General News of Saturday, 23 December 2017
President Akufo-Addo has assured Ghanaians that he is still committed to dealing with corrupt individuals within and outside his government.
He said many people have accused him of not speaking on issues of corruption since he became president but insisted that the government must gather enough evidence on alleged corruption cases before pressing charges.
He argued that government will treat alleged corruption as criminal matters and not go on political witchhunts.
“We [government] will not let [corruption] go. Some people say I’m no longer talking about the rot and corruption I used to highlight in opposition. I want to state that the trial of people on corruption is not a political trial, it is a criminal trial and we are not using it for political purposes but we are using it to enforce the criminal laws of our country so we will make sure we get our case right and necessary facts right”.
Akufo-Addo made the comment while addressing the Chiefs and people of New Juaben at Koforidua in the Eastern Region on Friday as part of his tour of the region.
The vowed that any government official cited in cases of financial malfeasance will be dealt with according to law to serve as a deterrent to others.
Hinting of expected actions on corruption in the coming weeks, the president said, “I believe we are all in this country and no one is leaving the country so we will all be witnesses to what happens in the coming weeks”.
Government’s fight against corruption
Fighting corruption has been a major focus of the Akufo-Addo government which accused the previous John Mahama government of presiding over unprecedented acts of corruption and depriving the country of the much-needed development.
Although the NPP government has been in place for just 11 months, the government has not been spared from accusations of corruption among its officials.
Recent scandals such as the diversion of premix fuel, the sale of contaminated fuel by the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST) Company, and the accusation of corruption levelled against two deputy chiefs of staff by a sympathizer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwame A-Plus, appear to have smeared the government’s image already.
Despite these developments, President Akufo-Addo has given security agencies a directive to investigate any official within his administration who will be accused of corruption.
He said the move is to ensure that no one goes unpunished for proven corrupt acts.
The President has also said he will not be distracted by all the accusations of corruption which he described as attempts to tarnish his government.
He feels there have “been systematic efforts to try and stigmatise [his] government with corruption.”
“There are two hardworking men in my office who were accused of corruption – my two deputies. The CID looked into it but there was nothing. CHRAJ, with a boss John Mahama appointed, also looked into the allegations but there was nothing there.”
“Now there a saying Alan Kyeremanten also went and extorted money but we looked into it and there is nothing there… The desperate effort to stigmatise my government with corruption is not going to work,” the president added.