General News of Wed, 8 Nov 201759
Mahama boys in trouble
The effort to prosecute corrupt public officials, especially those who served under former President John Dramani Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, is gathering momentum.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia hinted on Monday that the processes that would lead to the prosecution of the corrupt appointees are getting closer.
Reacting to former President John Mahama’s jab that the National Digital Property Addressing System (NDPAS) is a ‘419’ scam, the vice president said on Monday that “Ghanaians will find out more soon as people are held legally accountable.
“With the record that former President Mahama has in the area of governance, it is incredible that he would have the effrontery to talk about ‘419 scams,’ he fired back after Mr. Mahama’s criticism at an NDC unity walk in Cape Coast, Central Region, last Sunday.
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia said unlike the Mahama administration which was neck-deep in corruption, the Akufo-Addo government is above board.
He said Ghanaians would soon get to know more about the corruption that took place under the Mahama administration when the appointees of the previous administration are lined up.
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that dockets for a number of cases have already been completed and only waiting for the Special Prosecutor to commence the prosecutions.
The NPP government has done a lot of work to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor to handle some of the high-profile corruption cases, but the process is currently in parliament.
As a result of the delays, a section of the public have expressed concern that almost 11 months into President Akufo-Addo’s reign, there is yet to be any prosecution, especially of former public appointees who were alleged to have misappropriated public funds, giving them the opportunity to be making a lot of noise.
NDC Dares NPP
Interestingly, it is elements within the Mahama-led NDC who are daring President Akufo-Addo’s government to initiate the prosecutions. Some of the corrupt cases are at the finance, education, interior, health ministries, the National Communication Authority (NCA) and the Ghana Standards Authority.
NDC MP for North Tongu and former deputy minister of education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who lost a whopping GH¢25,000 at a washing bay for instance, fired a salvo when he challenged the Akufo-Addo NPP administration to punish alleged corrupt officials under former President Mahama.
The education ministry is one of the entities which officials may face the law over alleged corruption.
Mr Ablakwa said on Joy FM that the opposition NDC was fed up with the number of allegations of corruption leveled against NDC appointees without proof by (the NPP) government officials.
“What is all this about, that we (NDC functionaries) are corrupt, we have stolen Ghana’s money, we have taken cocoa funds after losing the election and we have spent over $400 million?” he queried.
Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa, who is a former deputy minister of education, said the NPP government lacks what he called the ‘moral courage’ to prosecute former NDC government appointees and also teased the NPP administration of lacking evidence to prosecute NDC functionaries.
“Why are we walking as free men? Why can’t you take action if people have bought motorbikes for ¢17,000 which has turned out to be blatant falsehood? Please deal with it,” he challenged.
Kwakye Ofosu Attacks
Felix Kwakye Ofosu, former deputy minister of communications, threw a challenge to Vice President Bawumia to prove that former NDC government appointees were corrupt, otherwise he (Bawumia) should hold his peace.
According to him, both President Akufo-Addo and his vice have been throwing what he called all manner of unsubstantiated allegations against the past government officials without proof and said what the NPP leaders were doing was “propaganda-laden.”
He posted on social media platform – Facebook – on Monday that “Vice-President Bawumia will find out soon enough that there is a world of difference between ignorant and propaganda-laden shouts of corruption and proving same. Does it not embarrass him that after claiming that the previous government printed presidential diaries at a cost of $10 million, his boss has been unable to prove it 10 months into his government? Would he be kind enough to share with the Ghanaian public how much it cost to print the 2017 diaries?”
He added, “Also would he be kind enough to share with the Ghanaian public the evidence of the inflation of the cost of the Ridge Hospital as alleged by his boss? And if I may inquire, why has his Minister of Health so ignominiously embossed his name on a plaque at that hospital, if it was the product of corruption?”
A former anti-corruption advisor to then President Mahama entered the fray and described President Akufo-Addo’s anti-corruption campaign as a “big joke.”
Daniel Batidam said on Joy FM that the president did not need an Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to fight corruption, if he was indeed committed, saying, “The Special Prosecutor thing I don’t get it. If the Attorney-General (AG) has evidence she should proceed to court.
“The president is fighting galamsey (but) he didn’t set up any special body. If he wants to fight corruption he can fight it,” he said.
Mr Daniel Batidam said the president could have appointed an independent person as his AG, if he was committed to the anti-corruption fight.
A source has told DAILY GUIDE that President Akufo-Addo has instructed Attorney General Gloria Akufo and her team not to send half baked cases to court for prosecution; and the AG has also emphasized the need for a thorough investigation in order to build solid dockets.
“Some of these issues are very complex and you need crack investigators to make a breakthrough. The evidences are being gathered and we shall definitely get to court to start some of these cases. The president as an astute lawyer, believes in the rule of law and would not want his administration to be associated with any form of miscarriage of justice,” the source hinted.