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Justice Douse's commission is a waste of time - I told you so

Wed, 11 Aug 2010 Source: Mubarak, Ras

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In July last year, I wrote in an article that the setting up of the Justice

Douse Commission was a waste of time and the tax payers' resources. My position

has been vindicated by the recent ruling of the Accra Fast Track High Court

which "acquitted and discharged Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani

from the charges of wilfully causing financial loss to the state in their

management of the Ghana at 50 celebrations."

Below is an unedited reproduction of the article which was first published on

myjoyonline.com on 28 July, 2009.

Almost every Ghanaian can agree on the fact that those who lead us cannot

mislead us and get away with it. That is why we must support every justifiable

attempt to get to the bottom of the amount of damage and thievery that went on

in the conduct of the Ghana@50 celebrations and other public events where funds

for public projects may have been diverted for private gain.

I am however not impressed by the setting up of a commission of inquiry to probe

Kwadwo Mpiani and his team. There’s a degree of incompetence creeping in the

Attorney-General’s department. The A-G wouldn’t keep her cards closer to her

chest but would get into needless media spectacle by announcing that her outfit

is about to prosecute previous government officials suspected of causing

financial loss to the state.

First of all what is the motif for setting up a public commission of inquiry

into the activities of Ghana@50? Well, we are told it is to investigate and

report allegations of improper use of public funds and related matters.

I have no problem whatsoever with the calibre of people appointed to manage this

commission. Justice Isaac Douse, Osei Tutu Prempeh and Marrieta Brew Appiah

Oppong have impressive CVs in their respective professions and capable of

running any inquisitorial commission set up by the state to investigate

financial crime.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the President setting up a commission of

enquiry in accordance with Article 278 clause 1 of our constitution, but there’s

everything wrong with setting up a commission to probe the activities of

Ghana@50.

Government has an opportunity to cleanse away persons who are suspected of

breaching the trust of the people of Ghana, instead it is engaged in a

humiliating attempt to prosecute wrong doing and utterly oblivious to the fact

that its attempts to prosecute suspect thieves in the Kufuor regime is

embarrassing the party.

To start with, the commission is certainly not a judicial commission of enquiry;

it doesn’t have the mandate to establish civil or criminal liability and does

not have the powers to apportion blame.

Thanks to the transitional team’s report, we have a huge body of material that

could be used in instituting prosecution against persons who ripped off the

nation. It was established in the transitional report and other findings that

the Ghana@50 Secretariat owed GH¢18 million cedis to contractors. And this was

in spite of overspending on an approved budget without clearance from

parliament.

Whilst many of our sons and daughters in areas such as Nyankpala, Kpevi,

Kokrobite, Abanze, Fosu and Swalaba lacked the basic structures for a half

decent education, some of the nation’s aristocrats were basking in the glow of

luxury vehicles and provided funfair for some of their equally corrupt African

leaders.

It emerged in Edward Dua Agyemang’s interim audit report delineating evidence of

corruption at the Ghana@50 Secretariat. We now know that the secretariat led by

Wereko-Brobbey and supervised by Kwadwo Mpiani did not have internal audit

mechanism resulting in the unexplained disappearance of vehicles and property

belonging to the state.

Thanks to the hitherto untouchable Kwadwo Mpiani, who brazenly told parliament

he couldn’t be compelled to account for his stewardship as overseer of the our

50th independence activities, the nation blew $12.9million on souvenir and went

into an overdraft of GH¢40 million cedis when parliament had approved only GH¢20

million cedis for the event.

I am not going into the repulsive spending of $12.9 million on memorabilia and

the sheer arrogance of the architects of these acts of suspected economic

terrorism against hardworking Ghanaians. I am however wondering if the A-G is

suggesting to the people of Ghana that she cannot go ahead and prosecute on the

basis of available material? What would the Justice Douse commission be able to

unearth that state prosecutors cannot unearth?

The A-G’s posturing is a clear case of dereliction of duty and a show of

incapability to deal with suspected economic criminals like Mpiani and Brobbey.

If we are serious about punishing economic crime, the government would suspend

this commission of inquiry which is a total waste of everybody’s time and

institute immediately prosecution against persons suspected of causing financial

loss to the state. If we suspect Mpiani and his team of corruption, the

courtroom is the only appropriate place to invite, drag or subpoena them.

RAS MUBARAK

RAS MUBARAK

Columnist: Mubarak, Ras