Excuse me, Honourable Minister of Justice, why are you treating the NDC double salary MPs with kid’s gloves?

Godfred Yeboah Dame   AGMJ Attorney General, Godfred Dame

Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Source: Kwaku Badu

It is nearly two years since the sensational vineyard news spiralled through that some NDC Members of Parliament have allegedly grabbed double salaries.

Regrettably, however, as I write, nothing meaningful has been done towards bringing the suspects to book.

It would thus appear that the alleged suspects are hiding behind the dowdy and largely unjust parliamentary privileges and concessions.

Much as the parliamentarians privileges and concessions are grounded in the Constitution of Ghana, it would be somewhat sophistic for any person or group of persons to contend that the parliamentarians immunity from arrest and issue of summons without the Speaker of Parliament’s prior knowledge and permission is not dowdy and ridiculous in the fight against corruption in the 21st century.

After all, we are all equal before the law. Yes, no one is above the law, so why must a section of the society have some kind of immunity in the justice delivery?

I must confess that I had mixed feelings when I read some time ago that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service had submitted the dockets on the investigations of the double salary grabbing NDC Members of Parliament to the Attorney General’s Office for advice.

In fact, my ambivalence stemmed from the fact that Ghana’s justice system tends to clamp down heavily on the goat, cassava, and plantain thieves, and more often than not, let go of the impenitent criminals who hide behind the narrow political colorations.

To be quite honest, it is quite nauseating to see some public officials who prefer to be called honourable behaving somewhat dishonourably.

Truly, Ghanaian politics has become a scorned profession, not a noble profession it used to be.

Suffice it to stress that it takes good people—good citizens and leaders to build a prosperous nation. Yet a lot of good people would never go into politics. They dislike the toxic levels of partisanship. They hate the intrusive media scrutiny and they won’t pay the high personal costs of political life.

Once upon a time, anyone who gained a seat in parliament was looked up to and respected by all. Alas, this is not the case anymore.

Our Members of Parliament must earn the honourable prefix/suffix by living exemplary lives, and desist from desecrating our honourable parliament.

How can honourable Members of Parliament knowingly keep double salaries to the detriment of the poor and the disadvantaged Ghanaians?

It beggars belief that individuals could form an alliance, create, loot, and share gargantuan sums of money belonging to the state and would eventually slip through the justice net.

For arguments sake, if the law can excuse a suspected double salary grabbing Member of Parliament from prosecution, the law might as well make room for the equally important contributors such as farmers, teachers, and doctors among others.

Why must we allow a section of the population to perpetrate criminalities and then hide behind the law?

I have always maintained that if we are ever prepared to beseech the fantastically corrupt public officials to only return their loots without any further punishment, we might as well treat the goat, plantain, and cassava thieves the same. For after all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

I am afraid, the democratic country called Ghana may not see any meaningful development, so long as we have public officials who are extremely greedy, corrupt, and insensitive to the plight of the impoverished Ghanaians.

It may sound somewhat hackneyed in the ears of some observers, but the fact remains that we began life with the likes of South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore, and, look at where they are today.

They are diligently making cars, Mobile phones, electronics, good roads, and good housing. And, they have put in place pragmatic policies and programmes to developed their respective countries and just look at where we are today.

Disappointingly, however, we now go to those countries we started life with, and beg for donations, or borrow money--do you recall the STX housing deal which was unsuccessfully pursued by Mills/Mahama administration, and yet cost us a staggering $300 million? I weep for my beloved Ghana.

Obviously, we need a true leadership with vision and ideas, altruistic and charismatic leadership devoid of corruption, greed, Incompetence and capable of transforming us into an industrialized and robust economy.

It is absolutely true that the unresolved cases of political criminals' unscrupulous activities often leave concerned Ghanaians with a gleam of bewilderment.

Indeed, when it comes to the prosecutions of the political criminals, we are often made to believe: “the wheels of justice turn slowly, but it will grind exceedingly fine.”

And yet we can disappointingly recount a lot of unresolved alleged criminal cases involving political personalities and other public servants.

Where is the fairness when the political thieves could shamefully dip their hands into the national purse as if there is no tomorrow and go scot-free, while the goat, cassava, and plantain thieves are incarcerated?

I have always insisted that there is no deterrence for political criminals. For, if that was not the case, how come political criminals more often than not, go through the justice net, despite unobjectionable evidence of wrongdoing?

We hereby plead with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice that the law is not a respecter of persons, and therefore the alleged double salary NDC Members of Parliament must be investigated thoroughly and prosecute those who are found culpable of wrongdoing.

After all, the right antidote to curbing the unbridled sleazes and corruption is through stiff punishments, including the retrieval of all stolen monies, sale of properties, and harsh prison sentences.

Columnist: Kwaku Badu