13.10.2007 Politics


By Kwabena Mensah Obrampah
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Corruption is a subject that defies simple definition. But by and large, and for the purposes of this article, it could be defined as the willing receipt of monetary considerations for or not rendering of official duties or services in political, civil, or public office. Corruption is considered one of thecardinal sins against the people and one of the principal causes of poverty and the perpetuation of of underdevelopment especially in third world nations such as Ghana. Corruption has been the subject of numerous studies, discussions, symposia, for, you just name it, by numerous institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Amnesty International, Transparency International, Human Rights Watch, among others. In Ghana such institutions as the Ghana Integrity Initiatiative, and the Third World Network have done a lot of work on the subject.
Corruption as a social evil rests more with the political, civil and public office holders than any other segment of society. These institutions are among the prime holders and controllers of the public purse, or through whose supervision cetain vital functions of state have to be performed. It is for these reasons that politicians and the other public office holders come to mind readily with the mention of the subject of corruption. In Ghana, corruption has occupied a notorious place in our public discourse right from the days of the first republic under Osayefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah when he was so concerned that he issued his famous edict of the dawn broadcast in 1965, in which he admoninshed his ministers and party functionaries of the dangers of graft and excessive desire for worldly materialism.
At the beginning of the forth republic, former President J.J.Rawwlings was so concerned about the public perception of corruption and had to commit some of his ministers to investigation by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). As a result, four cabinet ministers in that regime lost their jobs. In 1979 at the height of the revolt of junior officers and other ranks of the Ghana Armed Forces, six senior officers among whom were two former Heads of State lost their lives through public executions because of corruption.
It was in the light of these developments that when President J.A.Kufuor declared his “ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CORRUPTION” at his inauguration on the 7th of January, 2001, the whole nation rose up in arms in his support. For once everyone thought that the fight against corruption so relentlessly and ruthlessly waged by President Rawlings would be maintained by the in-coming Kufuor regime. President Kufuor and his men did not waste any moments before starting to execute their new agenda with such a missionary zeal that everyone thought the best in the fight against corruption in Ghanaian public and political life had arrived. Little did we suspect that zero tolerance for corruption was a political ploy to unleash selective justice on leading NDC government operatives. As a result, Messrs Victor Selormey, Kwame Peprah, Ibrahim Adam, Sipah Yankey, were all to have been imprisoned under what Kufuor termed his fight against corruption in Ghana. Victor Selormey the former Deputy Finance Minster in the NDC administration was to suffer death as a result of his incarceration at the Nsawam prison.
The first major signals to indicate that Ghanaians were in for the shock of their lives came at Cape Coast in 2002 or there abouts when President Kufuor in delivering his address at the NPP's annual national congress of that year declared that :
(1) corruption could not be irradicated because it was part of human kind since it started in the days of Adam and Eve, and that it was as old as creation itself.
(2) That many people had attempted to bribe him with loads of money but he had asked them to hold on and come later because the time was not ripe then.
Those two confessions by the President were to open the floodgates for unmitigated corrupt practices in Kufuor's NPP government in particular and in Ghanaian public life in general. Since then numerous corruption scandals have broken out in the Kufuor administration, a few significant ones of which are listed below. Readers are particularly encouraged to rejoin this article with knowledge of any hidden corrupt practices in the Kufuor government that they know of, but which have not been captured yet. We undertake to treat all information in this regard with the utmost confidentiality deserving of a newspaper of our calibre.
** Ghanaians would remember that barely a year ago the former Chairman of the NPP Mr. Haruna Esseku, personally accused President Kufuor of receiving bribes(kick backs) from Contractors, and that the President had turned his office at the Castle into an NPP finance office and was personally disbursing monies for party activities thereby sidelining him and the party executives. The president had since not been able to deny Esseku's revelations. As a result of those revelations Mr. Haruna Esseku has been ostricised from the party and prevented from contesting the Chairmanship of the NPP at their last congress in Legon in 2006.
