General News of Saturday, 21 February 2015
Executive Director of the Center for Freedom and Accuracy, Andrew Awuni, has told TV3 his center has information on much more scandalous and dreadful cases of corruption in Government that could destabilize the nation when revealed.
Asked why he would not reveal them as a corruption campaigner, he said the effects of a destabilized country will outweigh the benefits of disclosing such information, hence he has a duty to protect it. He, however maintained in an interview with TV3’s Martin Asiedu-Dartey that, corruption in Ghana was now more serious than ever.
Mr. Awuni, who was speaking on TV3’s Midday Live on the latest corruption scandal at MASLOC, in which a Director of Finance has been indicted for ‘stealing’ over a million cedis through non-existent companies, was worried that corruption had assumed alarming proportions. He partly blamed the situation on the lack of political will to punish, a seeming lackadaisical attitude at the Attorney-General’s Department in prosecuting such high-profile cases amongst others.
“I was not surprised about the MASLOC fraud report. It happened before and on that occasion millions of cedis was involved. We don’t know how that one ended. So if someone else takes over from the previous director and he knows that the previous director did the same thing and went scot-free, why not him? I must say, unfortunately, that it will appear as if we are losing the fight against corruption in this country. Corruption has always been around, but in the last few years it has actually assumed alarming proportions.
“We have lost respect as a nation in the diplomatic community. When you interact with members of the diplomatic community they have very little respect for government appointees. You interact with the business community, especially the foreign businesses, and they have very little respect for government officials. In fact, some of them have nicknames that they have given to these officials. We are in a very bad situation”.
“It appears like these days when you are appointed to any public institution, it’s like you have been given your own farm, so go and make the best out of it. It happened at the National Service Secretariat; you would realize that it’s the same technique that has been used by MASLOC. Get some ghost companies, list them down, pass monies to them and at the end of it you get the total amount and take it to wherever you want. It’s the same thing with the NSS; get ghost names, contact your regional and district coordinators, they give you the list, you pass the money to them and they return it to you.”
Mr. Awuni says these cases keep recurring because Government has not shown braveness in cracking the whip.
““It’s because very little is done to such persons. We don’t see the punishment and the jailing of these offenders. There is so much impunity; we all know what happens at the Attorney-General’s Department; we all know what happened there in the early part of Professor Mills’ administration. In some cases, such persons are even getting promoted all the time and it is really getting bad,” he lamented.
“The judiciary could also be one of the reasons this is happening; because these days all you need to do is to send the case to court. And as soon as you do that, it could stay there for so long. The GYEEDA case is still in court, the Woyome case has been going on for how long? The National Service one is also in court; now this man in the MASCLOC fraud has been interdicted; he will be sent to court, granted bail and the case will continue, and he will be walking a free man”.
When Mr. Awuni was reminded that the very things he is lamenting today have also happened in past administrations, including the one he served, he responded by saying the levels of corruption today are much higher.
“Corruption has always been here with us. The problem now is that it is assuming alarming proportions. That is because people now carry it out with impunity; they are seeing it up there, so they copy it. There are things the CFA (Center for Freedom and Accuracy) cannot put out today because if we put those things out about issues of corruption it will destabilize the nation.
“…We are talking about serious corruption. Sometimes you weigh the effects of the destabilization and the benefit it will also bring to the nation so we can’t mention everything. The corruption does not seem to be ending; it is going on,” he lamented.