General News of Saturday, 17 March 2018
Investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni has called on President Akufo–Addo to stop meddling in corrupt allegations levelled against his appointees if he aims to win the fight against corruption.
Mr. Awuni who was speaking at a dialogue series held by the Chevening Alumni Association of Ghana said it will be in the interest of the President to allow independent bodies and organizations to investigate such allegations rather than his office.
President Akufo-Addo’s government since assuming office in January 2017 has been hit with a number of scandals including the bribery allegation involving the Energy Minister, the corruption allegations levelled against two deputy chiefs of staff and the recent cash for seat saga against the Trade and Industry Ministry.
All appointees named in these allegations had the full backing of the president with some being cleared of all charges before being handed to parliament for probing. The situation generated a lot of public discussions with the minority in parliament and the opposition NDC arguing that the President was covering up for his appointees.
But speaking on the trend, the renowned journalist described the involvement of the President as a cause for worry. According to him, it was rather causing Ghanaians to lose faith in his government and his ability to curb the canker that is rapidly draining the country’s finances.
“I have come to realize that there are two types of corruption; petty corruption and grand corruption. What people take for granted is the petty acts involving policemen, civil servants, journalists and other individuals and rather concentrate on the grand acts by our politicians and leaders. We know the massive corruption that took place under the Mahama-Administration and seeing some actions being taken against some former leaders and appointees is a good sign but if the Akufo-Addo government does not tread carefully, it will walk the same path.
“President Akufo-Addo has to stop acting like a clearing agent. We know what a clearing agent does, he needs to allow due process to be followed in dealing with corrupt allegations. If that is not done, people will not trust him.”
The dialogue series dubbed “Corruption and its impact on Ghana; 61years on” also had some panelists from various corporations and institutions share their opinions on the negative effect of corruption, why the alarming increase and the way forward.
Both IMANI Ghana, represented by its President Franklin Cudjoe and the Ghana Integrity Initiative, represented by its Programmes Manager, Mary Welana Addah were of the view that the citizens could do more to help in the fight. According to them, although government was not helping especially with the creating of some new ministries like the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives, reporting on corrupt acts was a step in the right direction.
On their part, 2016/2017 winner of Chevening Scholarship Isaac Anokye and Senior Research Fellow at Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) Kojo Asante were confident, when some current initiatives aimed to create jobs for the youth fails, there will be an outflow of corrupt acts as more people will strive to survive in a sinking economy.
The event was graced by the President of the Association, Dr. Charity Binka who stressed on the importance of such platforms where tropical issues affecting the country can be discussed. It was also held in collaboration with the British High Commission in Ghana.