** Mr. Eric amoateng, I do not know whether to call him honourable or dishounourable, a serving NPP Member of Parliament for Nkoranza North has been arrested in the United States of America for smuggling drugs into that country, said to be worth some six million dollars($6,000,000). Eric Amoateng the dishonourable has since voluntarily pleaded guilty to the crime and is now awaiting sentencing in the United states.
** Alhaji Moctar Musa Bamba, former Member of Parliament for Wenchi East and Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs was accused by a colleague minister of visa racketeering, forgery and extortion of money. The interesting aspect of this scandal was that Alhaji Bamba had his office at he corridor to President Kufuor's office at the Castle. Yet he had the guts to carry out such nefarious activities right under the nose of the President at the highest corridor of power in this land without flinching for a second. The worst or was it the best that President Kufuor could do in such a case was to ask Bamba to leave quietly.
Are forgery and extortion of money by a serving public officer not crimes punishable under the laws of Ghana?
** President Kufuor himself who should have been the epitome of morality as the number one citizen, the father of this nation was accused of fornication and adultery by his former Economic and Financial Adviser MS. GIZEL YATZY, who claimed on public radio that she had had an affair with the President for over a year.
The affair she claimed had resulted in her having twins with President Kufuor whom she named Phillip and John. President Kufuor even though confronted at public fora on a number of times had staunchly refused to speak on the issue. The example this disgraceful behaviour gives to Ghanaians of a public official taking advantage of his position to morally corrupt an employee working directly under him is instructive indeed. What lessons in morality and uprightness does this episode teach our youth and children.?
** The same Ms. Gizel Yatzy has accussed President Kufuor of having used his position to blackmail one Mr. Saoud, a Ghanaian –Lebanese businessman to let him part with his hotel in the vicinity of the President's private house at Dzorwulu in Accra, using his son Chief Kufuor as a front for the transaction. This affair violates the constitution of Ghana which forbids the President from engaging in any activities for profit while in office. When the matter came up before the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Ms. Gizel Yatzy was simply refused a visa by the NPP government to come to Ghana to testify.
** Taking a cue from the moral bankruptcy of the President, Dr. Richard Anane former Minister of Health and later of Roads Transport, also engaged in extra marital affairs with Ms. Alexandra O'Brien an American citizen while he was on an official trip to the United states attending an AIDS conference. He was accused of fornication and adultery having an unprotected sex with Ms. O'Brien .
**in similar manner, Honourable Kwamena Bartels has taken a cue from Prresident Kufuor hidding behind his son to buy a hotel, to also arrange in Ghana government guarantteed loan of over four billion cedis for his daughter and his son-in-law.
** Mr. Isaac Amoo the Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organizaation was recent tranfered from his position for procuring moth infestd rice worth billions of cedis for distribution to the victims of the northern floods dissaster .
He was merely transfered to another department at the Ministry of Interior.
**President Kufour has established an Office of Accountability at his office which does not report to the ghanaian public. This has encouraged ministers, government functionaries and party officials to endulge in corrupt practices without the fear of being exposed or punished.
Corruption has to do with morality. Society must be built on a strong moral foundation if we are not to create Sodom and Gomora of biblical times in Ghana. No one bears greater responsibility to set good examples for society than the President of the Republic. So far, what we have seen and heard of the conduct of our dear President, the number one citizen of Ghana leaves much to be desired of a leader worthy of emulation.The above are but a few of the corrupt practices that have broken out during the six and half years of President Kufuor's tenure of office.
The reason why these scandals have not gained the desired currency and effect as they should have had was because the Kufuor regime had taken definite steps to blunt the effectiveness of the Ghanaian media by “buying off” the best of the cream of Ghanaian Journalists with government appointments and patronage of those in active practice. The time to wake up and fight back is now .
Corruption! Corruption!! Corruption!!!

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