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23.07.2009 Editorial

Prosecute this DCE if…

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The former Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Begyina Sekyi Hughes was recently subjected to media vilifications when a newspaper broke the story that he took away items illegally from the Speaker's bungalow upon his retirement from office. Though the former Speaker argued that he took those items legally because it formed part of his retirement package, this claim was, however, denied by the Parliamentary Service Board, which insisted that he returns the items.

Though he obliged and voluntarily returned the items, a section of the public, especially his political opponents, are still calling for his prosecution for 'stealing' state property.

The Attorney General, who has power under the 1992 constitution to initiate all criminal proceedings in court has so far not come out to state her position on the call for prosecution of Mr. Sekyi Hughes.

Considering the hue and cry that the case under reference generated in the country, one would have expected that public office holders would learn some lessons from it, but it appears that this is not the case.

A report carried by the Daily Graphic yesterday, quoted the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Sekyere South in Ashanti region, Edward Kusi Ayarkwa, as saying that his predecessor, Ben Abankwa took all the official items from his bungalow when leaving office.

The paper did not seek the view of the former DCE over the allegation, therefore, we presume that it might be a false allegation, but if it turns out that there is some merit in it, then The Chronicle would be very surprised about the conduct of the former DCE. If Mr. Abankwa was in the country when the Rtd. Hon. Sekyi Hughes' issue broke and the trauma that he went through when he took state property from his bungalow home. Therefore, for the former DCE to have repeated the same mistake is most unfortunate.

We do not want to believe that Mr. Abankwa cannot afford to buy bed sheets, kitchen knife and other petty items that he allegedly took away from his official residence.

We only hope that the former DCE would come out to clear his name, failing which it would be interpreted to mean that he is guilty of the charges. However, if the accusations turn out to be true, then we would not hesitate to call for his prosecution.

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