana is to be a real democratic nation. Power is already entrusted in the hands of one person who makes decisions across 138 districts and 10 regions and everybody has to wait for him! There is however a law that makes “willfully causing financial loss to state” punishable, and which remains the best in the constitution, BUT SOME POLITICIANS NOW WANT IT OUT OF THE STATUTE BOOKS! This is a shock and an outrage! Can’t our politicians stand clean and save Ghana from shame?

23rd of October 2007, the day this thought came out of four major political parties, must be considered yet ANOTHER DARK DAY IN THE HISTORY OF GHANA. Having been briefed on the history and antecedents as well as the rationale for the law on 'willfully causing financial loss to the state', General Secretaries of 4 major political parties in parliament, NPP, NDC, CPP and PNC, convinced themselves that that the continued existence of that law on the statute books “is inimical to any genuine effort to promote national reconciliation and goodwill among political parties and players in the country”. So who are these players in the country?

In a joint press statement read on their behalf by Nana Ohene Ntow, General Secretary of the ruling NPP, the group calling themselves the Platform of General Secretaries and Policy Analysts (The Platform) called for the law to be scrapped from the statute books.

The call came after weeks of so-called deliberation on the causes and effects of polarization in the country, under the auspices of the Ghana Political Parties Programme (GPPP), facilitated and sponsored by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD). Fellow Ghanaians, if after all our political history coupled with the extent of glaring poverty, disease, hunger and deprivation on the majority of Ghanaians, leaderships of the major political parties can for a second think of a repeal of this law on WILLFULLY CAUSING FINANCIAL LOSS AND MISAPPROPRIATING PUBLIC FUNDS out of the statute books, for the reasons propounded, then it can only be concluded that there must be something major wrong with the mental faculties of the Secretaries and/or leaders of these political parties! They must be dreaming or somebody misquoted them? Are they really interested in Ghana's economic freedom?

Their call was reported to be based on the premise that, the continued existence of that law on the statute books “is inimical to any genuine effort to promote national reconciliation and goodwill among political parties and players in the country”. What has the law got to do with the contentions above? If an official of state has or ever willfully cause financial loss to the state and a competent court of law finds that person guilty and sentences that person to a term of imprisonment, what has that got to do with NATIONAL RECONCILIATION? What has that got to do with the GOODWILL AMONG POLITICAL PARTIES? What has that got to do with players of the Country?

It is time Ghanaians got to understand very clearly that one of the major reasons we are behind is lack of discipline and law enforcement created by this soft traditional and weakness we have in this culture of let-it-be, alias “gyae-ma-no-nka”. This is the height of foolishness as God in the Christian Bible as well as the Moslem Quoran actually does enact punishment. These politicians want to have the law repealed for them to have the “FREEDOM TO STEAL” especially since there is NO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION act in Ghana yet in practice. Beyond that, nobody except them will understand why they should cry over the best law under the 1992 constitution.

The Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) revelations for the past weeks on the extent of corruption, financial misappropriations in the Ministries and other Government agencies to the tune of over Trillions of cedis alone should tell the general secretaries a story. The press conference from those that are perceived as corrupt politicians is therefore unfortunate, and one wonders if the NPP President and his cohorts, just like Jerry Rawlings, also want an indemnity for their actions and inactions.

It is refreshing indeed that the NDC flag bearer Prof John Atta Mills has come out with a statement against the issue and also NPP Presidential aspirant Mr. Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey. Hopefully lots of other Presidential aspirants would also come out publicly against the general Secretaries’ idea and save and protect their integrities.

Ghana National Party supports that law and will maintain it and even propose much stiffer penalties when we are given the mandate in 2008 to form the next Government after NPP. This has clearly been indicated in our manifesto, a portion of which we quote here:

PUBLIC WORKERS FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY LAW.

In our strong desire to check embezzlement, bribery and corruption within our financial system and society, Ghana National Party will advocate for the (public workers financial accountability law) which will require Civil servants or existing public officials(elected or appointed) to sign a declaration under oath and penalty of perjury, to the effect that A. All assets including those leveraged for political campaigns must be declared.

B. All incomes, regardless of source, must be declared and taxed as appropriate by the Internal Revenue service.

C. Random and periodic audit, during employment, and up to 5 years after termination of public service employment, will be conducted.

D. All employees will be required to disclose the names and addresses of 20 closest Patrilineal and 20 Matrilineal relatives.

E. Any financial loss to the state, that occurs under the area of responsibility of the Officer in-charge, shall be thoroughly investigated and the officer shall be held responsible for negligence of duty and or misappropriation of funds.

F. All government appointees in Foreign Service employment shall be required to sign the declaration also, and shall be held responsible under the law even though the offence would have been committed outside the jurisdiction of Ghana.

The penalties for violation of this law will include:

1. Forfeiture of all ill-gotten wealth, including tracing all bank accounts.

2. Prison sentence not less than 10 years and not more than 15 years.

3. Life time ban on holding any public office, and soliciting or participating in any public contracts.

We are determined to correct all the ills of our country and cultivate the habit of national savings and gradually build on it to eventually be self reliant GNP leadership calls on all Ghanaians to work under a strict code of conduct and ethics starting from our leaders. We plan to have a strong leadership by example and punish economic saboteurs. This makes us different and clearly distinguishes the GNP as the best alternative for Ghana’s development and Hope.

Politicians must be prepared to sacrifice for Ghana, and GNP is ready for those sacrifices out of selflessness, else we would not condemn the hopeless system we have seen for decades.

In conclusion we can say that Ghana is poor basically because of the massive corruption that divert funds for public service to private funds, willful misappropriation of state funds and some times open bribery, acts of greed, selfishness, nepotism and tribalism. These are the evils in our country and enemy of our people. These have been the causes of our underdevelopment and progress, and that is why the majority of our people are very poor in a country blessed with enormous natural and human resources. These evils of our Country must be tackled with all seriousness if we want to fairly distribute the national wealth and make our people live in a decent society with GNP’s Great New Possibilities and opportunities. Let us all tell the general secretaries of the major political parties that the law they want repealed, rather needs strengthening, to protect what belongs to the people of Ghana.   Ofori Ampofo (Executive Chairman -Co-Founder GNP) Email:001-9084058426 Dr. Kwaku A. Danso, Diaspora-Chairman-GNP, Email:001-5105732125 Mr.Kwabena Amo-Aidoo.Interim National Chairman:233-20-8150913

Source: Ghana National Party