General News of Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, says government will soon go after persons found to have engaged in acts of corruption.
He explained that the delay in prosecuting alleged corrupt officials was due to extensive investigations being conducted by the government.
“The Akufo-Addo-led administration does not want to jump into prosecuting people when facts and evidence to back what they are alleged to have done have not been established,” he said.
Speaking at the launch of the Anti Corruption and Transparency Week yesterday in Accra, Mr Osafo Maafo said: “I have a message from the president … he told me that ‘when you go emphasise the point that we are certainly going to make people who have wronged this nation through corruption suffer for their deeds.”
“But we don’t want to do this in a hurry, we must do thorough investigation… we must do it in such a way that people who have wronged the system are identified through thorough investigation and they will answer for their crimes,” he added.
In the absence of proper investigations, he said, prosecuting anyone would be seen as a witch hunt, especially of the current administration’s political opponents.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been criticised by a section of the public, especially supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), for not taking action against people in the previous government they perceived as corrupt.
According to them, although the president promised during the 2016 electioneering campaign to deal with such people, nothing concrete has been done aside from the passing into law of the Special Prosecutors Bill.
Mr Osafo Maafo acknowledged their disappointment, but said: “not much can be done if there is no evidence against such people.”
“People are impatient with Akufo-Addo’s government because they think that we spoke a lot about corruption in the past, but till date, nothing is happening to those who are supposed to have wronged the system.
“We have the laws of this land not to punish anybody (only) because he or she is an opponent, but because they have wronged the system and they have been corrupt in the system,” he added.
He assured, however, that “investigations are still going on and very soon the results will be out for every Ghanaian to hear and to see.”
Meanwhile, a Member of Parliament for North Tongu has challenged the Akufo-Addo administration to punish alleged corruption by former President John Dramani Mahama and National Democratic Congress (NDC) functionaries.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa recently said the opposition NDC was fed up with the litany of allegations levelled against its members without proof by the NPP government.
According to him, “Article 88 of the 1992 Constitution is clear about who has the authority to investigate and prosecute crime and corruption urging the Attorney General to act swiftly.”
“What is all this about, that we [NDC functionaries] are corrupt, we have stolen Ghana’s money, we have taken cocoa funds after losing the election and we have spent over $400 million?” he queried.
To mark the 2017 UN World Anti-Corruption Day, stakeholders working towards anti-corruption in Ghana are collaborating to implement the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Week from December 4 to 7 December, 2017.
The objective of this year’s celebration to be held on the theme: ‘NACAP: Strengthening Public, Private and Civil Society Partnership in the fight against corruption,’ seeks to discuss the implementation of the 2016 NACAP report.
It also hopes to, among other things, raise awareness of the NACAP and mobilise resources and effort for its implementation and bring stakeholders and partners together to plan and fight corruption.