The President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo before coming into office was touted as someone who has zero-tolerance for corruption. In his Public statements and pronouncements, he on several occasions said: “I am not corrupt, I have never been corrupt, and I will never be corrupt, and I expect my appointees to do same”.
Corruption featured permanently in the 2016 elections campaign that the opposition party accused the ruling government of being corrupt. They never miss any opportunity to accuse John Dramani Mahama of being excessively corrupt and also covering up his appointees who are accused of corruption.
A piece of major news that took over the airwaves was the ford expedition vehicle bribe he allegedly took from Burkinabe contractor in exchange of contract. Other allegations were the GHC51 million Woyome money, ZUBA, the Guinea Fowls that reportedly flew to Burkina Faso.
The opposition party focused their campaign around that arena and promised the people of Ghana that they had a certain man who abhors corruption to the bone. These earned him the much-envied anti-corruption tag.
These supporters trumpeted this strength of him, and the public bought into it. He won massively as a result of the confidence they had in him to protect the public purse.
On 7th January 2017 the day of his swearing-in, he said “I’ve said it and I’ll repeat it, those who are coming into this administration thinking that there’s an avenue for making a lot of money are going to be disappointed”, This further gave the public more confidence and trust.
But immediately he took over the office and started to appoint his ministers and other director General of Government agencies, people began questioning how he could reprimand some of his appointees if they go wrong, because most of them were his close relatives and others too were his bosom friends. The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori Atta is this cousin. Other people like the Attorney General, Roads and Highways Minister and Minister for Works and Housing are all his relatives.
He assured the public that he’s a no-nonsense man who fears no faces. People also argued that it was early days yet to pass judgement. So Ghanaians gave him the benefit of the doubt and allowed him some space to operate.
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The Finance Minister issued his first Bond of $2 billion. The minority in parliament raised red flags saying there was a conflict of interest. A member of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Mr. Brogya Genfi petitioned CHRAJ over the bond and invited CHRAJ to investigate whether or not there is a conflict of interest. Before CHRAJ could bring out their report, the president publicly cleared the minister of no wrongdoing and said it was some people who wanted to tarnish his image. Some Ghanaians made noise about it, but the Emperor had spoken.
Then later, in 2017, there was a program, the Millennium Excellence Award, organised to recognize the efforts and the contributions of some expatriates in Ghana. After the Awards night, it appeared some people were charged some amounts of money to sit close with the president.
The Minority in parliament accused the president of extortion. They subsequently petitioned Parliament to investigate the matter.
The speaker or parliament set a bipartisan committee to investigate it. Before they could conclude their report, the president again cleared the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Himself of no wrongdoing. This further caused disbelief in people whether the president was still the anti-corruption champion we were told about.
The Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, Hon. Pius Enam Hadzide was accused of sending some people to Australia for Commonwealth games as journalists. Those people could not identify themselves with any media house in Ghana. The Minister was recalled back to Ghana together with the National Sports Authority Chairman, Kwadwo Baah Agyeman. A committee was set up to investigate. We later heard the president has cleared him of any wrongdoing and reshuffled the Deputy Minister into the Information Ministry.
The president has continuously failed to act in the interest of the public about corruption in his government. He has virtually cleared everyone in his government who has been accused of any corrupt act, and the worst is to force them to resign or reassign them. So despite the President on several occasions proving to be a listening President, his failure to penalised officials involved in acts of corruption is a dent on his high-earned reputation.
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