In Saturday’s edition of Newsfile, host Samson Lardy Anyenini, together with his panellists discussed some issues that made headlines during the week.
They came, discussed and left us with information, opinions and some nuggets of wisdom.
The panellists were; Mrs Mary Awelana Addah, Programmes Manager, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Prof. Appiagyei-Atua, Lecturer, School of Law, University of Ghana, Mr Samuel Okudzeto
, North Tongu & Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament and Mr Joseph Dindiok Kpemka, former Deputy Attorney-General.
Here are 8 things we learnt from Newsfile:
- Akufo-Addo has not shown enough commitment to fighting corruption – Ghana Integrity Initiative
President Akufo- Addo has sworn to protect the public purse. This definitely includes putting measures in place to fight corruption to curb the debilitating effects of the canker on the economy. This, he has done and has been doing.
Therefore, what could possibly make the Programmes Manager of an anti-corruption organisation, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Mrs Mary Awelana Addah, say that our President has not shown enough commitment?
It is the absence of a Governing Board for the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
“Let’s be very frank and say that it is no more interesting at all. We should call a spade a spade and say that our President, even though he has promised to fight corruption has not shown that significantly per his actions when it comes to the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
I say so because the composition of the Board is such that it is institutional. And so the institutions present the list, and the list is submitted to the Presidency so that these people are sworn in to take charge of the Office
And I’m saying that the commitment is not shown by action because, if this gentleman is supposed to work, the Board should give him strategic guidance and direction.
“Again per his Act, the Board is supposed to ensure that they advise him on recruitment, particularly of certain staff.”
2. Board of OSP to be inaugurated soon – Dindiock Kpemka
Our elders say if the frog comes from underwater to tell you that the crocodile is dead, you should believe it.
So if a former Deputy Attorney-General, Joseph Dindiok Kpemka says the Governing Board of the OSP will be inaugurated soon, we can only keep our fingers crossed.
“There is undue delay, but sometimes it is done because you need to do due diligence to clear those who are supposed to be appointed to such positions, because of the sensitive nature of that particular mandate that you’re supposed to carry out as an appointee of government.
So it is better to take your time, do due diligence and appoint these people, than rush and appoint people who will have questions to answer, and then another round of debate will begin so that we’ll have an unending piece of debate amongst ourselves.
So I will say that yes, there may have been some delay in the appointments, but it is for due diligence to be conducted. And I know sooner than later, the Board will be inaugurated and this will become history. So that they can assist the Special Prosecutor to carry out his mandate,” he assured.
3. If OSP was well resourced, former PPA boss would not have amassed so much wealth – GII Programmes Manager
Mrs Mary Awelana Addah did not stop accusing the government of lack of commitment. She blamed the ability of the former Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement Authority to withdraw all monies from his frozen accounts on the lack of resources for the Office of the Special prosecutor.
“If we want to fight corruption, then we must show some seriousness. Particularly, when we know that in the past, things have not happened. T
“he gentleman [Adjenim Boateng Adjei] you mentioned we know that assets that were frozen got unfrozen and if the OSP has his own logistics to track some of these, I believe this wouldn’t have happened, and so if he says he needs an independent forensic lab, let the people of Ghana invest in this.”
“Fighting corruption is an expensive venture, but let us remember that the monies we lose yearly to corruption are so huge than what we should be investing to ensure that we do not lose those monies.
“It would be just a peanut compared to what we are losing already when we look at the monies that are being drained out of the national purse to corruption,” she added.
4. We must tackle those who want to take the nation for a ride – Mary Addah
As the way forward, Mrs Addah called for all Ghanaians to say something when they see something that looks like corruption.
“There is the need to tackle those who want to take this nation for a ride, ensuring that they enrich themselves, their cronies and then those politically exposed persons around them.
If we tackle this monster holistically, we would be making some significant inroads, but we need support from citizens. I urge all to ensure that we fight corruption by reporting and saying something when we see something going wrong.”
5. Kissi Agyebeng will take corruption fight to another level – Kpemka
Having observed with concern, the lack of confidence in the government by in his three co-panellists, Mr Kpemka felt the need to give some assurances.
According to him, the appointment of Mr Kissi Agyebeng as Special Prosecutor is in itself enough commitment to the fight on the part of government.
“Despite the criticisms and doubts expressed after the appointment of Kissi Agyebeng in 2021, his recent actions taken against corruption vindicate his ability to fight corruption in the country.
Today, by some of the moves that have been made so far, some of us feel vindicated and we think that given the support, he will take the fight against corruption to another level. I am not in any doubt at all,” he assured.
6. We are losing too much to corruption; let’s resource OSP – Okudzeto Ablakwa
When it comes to corruption, the refrain in the past has been, ‘bring the evidence. Evidence is the name of the game.’
Well, MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has some evidence.
“This country is losing too much to corruption. The haemorrhage is just too much.”
“I was invited to IMANI’s second fiscal recklessness index report launch and I want to commend them and Oxfam for financing the project. If you were in the hall at Tang Palace and listened to the presentation, you saw the numbers on how much we are losing, you will be more supportive of the effort of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.”
Over the period, from 2015 to 2020 a total of 13.9 billion cedis in financial irregularity covering stocks, procurement, cash, tax, payroll, rent and contract irregularity were recorded. Cumulatively, the total financial irregularity represents about 3.64 percent of GDP and an average of 0.52 percent of the early GDP over the analysis period.
The highest financial irregularity occurred in the period of 2018. 5.2 billion cedis represent more than a third of the overall financial irregularities of the MDAs and double the average of financial irregularities of the MDAs. 13.9 billion which is more than twice what is projected to be raised from the e-levy.
However, the Special Prosecutor needs just 1 billion to be resourced,” he bemoaned.
7. There is lack of transparency with regard to the national cathedral project – Prof. Appiagyei- Atua
The perception that corruption is gaining notoriety in the country seems to worry Prof. Appiagyei-Atua so much.
That is because he suspects that the phenomenon is being extended to the house of God-The National Cathedral. According to him, there is no transparency with regard to the National Cathedral project.
“This is part of the problem, where corruption sets in because you will have a situation where the money can be moved about in a way that we cannot account for it. I think the rule is clear and it is talking about number one, Parliament’s approval, and number two, procurement process and that has not been satisfied.
We need to look at the question of priorities and make sure we set our priorities right and if we know we cannot set them right, then it means the matter has to go to the people through their representatives in Parliament to decide.
I agree with the point that the lack of transparency being built around this whole thing and its inception doesn’t make the Cathedral to be a religious issue, it is politics,” he noted.
8. FixTheCountry Movement should not spoil their case – Okudzeto Ablakwa
#FixTheCountry Movement has introduced some innovations with regard to public protests in recent times. They can be credited with the first-ever virtual demonstration in Ghana, whose impact no one will doubt.
In the spirit of innovation, if they demand that members should be allowed to carry arms whilst demonstrating, how does it sit with a former youth activist?
“I’ve already condemned what they did. I’ve been an activist for many years as NUGS President [and the] CJA, and we never went on demonstration with arms. I think that it is good they apologised and they should demonstrate that they really are back on the path of righteousness.”
They’re raising important issues [such as] Police brutalities. As we speak, the seven people killed during the 2020 elections, no justice. I’m still at CHRAJ with Honourable Buah seeking justice.
[There was] Nkoranza, then there was Ejura, there was Tamale [and] Akatsi, these things cannot continue. So they’re raising important issues [such as] corruption [and] prioritisation. They should not spoil their case,” he advised.
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