Fri, 24 Oct 2008 Feature Article

Both armed robbers and ``pen robbers`` must be brought to book

Both armed robbers and pen robbers must be brought to book

No one will doubt the fact that armed robbery cases in the country are on the ascendency. Today, many people in our big cities and towns are in perpetual fear and fright because of armed robbers. Becoming rich is now a crime! It seems almost certain that armed robbers are ready to pounce on anyone they perceive to be rich. They rob their victims of their hard won earnings and properties within few minutes. At times, the fear they put into their victims by pointing guns at them is enough to leave their victims' half-dead. They inflict wounds, injuries and pains on their victims with guns and other sharp instruments like knives, machetes, axes etc. Besides, some armed robbers rape and defile women in the course of their operations, leaving some of them pregnant, as others are infected with HIV/AIDS and other STDs. Those who retaliate or raise alarm often times are murdered in cold blood. Currently, many people are in hospitals while others cannot get back to their businesses because of the serious injuries they have sustained from armed robbers. In most cases, victims of armed robberies tend to be prominent people of this nation, as well as bread-winners of various families. Many victims of robberies could not live to fulfil their destinies and as a result their spouses, children and their entire families may be suffering untold hardships now. It is against this backdrop that the police must be commended for their effort to make Ghana an armed robbery free nation.

However, equally dangerous people who need to be dealt with are “pen robbers”. “Pen robbers” are those who, instead of guns and other dangerous weapons, use more dangerous and sophisticated weapon – pen to steal or rob not only individuals, but a whole nation. These people do not usually rob only in the night, but in broad day light, wearing suits and ties or fine dresses with their weapon (pen) in their pockets or in their hand bags if they are women “pen robbers”. These “pen robbers” do not lay arm bush or rob their victims in the scorching sun, instead they rob in air conditioned offices by mere changing of figures with a pen or a computer. “Pen robbers” have robbed the nation, institutions and individuals of huge sums of monies over the years. And as a result of their actions, many people are still in abject poverty while others cannot even get a square meal a day. Moreover, a lot of children, women and men have died without having their fair share of the national cake. Today, most of our roads are not in good condition, most health facilitates are not complete, people do not get potable water to drink, cases are pending in the law courts, school children cannot get places to study, government cannot pay its debts, market women do not have shelter, some workers' back pay and allowances have not been paid and many other unfortunate circumstances are being experienced in the nation as a result of the actions of the “pen robbers”.

The time has now come for all Ghanaians to be aware of these quislings or traitors since we are on the path of prosperity even as we have struck oil in commercial quantities. We must expose the work of these “pen robbers” and bring them to book. They must be made to face the full rigours of the law just like the armed robbers. If not, some of these people whose offices would be linked to the oil found will continue to rob the nation, such that we may not benefit much from the oil's money as we have anticipated. For instance, it is alleged that over US$ 4 billion of oil revenue was missing from Angola's national accounts between 1998 and 2004, while in Nigeria, about US$ 68 billion was stolen between 1972 and 1989 alone.

It is against this background that institutions concerned such as the police, CHRAG, Auditor General's Department, Serious Fraud Office, BNI, National Procurement Authority etc. must be alert to fish out all “pen robbers” so as to make Ghana, not only armed robbery free, but also “pen robbery” free nation, that all of us can be proud of and live without the fear of tomorrow due to the activities of armed robbers and “pen robbers”.