Martin Amidu should accept Akufo-Addo’s handsome gift of GHC180 million

Martin Amidu Akufoaddo Martin Amidu and president Nana Addo

Mon, 19 Nov 2018 Source: Kwaku Badu

The appointment of Mr Martin Amidu to the position of the Special Prosecutor with a mandate of investigating, prosecuting and retrieving stolen monies from greedy and corrupt public officials, is, arguably, the most crucial appointment by the executive so far.

Thus, some of us were extremely livid over the recent vineyard news which sought to suggest that Mr Amidu has not been resourced adequately by the government and therefore he will most likely quit the job.

It is against such backdrop that some of us jumped for joy when the Finance Minister announced in his 2019 budget presentation that President Akufo-Addo has decided to give a staggering GH180 million to Martin Amidu to fight the canker of corruption.

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair (H. L. Mencken).”

I have always insisted that despite the widely held notion that Ghanaian politics is full of inveterate propagandists and manipulating geezers, we have many selfless, morally upright and forward-thinking politicians like Mr Martin Amidu in our midst.

In fact, I hold a firm conviction that a fantastically corrupt public official is no less a human rights abuser than the weirdo Adolf Hitler.

This is because while the enigmatic Adolf Hitler went into a conniption-fit and barbarically exterminated innocent people with mephitic chemicals and sophisticated weapons, a contemporary corrupt public servant is blissfully bent on suffocating innocent citizens through wanton bribery and corruption.

Consequently, the innocent citizens would often end up facing untold economic hardships, starvation, depression, emotional labour and squalor which send them to their early graves.

Since the birth of Ghana’s Fourth Republic (from 1993 to present), the nation has regrettably lost billions of dollars meant for developmental projects through unbridled sleazes and corruption, and yet the methods employed by the successive governments in fighting the apparent canker have been extremely disappointing, so to speak.

It would thus appear that the political criminals have the licence to steal. Dearest reader, if that was not the case, how come the offending politicians and their accomplices often go scot free?

Elsewhere, though, the laws and regulations are strictly enforced, and as such the vast majority of the citizens and denizens prefer the observance to the stringent fines and the harsh punishments.

Corruption, as a matter of fact, impedes economic development by distorting markets and collapsing private sector integrity.

“Corruption also strikes at the heart of democracy by corroding rule of law, democratic institutions and public trust in leaders. For the poor, women and minorities, corruption means even less access to jobs, justice or any fair and equal opportunity” (UNDP 2016).

There is no denying the fact that the revoltingly cyclical corrupt practices amongst the political elites have resulted in underdevelopment, excessive public spending, less efficient tax system , needless high public deficit and destabilization of national budgets, heightened capital flight and the creation of perverse incentives that stimulate income-seeking rather than productive activities.

The fact of the matter is that Ghana’s transgressed and incompliant politicians and other public officials often get away with murder.

As a matter of fact, the traditional exemption of heads of state from prosecution despite the evidence of a case to answer is wrong, so to speak. For if the bribery and corruption; dubious judgment debt payments; stashing of national funds by some greedy opportunists and misappropriation of resources and crude embezzlement by some politicians do not warrant criminal charges, then where are we heading as a nation?

The all-important question discerning Ghanaians should be asking is: will the day come when “Ghana’s political criminals” find they have nowhere to hide?

To me, Ghana’s 1992 Constitution has to be reviewed and the irrational and inexpedient clauses such as the indemnity clause are expunged and tossed into the dust bin accordingly.

How on earth can individuals commit unpardonable crimes (gargantuan sleazes and corruptions) against the state and get away with their misdeeds?

And how serious are we as a nation when we can only descend heavily on goat, cassava and plantain thieves, and let go hard criminals who hide behind political colorations and persistently dip their hands into the national coffers?

It is for this reason that some of us are most grateful to President Akufo-Addo for showing seriousness and commitment towards the fight against corruption by establishing the Office of the Special Prosecutor with the responsibility of investigating, prosecuting and retrieving stolen monies from the corrupt public officials.

To be quite honest, some of us are of the firm conviction that the introduction of the Office of the Special Prosecutor is a pragmatic way of tackling the rampant bribery and corruption cases head-on. Indeed, it would be somewhat refreshing if the justice system descends heavily not only on goat, cassava and plantain thieves, but as well as the hardened criminals who hide behind narrow political colorations.

If you may recall, somewhere in 2010, some NDC executives and other policy makers decided to work as the agents of companies which were battling the Government of Ghana over alleged judgement debts.

Back then, the shameful NDC self-styled agents who openly fronted for those companies would carry loads of documents and hop from one radio/TV station to another in a desperate attempt to persuade discerning Ghanaians to believing their ostensive scheming guiles.

I recall vividly how one current NDC MP, who also happened to be a deputy minister in the erstwhile Mills/Mahama administration relentlessly advocated for a known Ghanaian automobile company over an alleged $1.5 billion judgement debt.

Shockingly, the said vociferous Member of Parliament contended forcefully that in 2001, the then Kufuor’s government knowingly abrogated a contract the Rawlings’s government had with the said automobile company.

The MP, whose main responsibility is to represent his constituents in the Parliament of Ghana, rather ignobly chose to represent a private company’s interest.

The clamorous Member of Parliament insisted back then that the Government of Ghana had breached the contract, and must therefore be prepared to pay the judgement debt of $1.5 billion to the said automobile company. He, however, maintained that the management of the company were willing to negotiate the claim downwards with the Government of Ghana.

Nevertheless, the whole thing turned out to be a conspiratorial plot to fleece the nation. It was indeed a dubious attempt to steal from the national purse. How pathetic?

It came to light that somewhere in 1999, the then Rawlings’s government contracted the said automobile company to import 86 Mitsubishi Galloper (popularly known as Pajero in Ghana) to be distributed to the local assemblies at the agreed cost of $17 million.

However, the 2000 edition of the Mitsubishi never arrived in Ghana until 2001, at the time the NDC government had left office.

And upon a stern inspection by the incoming NPP government, it emerged that the vehicles were not up to the required standards and specifications.

The then NPP government refused to take the delivery of the vehicles.

According to the Kufuor’s government, the supposed new vehicles were never new after all. Suffice it to state that they were slightly used before shipping to our shores.

In addition to the poor standards of the vehicles, there were no authentic documents to ascertain the actual cost of the 86 vehicles, hence the refusal by the then NPP government to accept the delivery.

Clearly, the then NDC government signed the contract without due diligence. How can the supposedly highly educated men and women put pen to paper without due diligence?

You see, dearest reader, even my mother, who had had no education whatsoever, would not put pen to paper without applying a little bit of critical thinking. In other words, my mother would prudently ask someone to read thoroughly the details of the contract before putting pen to paper.

So if the men and women who are supposed to know better but persistently put pen to paper without due diligence, then we have a long way to go as a nation.

In actual fact, there was no judgement debt to be paid to the said automobile company contrary to the wild claims by the self-styled judgement debt agents that the government was negotiating with the company to settle a reduced amount in respect of the $1.5billion initial judgement debt.

However, it was reported that the then NDC government paid a staggering amount of over GH¢8.4million to the company as judgement debt.

It was alleged that the first instalment of GH¢2.5million was paid by the NDC government to the company on 14th May 2010. While the subsequent payment of GH¢2.5million was paid on 16th July 2010. The last instalment of GH¢3.379million was paid on 2nd October the same year.

In spite of the fact that there was no such thing as judgement debt, some public officials who had sworn solemnly to defend the nation were ever prepared to testify against Ghana over a dubious judgement debt.

K. Badu, UK.


Columnist: Kwaku Badu