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Opinions Fri, 13 Aug 2021

Welcome Kissi Agyabeng. Akufo-Addo, Ofori-Atta and Agyeman-Manu are not superior to the laws

To those (especially Akufo-Addo and Ken Ofori-Atta) losing their heads over Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, his role in the procurement of Sputnik V vaccines, and matters arising, the conversation is about fighting corruption, setting and maintaining standards. Discerning people are watching. They know why Akufo-Addo and Ken Ofori Attah are particularly concerned. If both had the opportunity of hindsight, none of them should have the temerity to be talking, but should have resigned. History has never been on their side!

First, to those so ill-informed making excuses for him [Kwaku Agyemang Manu], that he is a hardworking person, a Minister and a MP, kasa tenten ntɔ pɔnkɔ. A standard exists! In fact, as a Parliamentary Public Account Committee member, he Kwaku Agyemang Manu revived and deepened the standards with underlying remarks and statements preserved in the archives of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.

And Ghana can't suffer stunted growth by bequeathed standards of their ancestors, which were so harsh on Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah and resulting in assassination attempts, which sadly cut short his life; although history has vindicated him from any corruption during his tenure in office or at any other time. It will be an understatement to leave it here. The same standard was used on all heads of states in Ghana, except Dr KA Busia, President JA Kuffour and Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The day this comes to the notice of their promoters and supporters, Ghana will be relieved to grow in leaps and bounds.

Numerous to catalogue, but to recall recent standards, a Deputy Minister of Communications, Victoria Hammah became a casualty of a leaked tape, and accordingly resigned from office. Also, some High Court judges were sacrificed on the altar of expediency, following details in an investigative documentary that implicated them of compromising their positions in breach of their professional ethics. Following that, a total of 163 National Service workers, including the Director, were dismissed, following a tip-off leaked to the Office of the President of the Republic of Ghana, led by President John Dramani Mahama.

Former CHRAJ boss, Ms Lauretta Lamptey was processed and shown the exit, in a triggered transparent rule of law exercise. Madam Dzifa Attivor, the former Minister of Transport tendered her resignation letter following a bus branding scandal which no proof of her knowledge or involvement. Similarly, Abuga Pele, the former MP for Chiana/Paga Constituency and the former National Coordinator of the defunct Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency, together with a businessman, Philip Akpeena Assibit, were processed through the courts and jailed accordingly.

What rather has constituted a bad example for the country to adopt as a model, was what President John Agyekum Kuffour started. He caused the prosecution and jailing of former Ministers and appointees of President Flt Lt JJ Rawlings for wilfully causing financial loss to the state in the Quality Grains Company scandal, and others. However, the dramatic case which exposed the political witch hunt behind it, was when the Supreme Court was reempaneled with the late JSC Dixon Kwame Afreh as its Chief Justice.

His packing of the SC was necessitated by a humiliation suffered by the Fast-track Court, when Tsatsu Tsikata in his defence trial floored the Attorney-General, incidentally, who happened to be Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo. He contended, that the Fast-track Court was unconstitutional. Nonetheless, the political witch hunt found Mrs Henrietta Abban to sentence Tsatsu Tsikata. He refused a presidential pardon, and exonerated his guilty verdict in a ruling from the Courts of Appeal.

When President Kuffour was prevailed on to stop the witch hunt campaign targeted rather against former government functionaries of the opposition NDC, and asked to look within his government for an example for his Zero Tolerance for Corruption mantra, he went for Mallam Issah, the former Chairman of the PNC, appointed as the Minister of Youth and Sports to thank members of the opposition coalition which won Elections 2000.

Throughout his tenure, and in the midst of a plethora of scandals, some of which graphic details were uncovered in the hearing of the Douse Commission, established by the late Prof Mills to investigate possible cases of malfeasance at the Ghana @50 Secretariat, President Kuffour never made any attempt to prosecute or sanction any of his appointees or Ministers. In his state of fatherly figure and sobriety, Prof Mills, hesitated at the idea of the prosecution of some critical cases which happened under the Kuffour government. He said it could spiral into a viscious cycle of reprisals.

Indeed, after the violent military-cum-police coup d'etat on February 24, 1966, the first of its kind in the country, the country was thrown into a state of despondency. The CPP was banned. Statues of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah were taken down and demolished. His functionaries were arrested and molested. Some fled into exile, as those abroad on official duties remained in exile. The situation worsened under the Second Republic, with Dr KA Busia as the Prime Minister. This time civil and public servants were roped into the political witch hunt, which birthed what became known as Apollo 568, in remembrance of the dismissed 568 public service workers.

Mr Sallah, the late former General Manager of the defunct GNTC, a victim of Apollo 568, petitioned and won by a majority decision of the court. But PM Busia defied the court ruling, saying, "No court could enforce any decision, that sought to compel the government to employ or redeploy anyone." Similarly, when the courts ruled for the reinstatement of the dismissed Deputy Director of Ghana Immigration Services, Jones Hodare Okae, President Kuffour defied the ruling. Another victim was Kofi Portuphy, who later became the former Chairman of the NDC, after his resignation as the Director of NADMO.

When Akufo-Addo triggered the processes which speedily facilitated the removal of the former EC Chairman, Mrs Charlotte Osei and two more others from office, many suspected he was going to follow the footsteps of his former football mate and friend, Prof Mills. But he was mute over a petition for the removal of Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensah and Ken Ofori for beaches with the declaration of their assets. And the response to the petition filed calling for the dismissal of Chief Justice Anim Yeboah, in respect of the damming allegations over a US$5 m bribe raised by Akwasi Afrifa Esq, a legal practitioner based in Kumasi.

In fact, Akufo-Addo has vaguely either muttered out that he was either misled or unaware of a particular scandal or another. He has acted blindly of several of them, serious among which include the BOST "contaminated" fuel; the Kenbond transaction with Enterprise Group; implications of Charles Bissue, Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng and others in the fight over galamsey, PDS, AMERI, management of COVID-19 PANDEMIC (airport testing contract and breaches of procurement law over the import of Sputnik V vaccines, etc).
Columnist: Cadre Shmuel Ja’Mba Abm