Feature Article of Mon, 17 Jul 20177

Captain, I couldn’t agree more with you

I struggled to give up my fury in condemnation after listening to Captain Smart’s “FABEWOSO” show on Adom FM on Monday 17th July 2017.

Captain Smart recounted how Ghana Medical stores edifice was allegedly burnt down by the suspects who were under the EOCO’s investigations in 2015.

The story is so bizarre. In fact, the crescendo of public servants misdeeds cannot be allowed to pass without commenting. The horrible nature of the crime gives credence to the cliché: “we are our own enemy.”

All the same, the all-important question is: why no one has since been brought to book?

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To those of you who do not have passing acquaintance with Captain Smart’s “FABEWOSO” show on Adom FM, the patriotic journalist and his selfless team seek to “name and shame” the greedy and corrupt public servants.

Of course, Captain Smart and his team are doing a great job. That said, in so far as the paradox of exposure is relevant in the fight against corruption, it is not an isolated tool, it rather goes hand in hand with prevention and deterrence.

The benign and somewhat lenient approach to combating the canker of corruption, which has been retrogressing Ghana’s advancement thus far, will not suffice, so to speak.

How on earth would the public servants put a stop to their criminalities when there is no stiff punishment for their unpardonable crimes?

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Unlike Ghana, in other jurisdictions, especially In the United Kingdom, where I have been living for some time now, impenitent criminals, including incompliant public officials, would find themselves in jail and end up losing their acquired wealth to the state.

In one of the numerous fraud investigations, the investigators tracked a suspect extensively, located all his properties both abroad and the United Kingdom, which led to a three year jail sentence, seizure of his assets and a staggering fine of £1.2m.

I cannot get my head around why some public officials in Ghana could commit serious crime against the state without facing any stiff punishment.

Isn’t it sad that due to some corrupt public officials criminal intent, the innocent citizens end up experiencing economic hardships, starvation, depression, emotional labour and squalor, which more often than not, send them to their early graves?

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It is against such a renewed conviction that I refuse to assent to President Obama’s observation that Africa needs strong institutions but not strong men.

To me, Obama’s observation is somewhat sophistic. Obviously, Africa needs strong institutions. However, Africa cannot do away with strong and courageous men and women in our quest to strengthen the non-performing institutions.

Let us be honest, though, without courageous and strong men and women who are ever prepared to take the bull by its horn, Africa cannot build strong institutions.

The fact of the matter is that Ghana is rich. However, we are not making any meaningful progress due to leadership paralysis.

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However, what rather makes the people elsewhere much more responsible than a Ghanaian is the rigidity of their state institutions and the effective laws and regulations.

Take, for example, elsewhere, 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.

Suffice it to point out that in as much as the citizens and denizens have a duty of obligation, it is up to the leadership to bring sanity to the system by strictly ensuring that all laws and regulations are enforced without fear or favour.

And, in so far as the greedy and corrupt public officials are persistently left off the hook, I dare state that Ghana may sink deeper and deeper into the mire.

How long can we continue to defend and shield the extremely corrupt public officials who obviously do not have the nation at heart?

Columnist: K. Badu

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