Ghana: I'm Committed to Corruption Fight - President Assures Nation

10 September 2019

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has reassured that he is committed to ensure that corruption is checked, stressing that those found culpable will be punished in accordance with the laws of the country and due processes followed.

He noted the orchestrated attempts by his opponents to tag and blame him for certain perceived corrupt acts in some public institutions.

"It will not work. I did not come into public life to enrich myself. So far every single allegation of acts of corruption of my appointees are being investigated by independent bodies like Commission on HumanRights andAdministrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID)."

President Akufo-Addo made these remarks at the opening of the 2019-2020 Annual General Conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) underway in Takoradi, in the Western Region on the theme "Enhancing national security through the rule of law: prospects and challenges."

He indicated every alleged acts of corruption involving officials from the Bulk Oil Supply Transport (BOST), and the Secretary of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Mining (IMCM), and CEO of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), had been conducted by various investigative bodies, explaining that his job was to refer such allegations for the necessary actions.

"They have all been investigated or are being investigated and not by President Akufo-Addo. It's not my job to clear or convict them. If any appointee is cleared of any wrongdoing based on the evidence, I will clear the accused persons not myself. My job is to act on allegations of corruption by referring them to proper investigating bodies."

The President told the conference that in fulfilment of campaign promises, the Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) was established and indicated that 21 officials of the previous government were being tried for various acts of corruption and causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢772 million according to due processes.

Again, in the efforts to protect the public purse, he said that the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) had reviewed sole sourcing and restrictive tenders involving about GH¢2.75 billion, adding that, the supply of 250,000 Asaase Wura fertilisers totalling $11.5 million reduced after a review, to a total of $7.87 million.

"I am confident that government is committed to the fight against corruption and not just in words, but, in deeds. Government is committed to protect the public purse and prosecutions ongoing. The days where erring public officials are relocated to the Presidency are over," President Akufo-Addo stated.

He, however, argued that the war against corruption would not be won overnight; stressing that observance of the rule of law was the foundation of every organised and progressive society.

Reflecting on the theme and the Ghanaian situation, he said, the acts of vigilantism, illegal mining, cybercrime, banking fraud, stealing of public funds, smuggling of fertilisers, acts of bribery and corruption and criminal cartels, were due deficits and the breakdown of rule of law, but, believed that this situation could be enhanced with the enforcement of the law and citizens abiding by rules.

President Akufo-Addo said, the absence of rule of law was attracting bad headlines because people were cutting corners and breaking the laws as buildings were collapsing and roads also developing pot holes but, assured that government was taking concrete steps to deal with institutional deficits and logistics constraints.

Government, he said, had passed the law to disband political vigilantism in the country and those found culpable would be liable to a conviction not less than 10 years not more than 18years

The president of the GBA, Mr Anthony Forson Jnr, also highlighted concerns of bribery and quoted Dr Kofi Busia, who recorded that "Bribery and corruption have eaten so deep into the fabric of the society that when you put anybody in any position of trust, he or she uses that position to amass wealth."

He observed that some of the President's appointees would let him down but believed that the only way he could maintain his incorruptible stature, was to refer any person caught in any corrupt acts to appropriate state institutions, track progress of investigations and let the public know the outcome.

"Mr President, your junior colleagues expect you to be tough as the Nana Akufo- Addo who straddles our law reports notwithstanding the mellowing effect of advancement in life," Mr Forson added.

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