President Akufo-Addo has expressed confidence in the ability of his nominee for the position of Special Prosecutor – Martin Amidu – to instil some sanity in Ghana’s public space.
He believes the man has what it takes to put the fear of God in both public and civil servants who may want to engage in acts of corruption.
The president said this during his media encounter at the Flagstaff House yesterday to account for his stewardship since assuming office a year ago.
It was his second media encounter since he was sworn into office last year, having had the maiden one in July 2017.
Well composed and articulate President Akufo-Addo said, “I am well aware of the general sense of anxiety in the country and the strong feeling that politicians tend to get away with corrupt practices. A significant choice, though, that Mr Amidu is, I do not expect that he will provide all the answers for dealing with the phenomenon of corruption by public officials, but I do believe that at the least, the office will help remove the fear of partisan prosecution, and begin to put the fear of God in all public officials who are intending to go down the path of corruption.”
He reiterated that “current office holders are as likely to be investigated and prosecuted by the Special Prosecutor if a case is made out against them as past office holders. At all times, the rule of law must be adhered to.”
On the question of how he would be dealing with allegations of corruption against members of his own government, President Akufo-Addo answered, “I have made it publicly known that anyone who has information about acts of corruption against any of my appointees should bring it forward and should be prepared to back it up with evidence.”
The president indicated that so far, “every single act of alleged corruption labelled against any member of my administration has been or is in the process of being investigated by independent bodies and the findings made public.
“From the allegations against the Minister for Energy-designate at his parliamentary confirmation hearings to that against the CEO of BOST, to those against the two deputy Chiefs of Staff; to the claims of extortion against the Trade Minister and to those against the Minister for Special Development Initiatives, they have all been investigated and no evidence has been adduced to suggest mildly the perpetration of any act of corruption,” he noted with pride.
That notwithstanding, he expressed worry that “some people appear determined to stick to their politically-motivated view that there has been corruption,” while insisting, “this surely is not a helpful stance.”
President Akufo-Addo said, “It is important to note that in this my first year of office, two separate bi-partisan probes in parliament have been established to inquire into allegations of corruption as against zero in the Mahama years, despite the persistent calls by the then minority.”
That, he said, was because “I have a greater interest in my appointees not being corrupt than any critic could possibly have.”
He therefore dared his critics, “Try me; produce the evidence to back the allegation and see what the reaction will be.
“But, I think it is also worth pointing out that we should be careful about the new trend that appears to be emerging, whereby any allegation, no matter how spurious, quickly gains the character of a ‘scandal’ or ‘an act of corruption,’” even when it is shot down.