The radio and television sets in homes and on the streets likewise the online channels are raucous with predictions and message of peace in the build-up to election 2020; only for a major news to be sneaked in under the disguise of an assessment on a possible conflict of interest by the greatest-ever constitutionalised institution set up to fight the worst kind of corruption that has beleaguered the development of the Star of Africa.
The Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, with all respect to his unparalleled wisdom in matters of politics and law in Ghana has redefine the existence of institutions that are mandated to fight the only social vice that has crippled the development of Ghana and Africa.
What is crime? What then is corruption? Should we even bother to trace the perpetrators of this human-plague which seems not to soon depart the political echelon, descending steeply and steadily into the basic core of work and family?
Kofi Abotsi in greeting the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor wrote in his work titled; “Introspecting the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s Act and Ghana’s Constitutional Framework on Anti-Corruption” that…
“…From the standpoint of constitutional trusteeship, corruption has been said to undermine regime legitimacy and the overall public service obligation incumbent on political actors. However, past attempts at fighting the menace through the mechanism of law reform have floundered. The recent passage of the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s Act 2018 (Act 663) represents yet another statement of intent to reinforce the accountability framework of the constitution and presents opportunities for fresh but nuanced reflections on the impact of the Constitution and legal rules on the prevention and suppression of corruption in Ghana.”
Has the Special Prosecutor consciously treated one of the most serious alleged cases of corruption with “kid-gloves”? Here is my case as captured in paragraph 53 of the report which the Special Prosecutor’s office is deemed to the working with.
“Between 2009 and 2015 an Airbus defence company engaged Intermediary 5, a close relative of a high ranking elected Ghanaian Government official (Government Official 1) as its BP in respect of the proposed sale of three military transport aircraft to the Government of Ghana. A number of Airbus employees knew that Intermediary 5 was a close relative of Government Official 1, who was a key decision-maker in respect of the proposed sales. A number of Airbus employees made or promised success-based commission payments of approximately €5 million to Intermediary 5. False documentation was created by or with the agreement of Airbus employees in order to support and disguise these payments. The payments were intended to induce or reward “improper favour” by Government Official 1 towards Airbus. Payments were eventually stopped due to the arrangement failing the due diligence processes required by the Liquidation Committee.
A quick trip down the memory lane, it is noteworthy to establish that the first order of the military aeroplane arrived in the country on November 17, 2011, the second on March 19, 2012. The last order arrived in the country on December 4, 2015, after President John Dramani Mahama, earlier in November 2014, announced that Ghana was to acquire an additional C295, in addition to other aircraft, including five Super Tucanos, Mi-17s, and four Z-9s.
Fast forward to my expectation since the Airbus Scandal greeted international papers and what I am expecting of the Office that has taken up the case to its breast since Ghanaian media has been waiting for the big news of who Government Official 1 is officially. A big announcement like that of the expected coming of the bride to be received and admire by the groom’s family has been shrouded in what one will say, death, as the case may not see the light of day any longer.
Let me take this time to list a few of Former or Ex-Presidents who have faced the wrath of the law in their countries in relation to corruption charges.
France – Nicolas Sarkozy, charged in 2018 with corruption, illegal campaign financing and benefiting from embezzled public funds
Ecuador – Rafael Correa, sentenced to eight years in prison on corruption charges.
South Africa – Jacob Zuma, charged with corruption linked to a 1990s arms deal, racketeering, fraud and money laundering.
Kyrgyzstan – Almazbek Atambayev, handed an 11-year prison sentence on corruption charges
South Korea – Lee Myung-bak, sentenced to 15 years in prison (Fourth ex-leader convicted of corruption.)
Ghanaians will praise the Special Prosecutor for the boldness and diligence in his service to the nation, most importantly, identifying the Government Official 1 but will forever and ever in their march forward, hound down the work of this government and the Office of the Special Prosecutor for the masquerading manner in which this case has be tried, judge and dismissed.
Part of the report submitted to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on the controversial Agyapa Deal headlined: “Report on the Analysis of the Risk Corruption and Anti-Corruption Risk Assessment of the Processes Leading up to the Request for Approval and Approval of the Transaction Agreements and Tax Exemptions Granted by Parliament thereunder in Relation to the Gold Royalties Monetisation Transaction Under the Mineral Income Investment Fund Act, 2018 (Act 978) and Other Related Matters thereto”, captured Mr. Amidu, communicating to the President on Page 57, paragraph 2 that, his Office has established the identity of elected Government official 1 to be former President John Dramani Mahama, but won’t go ahead to invite the former president because he is the presidential candidate of the other largest political party in Ghana.
“This Office has established the identity of elected Government Official 1 to be former President John Dramani Mahama whose brother of the full blood is Samuel Adam Foster also known as Samuel Adam Mahama. The only reason the former President has not been invited for interrogation (in spite of all threats from some of his followers and lawyers) is the fact that he got himself an insurance as the Presidential Candidate of the other largest political party in Ghana and prudence dictated that the interrogation be held in abeyance during this election season. the former President has also not offered to make any voluntary statement to this Office despite the publication of an allege interview containing admissions purportedly made by the former President to a Daily Graphic reporter without the full voice recording which in the meantime remains just hearsay.”
It is my recommendation to President Akufo-Addo to appoint persons that will go after crime regardless of colour as he reiterated in a recent interview to the security agencies and that if the Special Prosecutor can temporarily suspend investigations into matters of this gravity which the whole world is looking up to us to deal with, then he deserves the sack and a probable investigation because he lacks the morals to occupy this revered office.
In conclusion, I would like to ask
- Can the Special Prosecutor have that impetus to prosecute a seating president? Which is easier, former president with limited government resources to frustrate the work of anti-graft institutions or ‘supposedly seating president’ who can ‘starve’ the institutions he knows will bring him down?
- Why couldn’t the Special Prosecutor have this important revelation in a separate report detailing how he has arrived at that conclusion and urging the government, Attorney General and other state machineries to join him to retrieve what has been stolen from Ghanaians?
- To those who said, the Former President, John Mahama, should prove his innocence by turning himself in, you may be right and I support the call for him to do so but I think you are asking too much of him since no one has invited him for interrogation and the report has not been served on him directly.
Let’s remember that the effects of corruption have led to under-development, which has seen people been paid for no job done, roads, hospitals and schools constructed shoddily and officers demanding tokens before they carry out their duties for which they are being paid.
I pray the Special Prosecutor, Mr Amidu and his able staff rescind their earlier decision to wait until former President, John Mahama is defeated in the 2020 polls before pursuing this case to the core and in the same vein, the Akufo-Addo led should treat this matter with all urgency it deserves.