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STATESMAN OPINION: CORRUPTION WAR MUST BE THOROUGH AND SUSTAINING

Politics

Ever since the nation awoke to the disturbing saga of politicians and public servant allies conniving to dupe the state – from the chilling Alfred Woyome Scandal through the rape of Merchant Bank and SSNIT to others, which are now popping up, including the COCOBOD Deal, now in court, it is emerging that, unless we develop institutional measures to prevent our national coffers from being raided, we stand the risk of waking up one morning to realize that a few politicians and their cronies have sold the nation to pirates.

Ever since the nation awoke to the disturbing saga of politicians and public servant allies conniving to dupe the state – from the chilling Alfred Woyome Scandal through the rape of Merchant Bank and SSNIT to others, which are now popping up, including the COCOBOD Deal, now in court, it is emerging that, unless we develop institutional measures to prevent our national coffers from being raided, we stand the risk of waking up one morning to realize that a few politicians and their cronies have sold the nation to pirates.

 

This is aside of the year-on, year-out reports by the Auditor-General about equally embarrassing cases of corruption, with the suspects and perpetrators still walking around, when they should be behind bars.

The levels of corruption we are seeing in Ghana is truly embarrassing, considered against the background of the internationally-recognized competence of Ghana’s Civil and Public Service personnel – from the corridors of the Ministries of Trade and Industry through the Foreign Service to Finance and Economic Planning etc.

So, we ask: What is it that creates the environment for so much waste to be perpetrated across the public and civil service spectrum, when we have Internal Auditors who are supposed to be monitoring spending officers in public institutions, including the security services and when, additionally, we have Financial Regulations Manuals that is fashioned along best practices in the world.

We at the Daily Statesman can only guess that the canker is more political than institutional, technical and moral.

From the days of Kwame Nkrumah through the military coups to our Second, Third and Fourth Republics, the recurring saga of rotten Auditor-General’s Reports have riddled our economy and social fabric, leaving us only complaining, with little hope that a day would come when the those governed and those in governance would be accountable to themselves by one standard of law and morality.

While we allow suspects and accused persons their right, we believe this saga of suspects taking the law for a ride by making all sorts of funny demands on the courts in their manner of delaying justice when the law catches up with them, like we had in the dangling Alfred Woyome case, should be checked. Without demanding that suspects or accused persons be summarily tried and dealt with, we are only insisting that we move away from the judicial regime of unnecessary delays to consistency and urgency because of the nature of the situation we have to deal with.

In a nation, where nearly all district assemblies and MDAs have been caught in some kind of corrupt deal, we cannot afford to slow down processes, when we need to signal to perpetrators that the state needs that stolen cash to support the poor that the corrupt politician and public servants have bled to drudgery.

A couple of months ago, Parliament approved the nomination of Martin Amidu for the position of Special Prosecutor to deal with this recurring canker. His nomination by the Executive and approval by the Legislature met the resounding applause of the public and civil society.

So that the buffoons and goons who stole our cash and are enjoying it do not take us bums, it is important that we put in place the processes for retrieving our cash.

We need that cash to rehabilitate schools in the countryside being ripped down by rainstorms and construct bridges in lonely farming communities in food producing areas to enable vehicles move in to bring down foodstuffs into our markets to support food security agenda.

We also need the cash to, among other obligations, continue with the Cocoa Roads Programme into which dubious monies were sunk that never tarred a metre of road.