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STATESMAN OPINION: GIVE US BACK THE CASH YOU STOLE AND LET US BUILD OUR NATION

General News

Last Friday, the Special Prosecutor had cause to smile. Before that, Mr Martin Amidu had griped – and righteously – over the delay in resourcing his office.

Last Friday, the Special Prosecutor had cause to smile. Before that, Mr Martin Amidu had griped – and righteously – over the delay in resourcing his office.

 

Minister for Finance Ken Ofori-Atta, delivering the 2019 Budget of Hope and Growth, allocated substantial cash to the new prosecutor’s department. He also gave the assurance of more over the next couple of years as the Office of the Special Prosecutor gathers and catalogues evidence of plunder of initiatives targeted at every segment of our national economic life.

 

Who to start with

 

While we believe that the Special Prosecutor would ordinarily want to begin tackling the politicians first, we still want to believe that among those tackled from the top will be, for instance, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, as well as the technocrats alleged to have facilitated his illegal access to a gargantuan sum of public cash.

Then we could haul in to court the greedy MPs, ministers and presidential staffers who have been named in all sorts of scandals, including the controversial Brazil 2014 World Cup trip, in which cash was carried on to aeroplanes in jute bags so that footballers, sports officials and public-sector senior staff and celebrities could be paid manually, instead of electronically.

We also believe the public will be satisfied to see those ministers who took double salaries being investigated and prosecuted ruthlessly but fairly – all in an effort to serve notice on officeholders and the public alike that it is a crime to dip your hand into the public purse.

 

Judge’s gavel

 

As a people, we have had cause to complain when certain issues are raised ‒ about some communities in the three northern regions, say ‒ where we find children without school uniforms lying on the floor on their belly to write in school books, or reciting back notes after prompting by equally poorly motivated teachers.

View the problem through the profligacy of the thieving politburo and technocrat, and it becomes clear that the sensible thing to do is bring down the judge’s gavel swiftly – especially in cases where the huge wads of cash stolen could add significantly to reducing the number of schools under trees, or to funding state-run schools in the Free Senior High School system, which could do greatly just now with an infrastructure boost.

As has become evident, Thursday’s Budget heralds the most ambitious single economic programme Ghana has ever watched unfold. Under the plan announced, the needs of all sectors of the economy and segments of society will be addressed comprehensively within just a couple of years.

 

Our money

 

In the opinion of the Daily Statesman, the Minister for Finance can indeed deliver on these promises of hope and growth effectively, and not only by rolling out the programmes outlined in the Budget, but also by ensuring that, in recovering our lost cash, no sacred cows are tolerated, as the Minister said.

That is the only way to sustain the vision of transformation and industrialisation we have chosen. And we must find every single last coin that Ghana owns ‒ including the stolen pieces ‒ in order to do it.