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03.08.2005 General News

Fighting corruption NPP-style

By Palaver
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The Saturday, July 30, 2005, Daily Graphic headline screamed, “Zero in on Corruption———Chief Justice urges media”.

In the accompanying story, the Chief Justice, Mr. Justice George Kingsley Acquah, is reported to have urged the media to intensify the crusade against corruption by continuously highlighting issues of corruption.

The Chief Justice, who was speaking at the closing ceremony of a four-day anti-corruption workshop in Accra, identified corruption practices as including bribery, hiring relatives (nepotism), giving contracts to supporters (cronyism) and abusing privileged information to buy or sell stock (insider trading), all crimes of which the NPP Government stands accused today.

The Chief Justice's call on the media is in direct contradiction to President John Agyekum Kufuor's stand on corruption. The President has consistently insisted that he will never act on newspaper allegations of corruption, saying that persons with evidence of corruption should take it to the appropriate agencies.

In his nearly five years in power, President Kufuor has not sanctioned even one NPP Minister or official. The worst that has happened to such miscreants is either to be begged to resign or for the President not to reappoint tenured officials.

The President's mantra on corruption, which is the direct opposite of the Chief Justice's, is contained in his now infamous December 2003 Cape Coast “Waa, Waa” speech in which he stated as follows:

“We are trying very hard to resist temptation but I assure you if any of us should be found to have allowed temptation to get the better of him or her, this is a government that is able to call you. We said this and we do this by the day. Of course I will not go and stand on the airwaves and say I called Mr. A, B, or C because we heard this and that. We won't do it. We do that to destroy the government that you have put in place and Ghana will not be better served by talking without a sense of responsibility and circumspection. So we try to correct ourselves and this is why we set up the accountability committee in the Castle just to put a stop, but everyday we are confronted with temptation——

Holding political office is very difficult, very tempting. Whatever it is that you want in the world would be presented to you. How not to fall for the temptation is what we are about, and this is what Ghanaians should appreciate. If it is money we want, I can assure you at least to let the temptation to get the better of us, we will make the money “Waa, Waa., But we learn to say no, hold back. That is fighting corruption. It is not easy but we are trying to do it.

It is the ancient weakness from Adam's time, being tempted with the apple at the centre of the garden. If it is that you will easily get it, but sometimes in spite of very forceful impulses in you, you just say okay, please next time, go, next time”.

So you have a Chief Justice who says the media should publish allegations of corruption and you have a President who says he will not act on media allegations of corruption.

Are we serious about fighting corruption in Ghana?

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