General News of Wednesday, 9 December 2015
The anti-corruption adviser to President John Mahama says the president can only use due process of law to fight corruption, even if his instructions in the past have been flagrantly disregarded.
Daniel Bartidam, who was responding to questions about the president’s lack of commitment to fighting corruption on Joy News appeared evasive when he was confronted with the fact, that the president’s anti-corruption directives have been disregarded for two years.
On the day, Ghana joined the world to mark the International anti-corruption day, Mr Batidam could not answer why no action has been taken since 2013 after the president gave instructions for his AG to retrieve some monies illegally paid to some private and public officials.
In a meeting with representatives of anti-corruption campaigners at the Flagstaff House in November 2013 President John Mahama said:
“I have instructed the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, EOCO and the Minister of Finance to work with the Minister for Youth and Sports to achieve the following by 31st December 2013: a. Secure refunds of monies wrongfully paid to or appropriated by any individuals or companies from contracts with SADA, GYEEDA, and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and to retrieve monies wrongfully paid to Waterville and Isofoton.”
A year after the 2013 directive, Deputy Attorney General Dominic Ayine reported in Decembr 2014, only ¢14.5m had been retrieved out of monies in excess of ¢300 million found to have been illegally paid.
Notwithstanding the fact that officials failed to retrieve the monies, President Mahama on Wednesday December 9, 2015 while touting his achievements in fighting corruption, repeated the directive for his officials to retrieve the dubious amounts by close of the year.
Critics have described the president’s second instruction as laughable. The Ghana Integrity Initiative charged the president to stop tickling himself and go to Nigeria’s Buhari to learn some few lessons on how to fight corruption.
On Joy FM’s Newsnite Programme Bartidam attempted an answer to why the president’s instruction in 2013 had not been carried out.
He was however unable to explain if the president will sanction officials tasked to collect the monies or why he repeated a directive that has clearly been ignored.
The anti-corruption campaigner suggested that the delay could be that people who carry out the president’s directive need to follow due process.
“The era of jumping due process is over,” he stated.
Daniel Bartidam admitted at some point more needs to be done to fight corruption.
“Yes they are not enough. I would have said the same thing.”
While admitting that government effort has not been sufficient, he called for a focused discussion on the progress the president is making.
According to him, until corruption is completely removed, no effort is enough.
“I can understand if people say what we have done is not enough. It is never enough”.
He explained more and several actors need to be brought in “before we can have an effective onslaught” in fighting corruption.