Civil Society organizations in the country have roundly slammed the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) for suspending its Eastern regional Director, Fred Dzeny, over his comments on corruption.Mr. Dzeny in an interview with Starr News said government must have the political will to prosecute corrupt officials within its government before prosecuting others in the opposition.
“The ruling government should be ready first and foremost to prosecute their own when the slightest incident of corruption is raised against the ruling government then they can also get the guts to prosecute the opposition.”
“When you look at the corruption cases in Ghana, it is not just people who are in government that are corrupt, the public servants, civil servants they are all corrupt. When you look at it, it is the Chief Directors who prepare contract documents and other things so if we are blaming the Politicians, it is not right, it is the public servants generally,” Mr. Dzeny added.
The Eastern regional Boss of EOCO also appealed to Government to resource the anti-corruption institutions to be able to execute their mandates satisfactorily. He bemoaned the Challenges facing EOCO adding that it is inhibiting it to the fight against corruption.
But a statement by EOCO on Monday stated that the conduct of Mr. Dzeny is “against the ethical and professional standards of the Office. He has therefore been suspended and the matter referred to the appropriate unit for investigation.”
Speaking on Morning Starr Tuesday, the Director for Advocacy and Policy Engagement, Dr. Kojo Pampuni Asante stated that the suspension is shocking and very disturbing.
According to him, it smacks of intolerance on the part government and an attempt to gag people from criticising the government.
“Suspending the EOCO Boss sends a wrong signal. The suspension should be lifted. I was really disappointed by this action…when you create an impression that people cannot comment on corruption because it will make some people uncomfortable, then we have a challenge and thus sends a wrong signal,” Dr. Asante told host Francis Abban.
Dr. Asante added that “the statement from the Regional Director is a positive one and I don’t think suspension is the way to go…the suspension doesn’t look good on government.”
Mary Addah, the Progress Manager at the Ghana Integrity Initiative also described the suspension as disturbing and a very strange decision.
She called on EOCO authorities to immediately lift the suspension.
“I am confused as to why somebody will be suspended because of what they have said…it beats me that anybody in any institution will try to stifle that right enshrined in Chapter 5 of our constitution. People can express their views…the provision under Chapter 5 in our constitution should be allowed to work.”