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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

'Team B' has done well, now wait for 'Team A' - Mills

President Mills
President Mills
Are we saying that this is the first time that ministers of state have gone abroad with girlfriends, this is the first time that ministers of state have infringed the law, have spent state money on themselves
President J.E.A. Mills

President J.E.A. Mills has assured that his government will deliver to the satisfaction of all Ghanaians when he introduces his ‘Team ‘A’ appointees.

“I sympathise with the opposition (political) parties…ask me why. If NDC ‘Team B’ can perform this well in one year, they should wait for the ‘Team A’, when the ‘Team A’ comes they will see what is going to happen. And I am proud to be associated with ‘Team B’, I am the captain and also the coach and we shall win, we shall deliver for the benefit of the people of Ghana.”

The president was answering questions from journalists at the Castle, Osu, to mark his one year in office.

Responding to a question from Joy News’ Matilda Asante Asiedu about the handling of the corruption allegations against the former Minister of Sports, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, the president said Muntaka did not resign because of corruption, “there wasn’t corruption, it was because of indiscretion on his part.”

Matilda later said she was not satisfied with the answers of the president to the question but conceded the manner in which she asked the question may have helped him to get away with an unsatisfactory answer.

The former sports minister who resigned his position in the wake of allegations of corruption, forged documents to procure a visa for his 'friend' to enable her travel with him but president Mills said it was not a case of corruption.

He said those who levelled the allegation of graft against the former minister could not substantiate their allegations and as a lawyer “if somebody makes an allegation against another person and is not able to give credible evidence…I have no option but to give the benefit of the doubt to the person who is being accused.”

“So it was not a case of corruption, corruption could not be established. We felt that the young man was being indiscreet and that is why he felt that it was right for him to resign and he said so in his statement. In any case let me add this, we’ve been in this country for some time, you have reported on many cases [of corruption], since when have ministers, given these facts, had the courage to tender in their resignations? How many can you cite? Even where there is clear cut evidence, they say ‘we will stay on’. I’m happy that this young man took this step.”


Myjoyonline Ghana News Photos |
Mr Kwesi Pratt, Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper
But Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Mr Kwesi Pratt was unimpressed. He said, although the Muntaka case was clearly handled much better than similar cases in the past, the president could still have done better. Clearly there were elements of the conduct of the minister which were criminal and the minister’s conduct clearly was unacceptable. He should not have been allowed to resign on his own, at least you should have fired him.”

The case about Muntaka simply would not go as Metro TV’s Mary-Anne Acolatse also spoke to it wondering whether accepting Muntaka’s resignation in the face of the allegations was clear enough a demonstration of a serious commitment to fighting corruption on the part of the president.

The president said, “I think that you are drawing some very, very quick conclusions…you are giving a judgment on the basis of facts which I don’t think can always be verified.”

President Mills reiterated his earlier stance that Muntaka should be commended for resigning his post for after all; “are we saying that this is the first time that ministers of state have gone abroad with girl friends, this is the first time that ministers of state have infringed the law, have spent state money on themselves.”

He emphasised that the government was doing its best to do things differently and was still committed to fighting corruption, but not without concrete evidence.

He said one must build a solid case before proceeding to court for prosecution and cautioned must be exercised at all times.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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