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By Kofi Thompson
Much controversy has been generated across the country, by the leaked Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) report, which was submitted recently to President Mahama, by the minister for youth and sports, Mr. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah.
The Hon. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, who set up the committee to investigate allegations of corruption at GYEEDA, deserves to be commended for setting up the committee to investigate alleged corruption at GYEEDA.
If, as alleged, it is true that government initiatives such as GYEEDA, meant to provide opportunities for millions of marginalised Ghanaians, was hijacked by a powerful and well-connected few, to enable them siphon off hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money, then all those found culpable in this shabby affair, must be prosecuted and jailed for those egregious crimes against Mother Ghana.
All sums of taxpayers' money stolen by them must be recovered - by the Attorney General applying to the law courts for court orders to seize their bank accounts and sell their assets if need be.
We must start making white-collar crime to rip Mother Ghana off, an unprofitable enterprise, for those who engage in it.
Contrary to what those who have latched on to the leaked GYEEDA report, to try and score political points at the present government's expense think, instead of being a disaster for the ruling regime, the GYEEDA report is rather an opportunity for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the administration of President Mahama, to renew both the party and the government - and seize the moral high ground in Ghanaian politics.
Rather than seek to protect those involved in criminal activities at GYEEDA, as is being alleged by their political opponents, President Mahama and the NDC should seize the opportunity to distance themselves from those corrupt individuals, who were given the opportunity to serve Mother Ghana, and change the lives of millions of marginalised people in Ghanaian society, by empowering them to become self-employed, but chose instead to conspire to steal public funds earmarked for that noble purpose.
If the President and his administration adopt the attitude that no matter how valuable their past contributions to the NDC might have been, at all material times, the onus was squarely on those individuals found culpable of engaging in corruption at GYEEDA, to ensure that they did not fall foul of the laws of the Republic of Ghana, in running the various GYEEDA modules, the Mahama administration will find that it will come out of the controversy surrounding the GYEEDA report, much stronger politically - and gain the trust of many ordinary people in Ghana on top of that.
Incidentally, I have been laughed at in the past, as a fool, for not personally exploiting the idea of using public funds to empower poor people in Ghana to become self-employed, by some of those who leveraged the gem of my idea to use public funds in micro-entrepreneurial initiatives, to empower young and marginalised Ghanaians, for their personal benefit.
I actually always felt sorry for those cynical and greedy individuals - as they did not seem to understand that the truly altruistic, find happiness, not in exclusively seeking their own selfish ends at the expense of the rest of society, but rather find fulfilment in helping in their own small way, to create a fairer society in which all who can and are able and willing to work, can find opportunities to escape poverty.
Hopefully, those too-clever-by-half individuals, will now finally come to see that the Kofi Thompsons of this world, are indeed not fools for nothing.
Personal integrity matters a great deal in life. On our individual deathbeds, it is not the wealth we accumulated that we will ponder over, as we look back on our lives, but how honest we were, in our dealings with others, during our lifetime. Honesty is the best policy in life - and it does actually pay in the end. But I digress.
If the administration of President Mahama thinks creatively - instead of allowing fear that the exposure of corrupt and criminal activities at GYEEDA will destroy their regime, to paralyse them, and stop them from doing what is right by ordinary Ghanaians and in the national interest - they will find that far from being a political disaster, once those implicated in the report give their side of the 'GYEEDA-story' to the P. V. Obeng committee, implementing the recommendations of the committee that investigated alleged corruption at GYEEDA, actually represents a fresh-start-opportunity for the President and the NDC. A word to the wise...
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