Mahama Blasts Kufuor
Keeping perceptions of corruption in the head as declared by President John Agyekum Kufuor at his recent press conference has again provoked the thoughts of sections of the opposition leaders who accuse him of not having the zeal to fight corruption.
The latest to join the fray and launch such attack on the president was the Communications Director of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and a Member of Parliament for Bole Bamboi, John Dramani Mahama.
According to him, it was untenable for the president to dare people to keep their perceptions of corruption in the head instead of instituting actions to prove such allegations.
“I disagree with the president in saying that if you don't have the proof, keep your perceptions in your head. This makes us get the feeling that he is not committed in fighting corruption because there are many instances where evidence has been provided, but the president says there is no corruption,” he said.
Buttressing his assertions, the NDC's mouthpiece cited the Mfantsiman District as an example and alleged that a man awarded a contract to himself and that in the process of executing the contract; the building collapsed and killed two people, adding that the evidence was there but was quick to say, the man was 'just asked to go home.'
The Bole Bamboi legislator disclosed to the Chronicle when it sought his views on the president's challenge.
“Even in cases where evidence has been provided, there has been the lack of willingness to act and so I don't think that he helped the fight against corruption when he made statements like that. Once he makes statements like that, he makes the work even more dangerous for the media men,” he said.
Responding to the government's move by asking some officials who were alleged to have misconducted themselves in one way or the other to step aside to pave way for in-depth investigations into the allegations leveled against them, the soft but gentle former Minister of Communications averred that, “Interdiction was the first step. The point that you interdict the person does not mean you have fought corruption. After you have interdicted the person, you must go ahead to investigate the matter and prosecute if necessary”.
He continued, “We don't allow perceptions of corruption to hang without being investigated. If we pursue every allegation and we investigate it and we say in this matter, this man did nothing wrong and then the person has got his reputation back but in this matter, this man has done something wrong and we think that the sanction we must impose is to sack him from his post, that is a sanction, but when we think what he did was so grievous that we must prosecute, that is another step in sanctioning.”
Admitting that it was very difficult to measure the reality of corruption, Mr Mahama said the best way to check corruption was to track the perceptions of corruption and use the perceptions to aggregate what the incidence of corruption, which he claimed was.
“When the president says that if you don't have the proof, then keep your perceptions in your head, it shows a president who is not willing at all to fight the incidence of corruption. I mean that is the impression I get,” he said.
The Bole-Bamboi MP who cited some African countries that were committed to fighting corruption said, “If you go to South Africa, on most of their police cars, they have anti-corruption hotlines and they give a number. When I asked what is this thing, they told me if you have any allegation of corruption, you call that hotline and you are required to give your name or they would not even insist that you give your name. They only ask the particulars of what you are alleging and they will take those particulars and check if it is true that there is really corruption there.
“This is a nation that is serious about corruption but when a president says if you have allegations of corruption go and find the evidence and bring out the evidence before we act, then what is the use of the agencies that were set up to deal with corruption,” he said.