Delivering a speech at the National Dialogue on Small Scale Mining on Wednesday, the President said although he is determined to enforce the laws on individuals who are caught engaging in ‘Galamsey’ he will not activate them based on mere allegations.
The President remarked “I am determined to enforce the laws on illegal mining no matter the subject, high or low. I will, however, not act on hearsay or mere allegations without more. I will not hesitate to act though where the evidence is hard before the police.
“And I will do so irrespective of the standing of the person or persons involved. That is the true meaning of equality before the law,” he stressed.
No one is saying that the President should convict persons based on hearsay or lack of evidence. In any case the President does not have the power to convict any person in Ghana – only the Court does. However, this demonstrates the seemingly lack of interest by President Akufo Addo to crack down the whip on corruption in his Administration. This also goes contrary to the promise by then Candidate Akufo Addo to tackle corruption in his Administration.
During the 2012 general elections, then Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo Addo, indicated his readiness to differently fight corruption through, among other things, the introduction of the Anas principle, the mode of investigation used by one of Africa’s ace investigative journalists, Anas Aremeyaw to create a new culture of fear for corrupt practices. He said the Principle will infest the disciples of corruption with fear and paranoia in that you may never know that the person you are giving the bribe to or receiving it from may be an undercover agent.
In spite of the above comments, the President has done little to tackle the menace since taking office in January 2017, considering the many corruption scandals in the past four years.
It is no wonder co-founder and immediate past Executive Director of Afrobarometer, Prof. Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi in an interview on The Point of View on Citi TV questioned President Akufo-Addo’s commitment to fighting corruption, highlighting recent developments including the sacking of former Auditor General, Mr. Daniel Yaw Domelevo, off his duties as exposing the President’s lack of credibility in fighting corruption.
Mr. Gyimah-Boadi stated “As for the President’s credibility in terms of anti-corruption, I am afraid to say it is in tatters. It has been in tatters for a while but this puts a nail in the coffin. I see Domelevo as a victim of well-orchestrated actions by individuals who are [government] officials and by state institutions,” he said. This is also reaffirmed by ex-Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, who described the President as the mother serpent of corruption.
It is therefore not surprising that up to date practically no sanctions nor sanctions have been meted out to Western Regional Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and former Secretary of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, Charles Bissue, for his role in the galamsey fraud documentary despite corruption allegations claims against him by same Anas Aremayaw Anas, whose principle the President promised to adopt.
Indeed, this failure is clearly admitted and confirmed by virtue of the fact that the President failed to reappoint the former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Frimpong Boateng, whilst taking no action or calling for investigations on the 500 missing excavators saga.
In speaking at the 2nd Aliu Mahama Memorial Lectures on December 9, 2014 on the theme “One Ghana: Securing Our Future”, then Candidate Akufo Addo made the following remarks regarding Corruption and his intended approach in fighting against the menace – “If we are to succeed in securing our future, we must succeed in securing the public purse.
Governments are elected to offer creative solutions to the problems that face a country. Corruption, or to call it by the name that we all understand, the naked theft of public funds, will destroy Ghana and her future if we do not take a firm stand against it. Corruption is undermining confidence in our governance system and that is dangerous for all of us”. However today under President Akufo Addo, corruption is destroying Ghana and her future.
Also, in speaking at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology on the theme ‘Why Ghana Cannot Afford Corruption’ on October 3, 2012, then Candidate Akufo Addo made the following remarks “Improving the scale of integrity in society is an unwritten mandate of every government, but fighting corruption is a constitutional imperative imposed on the State, headed by the President and government. Indeed, Article 35(8) of the constitution of our Republic enjoins the state to ‘take steps to eradicate corrupt practices and the abuse of power’. With your help, I want to be the President who fixes the problem of corruption in our country”. However with our help, President Akufo Addo has rather worsened the canker and problem of corruption in Ghana.
It therefore came as no surprise that between 2017 and 2020, Ghana obtained an average score of 41.25 following scores of 40 for 2017, 41 for 2018, on the Corruption Perception Index as compared to an average score of 46 between 2013 and 2016. The 2020 report released by Transparency International saw the country score 43 points out of a possible 100, a two-point increase from 2019’s 41 points. This is compared to the 2016 CPI score of 43, 47 for 2015, 48 for 2014, 46 for 2013, and 45 for 2012. This shows that the NPP’s best score of 43 on the CPI is equivalent to the NDC’s worst score of 43.
This is the worst period in the history of the fourth Republic in the fight against corruption, with the Special Prosecutor resigning from office, and the Auditor General having been kicked out of office. The state of corruption in Ghana today is also manifested in the 2019 Auditor General Report, which reports that unaccounted funds from 2017 to 2019 for Public Boards, Corporations, and other Statutory Institutions amounted to GHS20 billion.
Also, various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) could not account for GHS50.4 million from 2017 to 2019, with these irregularities occurring under a President that promised to protect the public purse.
As Deputy Ranking Member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament, I call on the President to be proactive and put in place all the measures indicated in opposition to deal with corruption. I further call on the President to instead of fighting anti-corruption institutions such as the Auditor general in the performance of his duty, desist from interfering from the use of security apparatus such as the police service and EOCO from intimidating independent journalists who seek to expose corruption in the performance of their work. The fight against corruption must also move from slogans – The fight against corruption must start now.
The writer, Hon. Francis-Xavier Sosu is a private legal practitioner, a human rights lawyer, Member of Parliament for Madina Constituency, and Deputy Ranking Member on the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament.