President Akufo-Addo on prosecuting corrupt Mahama officials: “Better to follow due process than carry out summary trial” Featured

Many Ghanaians appear impatient with the Akufo-Addo government’s efforts to prosecute cases of corruption, especially given the magnitude of allegations made against appointees of the Mahama government.

But President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said he wants Ghanaians to appreciate that allowing the suspects to go through “due process is better than summary trial”.

Addressing the media at the annual Press Encounter at Jubilee House in Accra yesterday, the President remarked that people appreciate the need for the rule of law to be allowed to operate better “when you find yourself in trouble”.

The media encounter, the fourth in the series since the New Patriotic Party government assuming office, enabled the President to account to Ghanaians for his three-year stewardship and seek feedback to improve the flagship policies and programmes implemented so far.

At least 21 appointees in John Dramani Mahama’s governments are being prosecuted for corruption-related offences.

These prosecutions, according to President Akufo-Addo, may have happened more slowly than most Ghanaians would wish partly because of his respect for due process.

“I am not corrupt”

President Akufo-Addo defended his mantra of incorruptibility, reiterating: “I am not corrupt and I am not presiding over a corrupt government.”

All accusations of corruption levelled against his appointees have been investigated, he said, adding that none was found to be true.

“I don’t have the power to clear anyone of corruption,” he pointed out, declaring that given his training as a lawyer, he will not accept accusations with no evidence and draw the conclusion that anybody is guilty of corruption.

President Akufo-Addo urged Ghanaians to avoid giving political colours to investigation and prosecution, especially where political actors are involved. The country must allow the rule of law and due process to take their course, he said.

Funding the institutions

The President said that strengthening the institutions for enforcing accountability is critical to the fight against corruption, and this is something his government has been pursuing seriously.

He said this is the rationale behind his government’s decision to increase budgetary allocations to anti-graft institutions from 25 per cent of the Justice budget in 2017 to 34 per cent in 2018.

“In 2019, there has been an increase in budgetary allocation from over GHC16 million to over GHC40 million for CHRAJ next year,” he disclosed.

Election 2020

Responding to a question about the prediction in the recent Afrobarometer report that no one political party will record a first-round victory in the 2020 elections, the President said although he respects such research, “The only poll that matters is that of December 7.”

He is confident that his government’s performance in implementing the programmes and policies it proposed to the people of Ghans, will convince voters to renew his mandate in the 2020 general election.

“For me, what is important is my programme and the work that I am carrying out, and that it will be beneficial to the people of Ghana. And then, when the time comes for the Ghanaian people to comment on it, I am optimistic and confident that it will be a good comment that the Ghanaian people will make on it in December next year,” he said.

Biggest regret

The President said his biggest regret this year was the kidnapping and subsequent killing of the four Takoradi girls in the Western Region.

“My biggest regret from the beginning of this year is the kidnapping and killing of the four girls in Takoradi.

“It is a matter of great regret this year, having to deal with the issue of the missing Takoradi girls.”

He commended the Ghana Police Service for a yeoman’s job in identifying the remains of the missing girls, and expressed his sympathy to the bereaved families on their loss.

Year of Return

President Akufo-Addo announced that his government is structuring a programme to take over the Year of Return initiative after it ends in 2019.

The “Beyond the Year of Return: The Birthright” programme has a set of outlines which aims to continue the mission of bridging the distance between Africans and black diasporans.

“Really, we ought not to make this [the Year of Return] a one-off. It should be a permanent feature as part of our outreach, in terms of using it as a vehicle for solidifying the relations on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said.

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Last modified on Saturday, 14 December 2019 16:22

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