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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mabey and Johnson, Resignations are not enough

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am "thrilled" that corruption has been exposed within our borders again, this time by powers far and yonder. Is it not a shame, that rather than we doing the job ourselves, we have allowed authorities elsewhere to reveal what this present government has always known?? Well, I strongly believe it is a shame and the players deserve no credit.

On Saturday 10 October 2009, Right Honourables George Sipa Yankey and Amadu Seidu became the latest victims in these turn of events. In short, we are told, they have resigned their positions. Ghanaians in our gullibility have commended them( the 2 ministers) for resigning and others have leapt to heaping praises on this president for tackling corruption. But let us look deep. Are we sure they deserve the praises we seem to be according them?? Did the government not know anything about this?? Did it have to send the Attorney General on a day trip to ascertain truths it(the government) has always known??

I am not certain the government knew nothing about it because it could have quizzed Chairman later President Rawlings for what he knew and the depth. Vice President John Evans Attah Mills, now President would have also known something about this too. To claim his ignorance of this issue would suggest two things; either he lied or that his eye was not on the ball and goes to suggest that his ability to do a better job is probably highly in doubt.

Instead, they wasted more tax payers money( apart from the cost to our country in bribes, loss of quality projects and probable loss of lives), for the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to travel to the United Kingdom for more answers. Perhaps, the AG, classed an "outsider" may not have known what the truth was and decided to hear things for herself. When they sent her out, they knew she would find the answers they always had. When she got back, we were told, there were closed door meetings between the Veep, the Chief of Staff and other close aides. See http://news.myjoyonline.com/politics/200910/36251.asp

I am personally of the view that the answers could have been sought by phone or video conference from Ghana and the cost would have been a third of what was spent for the round trip. This could very well have been done from the British High Commission in Accra. Even if this was funded by the SFO in the UK ( though I doubt it), it will still be a blot on our balance sheet somehow, in cash or in kind, one day.

The most troubling aspect of all of this is that, the government appointed people with doubtful ability, credibility and past and I am strongly of the view that Ex-President Rawlings knew what he was saying when he called those appointees "mediocre". After all, he was President at the time and a lot happened on his clock, though he is not prepared to tell and instead prefers to tell riddles and proverbs.

The president recently expressed full confidence in his ministers which to me was a bit disconcerting, especially when he knew that things could be heading disastrously wrong in his direction. Maybe, he did this as a politician, but this is an issue far too dear to Ghanaians and Africa for it to be toyed with. Leadership is difficult but once you ascend to it, you must govern and speak with care and a lot of wisdom.

Daily Post International, a Ghanaian newspaper also declared that Dr. Yankey is clean and claimed that was according to its intel. What an Intel that was! http://news.myjoyonline.com/news/200910/36237.asp

So far, 3 ministers have resigned from this government due to some underhand deals(Muntaka, Amadu Seidu and George Sipa Yankey). How many more are lined up to go?? There are others in other departments who also have questions to answer, including the current President and Ex-President Rawlings. They know a lot more than they are letting on and it is time we got some answers. No taking this lying down.

Here is what I think should happen; Ghanaians must demand of the government what it knows about the Mabey and Johnson issue. The government must not get away with a few resignations. It must explain to all of us what really happened and what it intends to do. I am not necessarily suggesting custodial sentence for those involved but I believe an explanation is good for us to plug the gaps in the tendering process. This is the first.

Again, if the court has seen fit that reparations be paid to the Ghanaian government, then it is only too right for those involved to also cough up money that was given them, for which reason, they stare into the political abyss.

Added to this, let's also see if due to bribery and corruption in this case, the projects (Mabey and Johnson's) delivered were late, shoddy or never delivered and whether they have resulted in the loss of lives of Ghanaians. In fact, was anything delivered by Mabey and Johnson at all?? It is all too easy to blame the police for accidents on our roads but it is also becoming increasingly clear that our politicians are equally culpable. If that is the case, then the courts must prosecute.

There are lessons for all of us to learn. Corruption is a serious issue that retards Africa's development. No country is immune from it, but it is how you go about it that shows whether you are serious and committed to tackling corruption or not.

In 1961, when Osagyefo Dr. Nkrumah's ( Ghana's President at the time) attention was drawn to corruption in his government, he began the dawn broadcasts, told it all and dismissed many from his government who were involved. This is what is laudable and a step that must be followed. This government and the others aren't prepared to "wash their dirty linen in public" but it must if it is serious about corruption. Ex-President did little or nothing about corruption, despite his pledge of zero tolerance towards corruption. Apart from Mallam Issah's jail term, nothing substantial was done about corruption. Those who commit crimes must pay for their crimes.

Thus far, in my humble opinion, it has not shown any will to honour its promise of fighting corruption "tooth and nail". It is rather throwing a "few dogs to the wolves" to appease the people. Not enough. The government must sacrifice a lot more and that may mean it goes all the way to the top.

In sum, we must do our "own house cleaning" and not allow others to do it for us, because after all, "The Black man is capable of managing his own affairs".

Kwaku Nkansah was the CPP Parliamentary Candidate for Offinso North in the 2008 Elections. These opinions are personal and do not in any way reflect what the CPP believes in. He can be reached at kwakunkansah@dkn4offfinsonorth.org

Nkansah, Kweku

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