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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Anti-corruption coalition wants gov't to deal with Woyome case

Anti-corruption coalition wants gov't to deal with Woyome case
Rev. Fred Deegbe

The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition has followed with concern the unfolding controversies and confusion related to the Woyome Judgement Debt Case. The confusion has been worsened by the events leading to dismissal of the now former Attorney General, Honourable Martin Amidu. In the light of these recent events, we strongly urge the President and Government to take a second look at the processes initiated to investigate the actions of public officials leading to the payment of various sums of money to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome.

The mix-ups and slip-ups surrounding the Woyome Judgement debt should be a source of worry for every Ghanaian citizen as it badly exposes severe weaknesses in the exercise discretionary power by public officials who are supposed to act solely and exclusively in the public interest. Additionally, it calls to question the political class’ commitment to fight corruption and promote accountability when they are unable to differentiate between party and government.

This is a systemic problem that requires bi-partisan response and sobriety to ensure that the ordinary Ghanaian taxpayer does not bore the brunt of these kinds institutional failures.

We urge the state institutions in the chain of accountability including the Controller and Accountant General, the Auditor-General and the Minister for Finance, to come out once and for all to end the speculation and political ‘football’ by establishing the facts related to the amounts of monies paid so far to Mr. Woyome. We also entreat the Acting Attorney-General to expedite action on the parallel legal process initiated by his predecessor as directed the President.

The allegation of political interference in the Attorney General’s mandate of prosecuting corrupt public officials in the ensuing Judgement Debt Case confirms the challenges confronting the dual role of the Attorney General as the principal legal advisor to the government and also the initiator of public prosecution. In this light, we renew our call for the decoupling of the Attorney Generals Department from the Ministry of Justice to insulate corruption prosecution from suspicion of political interference and enhance the country’s anti-corruption drive.

We, urge the ousted Attorney General to provide all the information he has on the case to any of the independent anti-corruption institutions tasked with investigating the case, using the appropriate channels while protecting his integrity.

Lastly, we refer to the government’s recent membership of the Open Government Partnership which requires it to be committed to be open and transparent in its activities, ensure civic participation in governance and exhibit the highest standard of professionalism and integrity in its administration. This should not be a mere rhetoric but translated into action in this case.

We would also like to use this opportunity to urge all citizens especially public and civil servants, and political appointees to use the safeguard that is offered under the Whistle-blower Act, 2006 (Act 720) to report on cases of malpractices to ensure that they are not mishandled by any political figure.

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