President Akufo-Addo has stated that, so far, every single act of alleged corruption labelled against some members of his administration has been or is in the process of being investigated by independent bodies, and the findings so far made public.
According to him, from the allegations against the Minister for Energy-designate at his parliamentary confirmation hearings; to that against the CEO of BOST; to those against the two deputy Chiefs of Staff; to the claims of extortion against the Trade Minister; and to those against the Minister for Special Development Initiatives; all of these have been investigated and no evidence has been adduced to suggest mildly the perpetration of any act of corruption.
“However, some people appear determined to stick to their politically-motivated view that there has been corruption. This surely is not a helpful stance,” the President said.
President Akufo-Addo noted that in his first year of office, two separate bi-partisan probes in Parliament have been established to inquire into allegations of corruption, as against zero in the Mahama years, despite the persistent calls by the then Minority.
“I have a greater interest in my appointees not being corrupt than any critic could possibly have. Try me. Produce the evidence to back the allegation, and see what the reaction will be,” he said.
The President continued, “But, I think it is also worth pointing out that we should be careful about the new trend that appears to be emerging, whereby any allegation, no matter how spurious, quickly gains the character of a ‘scandal’ or ‘an act of corruption’, even when it is shot down.”
President Akufo-Addo reiterated that, “I have made it publicly known that anyone, who has information about acts of corruption against any of my appointees, should bring it forward, and should be prepared to back it up with evidence.”
On the nomination of Mr. Martin Amidu to serve as Special Prosecutor, the President acknowledged the general sense of anxiety in the country and the strong feeling that politicians tend to get away with corrupt practices.
“A significant choice, though, that Mr Amidu is, I do not expect that he will provide all the answers for dealing with the phenomenon of corruption by public officials, but I do believe that, at the least, the Office will help remove the fear of partisan prosecution, and begin to put the fear of God in all public officials who are intending to go down the path of corruption,” he said.
The President restated that “current office holders are as likely to be investigated and prosecuted by the Special Prosecutor, if a case is made out against them, as past office holders. At all times, the rule of law must be adhered to.”
Fight against vigilantism
President Akufo-Addo did not omit from his accounting “the disgraceful behaviour of some members of my party, the NPP, which has been described as vigilantism.”
He stated that “there is no longer any argument that criminal behavior wears no political colours, and is solely to be dealt with by the police. I pray that we have seen the last of it. We are continuously working to ensure that it does not recur, that we uphold the rule of law.”