President J.A. Kufuor has reiterated and defended his commitment to fighting corruption in Ghana under his leadership as Ghana's Commander-in-Chief.
Before his election as the President of Ghana, Mr Kufuor decried the rate of corruption in the system, which on assumption of office touched him to declare a principle of “Zero Tolerance for Corruption” to be observed by all, under his administration.
President Kufuor told the BBC in an interview that whenever he “had sniffed corruption”, as an anti-corruption campaigner, he moved quickly to act on it.
He noted that throughout his tenure in office, he has taken decisive decisions to nip corruption in the bud.
“When I said I will suffer zero tolerance where I wouldn't stand corruption at all, I meant it.
“But when you talk of tolerance, you are assuming, you know a corrupt situation and if you do not do anything about it then you will stand accused of not living by the word. So when I say zero tolerance in my government, I will tell you anytime I had sniffed corruption, I have caused some shift…but when I sense a direction that might lead to that I quickly stunt it.”.
Asked why he showed no interest when former Vice President, Prof. Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress alleged about 15 cases of corruption against the government in 2003, President Kufuor questioned the rational behind those allegations and said the respected law lecturer cannot be taken seriously.
“Prof. Mills is not helping at all in anyway…if he has all the freedom and he just alleged in some paper - a paper that tends to be hostile to the President in any case - and then just sit back and say the President should prove the corruption or otherwise; would you take such a law professor seriously?”
President Kufuor challenged persons with any case of corruption to report to the appropriate authorities and charged them to back their claims with facts and not make mere allegations expecting the government to take action.
To buttress his stand on corruption, the President cited the prosecution and subsequent conviction of former Minister of Youth and Sports, Mallam Issah, who was incarcerated within the first year of his (Kufuor's) first term in office for misappropriating state funds.
When asked if that was not selective justice since the former Minister was not a member of his party, he replied; "That to me doesn't matter…I believe I am not that partisan to the extent that I will sacrifice a non-party person whom I have appointed. I will never do it."
President Kufuor touched on the level of corruption prevailing in the country before he took over office, describing the circumstance he met as “a challenging situation” that would have left him with no time to tackle the nation's needs if he had chosen to pursue those leads.
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah has accused the President of being economical with the truth.
“One thing that Ghanaians all agree upon including leading members of the New Patriotic Party is that the NPP has failed in their fight against corruption. The best way to solve the problem is to admit the existence of the problem first before we can think about finding a solution,” Mr. Asiedu Nketiah told Joy News.
“I consider this interview very, very unfortunate, because everything contained in there is not truthful.”
Story Isaac Essel