By Maxwell Ofori
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has debunked allegations that he has been shielding his corrupt appointees and that he has turned Jubilee House, the seat of government, into a clearing house, where appointees accused of corruption are exonerated.
According to the President, he only acts on recommendations made by agencies that investigate these corruption allegations.
The President has, in the past months, come under intense criticism from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and a section of the public over his alleged penchant for setting free all appointees accused of corruption.
However, the President has a contrary view to these accusations. “In so saying, Members of the Bar, it cannot be the case that people are condemned on the basis of mere allegations. That is the law of the jungle. I am aware of the orchestrated attempts by my opponents to hang the tag of corruption on the necks of my government and myself, despite all the manifest efforts being made to deal with the phenomenon of corruption. I just have one simple answer for them. It will not work. I did not come into public life to enrich myself.
“It is not my job to clear or convict any person accused of wrongdoing, or of engaging in acts of corruption. My job is to act on allegations of corruption by referring the issue or issues to the proper investigative agencies for the relevant enquiry and necessary action. That is exactly what has been done since I assumed the mantle of leadership on 7th January, 2017.
“If an appointee is cleared of any wrongdoing, the evidence adduced and recommendations made by these agencies, after the investigations are concluded, are what clear the accused persons, not myself. None of these agencies has ever indicated any pressure from the executive over their investigations,” he said, whilst addressing the 2019 National Conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) in Takoradi, Western Region, yesterday.
According to the President, so far, every single alleged act of corruption levelled against any of his appointees was being or has been investigated by independent bodies such as the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Criminal Investigation Department (CID), and, in some cases, by Parliament itself.
“From the allegations against the then Minister-designate for Energy at his parliamentary confirmation hearings, to that against the former CEO of BOST, to those against the two deputy Chiefs of Staff, to the conflict of interest allegations against the Minister for Finance, to the claims of extortion against the Trade and Industry Minister, to allegations of dabbling in visa racketeering against the then deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, the then Director General of the National Sports Authority, who, even though exonerated by the CID, later resigned, and the “Chairperson of the Board of the National Sports Authority, to the allegations of bribery levelled against the Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, to the latest involving the suspended acting CEO of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and the dismissed CEO of the National Youth Authority – they have all been investigated or are being investigated by the authorised institutions of our state, and not by President Akufo-Addo,” he postulated.
Reaffirming further his government’s desire to the fight corruption, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering of legal practitioners that the government had systematically increased the funding for the accountability institutions of state, such as Parliament, the Judiciary, the Office of the Attorney General, CHRAJ and the Auditor General.
Setting up the Office of Special Prosecutor, he noted, was a promise fulfilled; an office with the mandate to focus on the prosecution of corruption-related offences.
Again, walking the talk, the President said 21 officials of the previous administration were standing trial over their involvement in alleged acts of corruption or causing financial loss to the state, amounting collectively to the tune of some GH¢772 million.
He added that their trials were being conducted in the normal manner, with the safeguards that the law affords all accused persons, so that due process was respected.
“The courts will, at the appropriate moment, deliver their verdicts. I am expectant that the criminal conduct, if any, of those responsible for the banking crisis, which is undergoing detailed scrutiny, will be brought to justice very soon, if prima facie evidence of criminality is found, which, according to my information, is likely,” he aver