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CHRAJ and Transparency Must Investigate This!

Wed, 7 Sep 2011 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I know there is choice meat to this story; and it is one which, if allowed to be properly investigated, could readily give away the dirty electoral game plan of the Mills-Mahama government in the lead-up to Election 2012. And there is absolutely no reason why this messy story ought to be treated as a purely executive matter and, in effect, the internal affairs of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The story also strikingly recalls the rancid stench of corruption in the erstwhile Limann-led People’s National Party (PNP), which was used by the then-involuntarily retired Flt.-Lt. Jerry John Rawlings to successfully shoot his way back into the seat of power.

The story was simply captioned “Huge Amount of Cash Gone Missing at Embassy” (See Ghanaweb.com 8/28/11). The embassy in question is the Ghana Embassy in the Russian capital of Moscow, captained by a Dr. Seth Koranteng who, until his diplomatic appointment, was reportedly the proprietor of a private clinic in Accra.

What is fascinating about this story, if it actually has validity, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that it does not, considering the alarming alacrity with which the Mills-Mahama administration has been contracting humongous loans over the heads of Ghanaian citizens with such dash of madness, almost as if these loans were non-repayable grant monies.

Well, the gist of the story is that Ambassador Seth Koranteng has been indiscriminately ferrying monies received from potential Russian investors in Ghana’s fledgling oil industry to Accra, unbeknownst to the slim Ghanaian electoral majority that voted the National Democratic Congress back to power in 2008.

There is also reported a flagrant and patently embarrassing instance in which Ambassador Koranteng, allegedly, dropped his brief case in full view of his LukOil benefactors who got staggered by the whopping amount of unspecified currency notes flying out of the said brief case.

The incident needs to be investigated because it has the eerily striking markings of an international and inter-governmental Mafia-type scandal. Besides, what is at stake here is the destiny of Ghana, since in almost every one of these incidents, Dr. Seth Koranteng was alleged to have been travelling and conducting himself as his country’s chief diplomat in Moscow. The preceding is further complicated by the apparent refusal of the Ghanaian ambassador to let Russian investigators in on activities at the embassy, even as Dr. Koranteng is reported to have personally and unilaterally contacted Russian security officers over an alleged case of theft detected under his watch at the very same embassy!

Somehow, we think we know the identity of the fat cat that has been chewing off the heads of the mice secreted in the coffers of Ghana’s embassy in Moscow.

We are also shockingly apprised of the quite NDC-like story involving Mr. Abdul-Bassit Rashid Inusah, First Secretary of Ghana’s Embassy in Moscow, who allegedly used another person’s passport to gain access to two separate bank accounts in the Russian capital, without the knowledge of the passport holder, whatsoever, only to have the victim dispatched to Ghana for further victimization. This latter incident clearly reeks of both a classical case of plain and abject criminality, on the part of the First Secretary, of course, and an unpardonable breach of the civil and human rights of the alleged victim, a Mr. Kingsley Ahenkorah.

In times such as these, one angrily wonders why the so-called June 4th revolution had not been postponed to this day, particularly since the very people who claimed to be fast friends with “transparency, probity and accountability” are the very same characters apparently robbing Ghanaians blind!

Then there is also the added dimension of human trafficking, with the apparently tacit complicity of embassy officials and other highly positioned diplomats. As for the lurid peccadilloes of those entrusted with upholding the moral and cultural values of what it means to be a responsible Ghanaian citizen, the least said about it the better. This is, however, not in any way intended to even obliquely imply that the ruling National Democratic Congress has an enviable record of representing the sunny side of Ghanaian ethics and citizenship. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

What is clear here is the need for independent investigators of global and non-partisan repute. And on the latter score, of course, the two organizations that readily come to mind are Ghana’s own Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Transparency International (TI). And if President John Evans Atta-Mills really answered to his much-touted reputation as an incorruptible leader, he definitely would ensure that the Russian investigators were allowed to go about their work unobstructed, especially since Ambassador Seth Koranteng is reported to have expressly and specifically lodged a theft complaint with the host country’s security agencies. No wolf-crying here, Dr. Koranteng!

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of 22 books, including “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net. ###

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame