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Opinions Thu, 4 Oct 2012

Does Akufo-Addo Understand What Corruption Is?

By Margaret Jackson

The NPP Presidential Candidate for the December 7 election, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is indeed a desperate soul. Never in the history of this country has a politician running for office appear so desperate and with desperation being his hallmark. Because Akufo-Addo wants to taste power at whatever cost, he has not stopped making big but unattainable promises just to win votes. But lately Akufo-Addo has virtually reduced himself to selling to Ghanaians a character trait that he is not. He claims he is not corrupt, nor has he ever been one.

Akufo-Addo opened his mouth wide and claimed that he is not corrupt at the 2nd Institute of Economic Affairs Presidential Debate during which he outlined what an NPP government under his leadership would do if Ghanaians give him the governing mandate.

The NPP Flagbearer may have stated that he is not a corrupt individual to slight the ruling NDC government. But Akufo-Addo may have forgotten about his past deeds, which is far worse than being a petty thief. You may not be a thief or a corrupt person so to speak, but if you aid corrupt people or corrupt practices, you more than qualify as a corrupt person or a thief.

Let’s assume that President John Mahama had once served as Attorney General and during that period three NDC women were caught trying to smuggle narcotics out of the country. Again, let us assume that the dockets of the three narcotic women got lost under mysterious circumstances under the watch of President Mahama and up to this day he remains unfazed about it. What do you think Akufo-Addo would say during his campaign tours to restore hope to his floundering campaign if President Mahama had done that?

Would Akufo-Addo say that President Mahama behaved honorably by letting the three women go unpunished if he had ever done that? Or would Akufo-Addo say that by allowing the three narcotic women to vanish into thin air President Mahama is an accessory to corruption? Corruption, so to speak is not only about taking something or doing something illegally, but if you woefully fail to put your seal of disapproval on corrupt practices you corrupt yourself. And your case even becomes worse, when you look the other way when corrupt practices happen under your watchful eyes as the highest law enforcer of the land.

My question therefore to Akufo-Addo is, is he better than the three NPP narcotic women he let go unpunished or not? Between the three women and Akufo-Addo, who is better? Ghanaians will be the better judges on December 7.

Akufo-Addo may be naïve about what corruption is all about, otherwise, he will have looked before leaping to claim himself a saint. Ghanaians have not forgotten about another blunder or corrupt instinct which emanated from Akufo-Addo when he served as Attorney General. It is an understatement to claim that during ex-President Kufuor’s regime, he turned our beloved country into a narcotic hub with cocaine and other hard illicit drugs flowing to and from Ghana much to the angst of the International Community.

It was during that time when for the first time in the country’s history a sitting Member of Parliament for Nkoranza North, Eric Amoateng who was an NPP financier was arrested in the United States (US) on drug charges. When the disgraced Amoateng was jailed in the US, Akufo-Addo, then the Attorney General, secretly met with the NPP top brass and dubiously initiated a bill in parliament that would have enabled Ghanaians in foreign prisons to be repatriated home to serve their sentences in Ghana.

The bill which was a face saving act for Amoateng, the reputed financier of the NPP, was floated at the Parliament House by no other person than the supposed saint Akufo-Addo, who today wants Ghanaians to falsely believe that he has never ever involved himself in corruption. Was that bill a bill to aid corruption or a corrupt person? Akufo-Addo will be the best person to answer the question.

Akufo-Addo moved from the Attorney General’s portfolio and became the Foreign Minister under the Kufuor’s regime. Akufo-Addo, claims he is not corrupt and served his country honorably, but Akufo-Addo’s own relative Raymond Kwame Amankwah, who is well known in the International Community as a hard core drug baron was arrested and sentenced to a 14-year prison term at the Provisional Detention Centre at Caucaia in Brazil for drug trafficking. But according to the Daily Graphic’s front page lead story of Monday February 13, 2012, when Amankwah was arrested by the Brazilian authorities he was holding a Ghanaian Diplomatic Passport which was issued to him at the time that Akufo-Addo was Ghana’s Foreign Minister. And yet Akufo-Addo goes round to bluff that he is a clean-cut personality with no ties to corruption.

There is something that we call a pattern. When you involve yourself in the same thing or issue three or multiple times, people can conveniently conclude that they smell a pattern. Strangely enough all the three instances that I have mentioned Akufo-Addo playing key roles all involved narcotics and his role was meant to aid the people involved. Was it coincidental? Can we conclude that Akufo-Addo is deeply rooted with drug barons or will go all out to aid them if he has the means?

It may wonder Ghanaians to know that the NPP as a party does not have any plans to fight illicit drugs in the country if they make the biggest mistake of handing them power in the up-coming elections. In their so-called 2012 Manifesto, NPP has just two sentences on the Prevention of Narcotics and the illicit Drug Trade. All what you can find in that Manifesto on the Prevention of drugs is the following, “We will develop a comprehensive inter agency prevention policy aimed at preventing hard drugs from being imported into Ghana and also preventing Ghana from being used as a trans-shipment point. This policy will also target the domestic cultivation of cannabis and the processing of all forms of narcotic drugs.”

Wala, my fellow Ghanaians! This was all what Akufo-Addo could tell Ghanaians concerning the fight and prevention of illicit drugs in Ghana. If Akufo-Addo has something better to offer Ghanaians, he would have shown that zeal when he served in those two ministerial portfolios. But he could not because he lacked the qualities and the temperament to do that, which is why he even ended up aiding some drug barons to outwit the authorities. It is therefore incorrect for Akufo-Addo to say that he is not corrupt when he played those roles to aid corrupt people in his party.

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Columnist: Jackson, Margaret