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23.05.2005 Feature Article

Ideological Civil War: The President’s Son, White Collar Crimes And Armed Robbery!

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IDEOLOGICAL CIVIL WAR: The opening rhetorical salvo this morning is: Can our democracy survive in the face of the elite's connivance, facilitation and encouragement of white collar crimes - which are driven more by the depravity called greed currently manifesting itself in public life?

The elite class is building a culture dominated by the power of fear, selfishness, boundless greed and above blatant official corruption. No wonder there is presently raging on in the country an ideological civil war between those who truly want our democracy to be built on solid grounds by adhering strictly to probity, accountability, transparency and sunshine and those who want to hide behind the veil of democracy while secretly and fraudulently amassing wealth. This later group is boldly telling us that white collar crimes pay. And, they have the impudence to tell us not to question how they and their cronies (including the president's son) make their money while in power. Helloooo!! Is there something called transparency in government where the relatives of our elected and appointed public officials become instant dollar millionaires? For the integrity of the system, are we not entitled to know how, for example, the president's son is owner or part owner of a hotel when he couldn't afford same before his father came to power? Isn't politics all about substance and perception? Like the biblical pharisees, these individuals throw in our faces their phony notions of democracy, freedom, justice, transparency and national stability. These grand hypocrites and nation wreckers erroneously think that they can build political stability in the country by proclaiming their profound love for democratic processes while at the same time back stabbing these same cherished processes. How can they be for democracy and against it at the same time? Indeed, tragically conflicted human beings who just cannot deal with the financial demons within them! SERIAL APOLOGISTS: There is something definitely venal and annoying about the way some of the present administration's shameless apologists are going about the intense debate on official corruption and white collar crimes under this government. They keep coming up with the most absurd kind of reasons as to why corruption has become an integral part of our national life especially among the ruling class. For example, Kwabena Agyapong, (one of the serial apologists) echoing the president's absurd philosophy on corruption, wants us to embrace the depressing idea that “our forebears bequeath to us a government of men who are not angels or people who would not make mistakes”. Ladies and gentlemen, this twisted, self-serving philosophy anchors the government's absolute tolerance of corruption in our country. In plain, native language, this is the government's way of telling the rest of us to go to hell notwithstanding the elite class's brazen career of breaking the law with impunity by stuffing their pockets and bank accounts with dirty money. That further throws more light on why individuals like Bamba, Edumanze, I.C. Quaye, Anane and many more have never been investigated!

This government's tolerance of corruption should clearly tell us why they do not want to declare their assets and financial liabilities notwithstanding the clear constitutional mandate (Article 286) and make the same open for the public's consumption and scrutiny. In fact, if they are what they want us to believe - “self-made” men and women - what in the world is stopping them from doing that which the law enjoins them to do - declaring their assets and financial liabilities? And, yes these are the same individuals who call themselves “democrats”. What do they really take the country for? Whew! We are in deeper trouble as a nation than we care to admit!

What individuals like Kwabena Agyapong must know is that our criminal justice system does not punish Ghanaians for making genuine mistakes because the law fully recognizes that “human beings are not angels”. What is at stake here is that under this government the thin line between incompetence and economic corruption has become nonexistent and that is clearly undermining the nation's commitment to democracy - all because of the government's greed and senseless love for white collar crimes and official corruption.

We have said time and time again that tearing at the heart of our country's development is the dazzling corruption of some of our political leaders. Predictably, they are doing everything in their political power to undercut one of only two things that is pushing them in the right direction. We are here talking about Section 179(A) and 179 (C) of our criminal code, Act 29, as amended. In fact, instead of massaging this law to make it more effective and efficient, they are going about tearing it down. If it is not Sam Jonah calling for its abolition, it is receiving political assistance from Dr. Obed Asamoah - ironically the same man who was once the attorney general and a prominent member of the party which passed this great law. Their “concerns” for the effective and efficient administration of our criminal justice should not deceive any of us! They are desperately creating the illusion that the law punishes genuine mistakes and that it is stifling innovative business initiatives and therefore should be amended or abolish. Utter piffle! What we should ask ourselves is whether the criminal offence of manslaughter or even murder is stopping drivers or doctors from practising their vocation or profession. Does the criminal law forgive a driver who drives at night without any head light and thereby causes a fatal accident on the road? Or, a doctor who performs a fatal operation under the influence of “obosam tawa”? In the process of selling us these legal insults, they are frantically trying to hide their true, inimical agenda from the public. Fortunately, Ghanaians are growing wiser and wiser every day as our political system unravels. Ghanaians are beginning to understand why this government and its apologists hate the above-mentioned laws which are designed to fight white collar crimes. That is, crimes which are committed by individuals who occupy positions of trust in our public life. We should not lose sight of the fact that these are politically powerful and affluent men and women who are highly educated or have classmates from elite schools. Is it any wonder then that they continue to protect the interest of their class members to the dire detriment of the democracy they have sworn to protect and nurture to fruition? Can we now see the larger picture as to why corruption, real or imagine, is on the rise in the country? SELORMEY VRS ATA AYI: Has anybody ever heard about individuals like Obed Asamoah, Sam Jonah, Kwabena Agyapong calling for the abolition of armed robbery in Ghana? Isn't it because notorious and violent criminals like the Ata Ayis don't have classmates political friends in high places? It is to the disgrace of our political system to hear highly educated citizens turning legal principles topsy-turvy for their own political and economic ends. For emphasis, let us state here without any apologies that some of us strongly believe that nation wreckers like the Selormeys are more dangerous than the Ata Ayis of our society and until we come to accept this as an unfortunate fact of our very existence and deal ruthless with them, our democracy will continue to shake from under. In actual fact, the eminent harm the Selormeys do to our society has far-reaching consequences than the Ata Ayis. We are fulfilled in our conviction because none of the leaders of any successful or attempted coup d'etat ever offered armed robbery as even a remote reason why they intruded on our political scene! The tragic truth is that although the Selormeys do not use physically perceivable deadly weapons, their modus operandi does not make them less dangerous. For example, they create conditions for traditional violent criminals like the Ata Ayis to flourish by shortchanging our Police Service and Criminal Justice system in terms of equipments and facilities to effectively and efficiently do their jobs. By their nefarious activities, white collar criminals create grave distortions in the economy leading to unemployment, disease, poor infrastructure, death etc. etc.

Now can any fair-minded Ghanaian tell us who the true traitors of our democracy are?

As usual, we rest our case for now. WILLIAM ANTWI (BAFO) A.K.A. OYOO BUSANGA. NEW YORK. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

William Antwi
William Antwi, © 2005

The author has 22 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: WilliamAntwi

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