General News of Friday, 21 July 2017
The announcement by the Attorney-General and cousin of President Akufo-Addo that, she may drag former President John Mahama’s brother to court, if investigations into tax underpayment by two of his companies are concluded, has stirred trouble within the government, with experts asking who miscalculated the tax paid by Ibrahim Mahama in April, this year.
It has also led to revelations that, 12 top officials of the erstwhile Kufuor regime, have their dockets gathering dust at the Attorney General’s Department for various crimes against the state, and that it will be interesting to see their prosecution alongside officials of the Mahama regime, to demonstrate President Akufo-Addo’s non-partisan approach to eradicate corruption and crime.
The Herald’s contacts inside Gloria Akuffo’s office, told this paper that there were dockets covering investigations into cases like Ghana International Airlines (GIA), Australia House and Isofoton.
Others include; the Waterville case, Ghana Oil Palm Development Company Limited (GOPDC), GSTelecom among others, which could have put not less than twelve members of the former officers of Kufuor government behind bars to prove that all the shouts about corruption in the NPP government is real.
Some of the 12 people, whose names are available to The Herald, are currently serving as Ministers of State in the Akufo-Addo government.
Most of them, had appeared before the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) various times for interrogations.
It was from these appearances that, the dockets were prepared and sent to the Attorney General’s Department for action and prosecution.
The abandoned dockets situation, portrays the selective and partisan manner the country’s criminal justice is operated with successive governments shielding members of their political parties. In some cases, the dockets vanish without trace.
In instances when prosecution ensued, they were shoddy, allowing the suspect to walk free upon mounting the least resistance.
Nothing was done and the dockets were left to gather dust in the AG’s Department, however, the Akufo-Addo’s government, is busy investigating officials of the erstwhile John Mahama government to jail them.
Gloria Akuffo, had told Joy News Evans Mensah on Tuesday that, she had reviewed an initial docket submitted to her office on Ibrahim Mahama’s companies and has asked for further investigations to be done.
In April this year, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) probed two companies belonging to Ibrahim Mahama; MBG Limited and Holman Brothers – for issuing dud cheques to clear a total of GH¢12 million debt. The amount represented duty for some heavy equipment Mr. Mahama’s companies cleared at the Tema Port in 2015.
The GRA, revealed MBG Limited owed it GH¢13.15 million and Holman Brothers also owed GH¢3.71 million in duties.
After series of sessions with EOCO officials, Ibrahim Mahama, issued two separate cheques to defray the debts. One of the cheques had the amount of GH¢10, 216,258.47 and the second GH¢2, 176,544.61.
But the former President’s brother, may face prosecution if the A-G concludes investigations into his companies’ tax issue and he is found to have engaged in wrongdoing.
Ms. Akuffo, said the amount paid by the two companies was less than what was expected of them. “Who is responsible for that?” she asked, adding investigators will be looking into that. “The responsibility of burden is very high…there is a high burden of proof and we want to make sure that if we put this issue it will be [be able to secure conviction],” she said.
She said, government investigators have been asked to gather more evidence to make the case unassailable when it is sent to court.
“A suspicion based on suspicion in itself cannot bring about prosecution,” the lawyer said.
She noted it would take time for the investigation to be concluded, because it is not as “simple as collecting papers.”
Over the weekend, the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo disclosed that the New Patriotic Party will fight to the tooth National Democratic Congress’ officials who are implicated in any corruption scandal.
The Minister who was speaking at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) at an Annual Delegates’ Congress, disclosed that “all NDC government officials implicated in large-scale corruption scandals will be brought to book”.
He indicated that, the NPP, will take Legal actions against any past government official, who found or engaged him/herself in anything that made the state lose money or misappropriated state funds.
He indicated that, the Mahama-led administration left over several debts which have crippled the economy of Ghana and therefore urged NPP members and Ghanaians to exercise patience, while the NPP works at putting the country on track.
“We are going through papers after that majority of the NDC party corrupt officials will be prosecuted. We don’t want to loose any case in court for accusing NDC official as corrupt therefore we’re looking into some of their contracts to get concrete evidence. We inherited a poor economy and debt but we will not pay majority of NDC debt because if we try to pay all the NDC debt, Akufo-Addo cannot do any development”.
Also President Akufo Addo during an encounter with the media on Tuesday, served notice of the possible prosecution of former government officials alleged to have engaged in corrupt practices.
He revealed that, his government is in the process of building evidence to ensure that the various alleged cases of corruption leveled against members of the previous administration are thoroughly prosecuted, and indicated that these cases will be pursued because “they have been well-researched and there is a strong evidence of wrongdoing which a court of law can reliably use to convict.”
But a former Deputy Attorney General under the Mahama administration, Dr Dominic Ayine, has dared the Nana Addo government to make good on its threat to prosecute alleged corrupt former NDC officials.
Dr. Ayine in a rebuttal to President Nana Addo’s comments, pointed out that these cases would remain mere allegations until they are brought before court.
“I am not worried…If there is any evidence of corruption on the part of any government official, I think it is only right that we only comply with the law,” Mr. Ayine said.