Monday, 22 January 2018

Begin prosecuting these alleged corruption cases

ALLEGATIONS of wanton dissipation of public funds by some state officials over the past few months must been a nerve wrenching experience for many Ghanaians;

especially the generation that witnessed an era in our political history where people were tied to the stake and shot for taking bank loans that were perceived to be acts of corruption by the then military regime.
Again, that generation will look back with great remorse at events of the parading and whipping of naked women on the streets of Accra for selling goods over above controlled prices in an era where ‘Probity and Accountability’ were said to be the national watch words.
Well, those sordid events now belong to the past and it must be very painful to recollect them, especially having chosen the path democracy to move forward and develop as a nation.
That notwithstanding, our history must guide us into the future; if there was an era in our national life where corruption was almost a taboo, our embracing of democracy should be seen to be strengthening our collective resolve to keep the canker at arms length and not to institutionalise it as the case seem to be currently.
When people, who are thought to come from a tradition that pontificate itself as apostles of probity and accountability, commit these kinds of crimes against the state as we are being told they did, then we are left wondering what has happened to those principles that were the hallmark of that revolutionary era.
Perhaps the motivation for people to take the state on a ride and to steal shamelessly from the people, who put them in positions of trust, is drawn from the fact that the journey to the prosecution of corruption, if it ever happens, is a tall order or so it appears to be.
Over the last two weeks, two state institutions have been up for discussion and the amounts of money that allegedly ended up in the pockets of just few people, who are supposed to be managing these institutions, are shocking as it is annoying.
The public anger and the call for prosecution of these allegations is understandable, but all that must happen under the provisions of the law; and none of the accused individuals is guilty of any crime until a court of competent jurisdiction states so.
But while we await the completion of the processes to haul the suspects before the law courts, we must state here and now that there must be clear departure from the tradition where politicians treat their kind with kid gloves when it comes to issues of corruption and misuse of public funds.
Our choice for the rule of law provides equity before the law and that no one should be treated differently before the law. Crime should have the same measure of punishment, irrespective of who commits it.
The allegations of corruption by officials of the past government are becoming one too many and it is about time the Attorney-General gets busy with her mandate.
We have heard the clamour for government to expedite action on instituting the Office of the Special Prosecutor to help deal with some of these corruption cases, but we daresay that in the absence of that, the Attorney-General must begin dealing with these cases.
In politics, public perception counts a lot and so the earlier the people begin to gain confidence in the ability of the new government to treat corruption differently from the others, the better it would be for the nation at large.


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