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Opinions Sun, 22 Jul 2012

Ghanaians are not interested in Jargons

, Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu!

What we are interested in is to get back our moneys fraudulently paid to undeserving companies and individuals. The Public Accounts Committee of parliament is neither an avenue for political contest nor an arena for showcasing one’s linguistic abilities. As a fact-finding committee, its core mandate is to ensure that the public’s purse is prudently and judiciously managed by those who have been entrusted and honoured with responsibility by the State. They are constitutionally mandated to grill persons whose actions and inactions have financial implications on the nation’s financial health.

This is what Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu—a former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, and later the Minister of Education—who was forced to resign from President Mills’ government as a result of her authorization for the payments of questionable judgment debts and settlement claims should understand. The taxpayer is not interested in her understanding of legal concepts and jargons, what we are interested in is for her to convincingly explain to us why in spite of her legal brains, she authorized payments to persons who didn’t have valid contracts with the State. The taxpayer would want to know the extent to which their contributions towards the development of the country were judiciously safeguarded during her stewardship as the Attorney General and Minister for Justice. Simple!

Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu should also fathom that basic knowledge is different from applied knowledge. Smart persons in society are not evaluated per their understanding of concepts, theories, principles, and laws; but rather their ability to translate those concepts and principles in solving practical problems. In other words, the application of acquired or gained knowledge in affecting behaviour and society is a distinctive mark of excellence. I don’t think she was appointed by the president to display her abilities in the English language, but most importantly to solve problems in her assigned ministry.

We expected her to use her comprehension of the law to inure to the benefit of the State. As the principal legal advisor to the president, we were expecting her to religiously and aggressively defend the scanty resources of the nation. But, despite her overrated understanding of her trade, she failed the nation when the nation needed her most to safeguard the interests of the citizenry. As a matter of fact, during her tenure as the Attorney General, doubtful judgment debts and settlement claims were paid. And the citizenry is irked by her proven incompetence as a legal practitioner. Instead of questioning the credibility of the members on the committee, she should as well question her conscience about her own intellectual faculties, especially as an applied lawyer.

In fact, the posturing of Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu at the Public Accounts Committee has been disgusting and unfortunate to say the least. If she does not know, the eccentric behavior she has exhibited so far at the hearings shows her utter disrespect for members on the committee, as well as the public whose interest is the reason why she has been invited by the committee. For me, her incessant and persistent attacks on the persons of the honourable committee members, especially the opposition is a calculated design to sway the attention of the public from the real issues that the citizenry is seeking and demanding answers. If you could remember, the current Attorney General and Minister for Justice—Dr. Benjamin Kumbour, whose credibility has been questioned for faking an assassination attempt on himself, put up a similar posturing when he was invited by the committee to answer some questions from his ministry. This shows that their unacceptable behaviour at the committee could be deliberate in order to conceal the negative consequences of their actions and inactions.

In concluding, it will not be in the interest of Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu to create the impression that she is being hounded or will not be given a fair hearing. Instead of her glaring exhibition of disdain towards the committee, she needs to accord them respect and dignity. She should not use suspicion and aggression as a smokescreen to run away from the assessment of her stewardship. Mrs. Iddrisu, the citizenry is not interested in your legal jargons, what we are interested in is an explanation about payments you authorized for companies who didn’t have recourse to them. You need to manifest humility and remorse in your behaviour in your next encounter with the committee. You owe it to the people! God bless Ghana!

Source: Kingsley Nyarko, Psychologist, Accra (kingsleynyarko73@yahoo.com)

Columnist: Nyarko, Kingsley