President Akufo-Addo with some female lawyers
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has responded to critics who claim that he has turned the Jubilee House into a ‘clearing house’ where he uses to shield members of his appointees who are perceived to be corrupt.
“It is not my job to clear or convict any person accused of wrongdoing, or of engaging in acts of corruption. My job is to act on allegations of corruption by referring the issue or issues to the proper investigative agencies for the relevant enquiry and necessary action. That is exactly what has been done since I assumed the mantle of leadership on 7th January, 2017,” he stated.
“If an appointee is cleared of any wrongdoing, the evidence adduced and recommendations made by these agencies, after the investigations are concluded, are what clear the accused persons, not myself. None of these agencies has ever indicated any pressure from the Executive over their investigations,” he added.
Addressing the 2019 conference of the Ghana Bar Association in Takoradi in the Western Region, President Akufo-Addo said, “So far, every single alleged act of corruption levelled against any of my appointees is being or has been investigated by independent bodies such as CHRAJ, the CID, and in some cases, by Parliament itself.”
The President reiterated his long-held position that he did not venture into politics to enrich himself.
He stated that he is aware of the orchestrated attempts by his “opponents to hang the tag of corruption on the necks of my government and myself, despite all the manifest efforts being made to deal with the phenomenon of corruption,” adding, “I just have one simple answer for them. It will not work. I did not come into public life to enrich myself.”
The President said that much as he is committed to fighting corruption, he cannot allow the situation where “people are condemned on the basis of mere allegations” saying that is “the law of the jungle.”
He indicated that to demonstrate his government’s commitment to fighting corruption, his administration systematically increased the funding for the accountability institutions such as Parliament, the Judiciary, the Office of the Attorney General, CHRAJ and the Auditor General.
He said, “2017 witnessed a 25% increase in allocations to these five institutions over those of 2016; 2018 witnessed a 34% increase over 2017; and the 2019 mid-year budgetary allocation is virtually at par with 2018.”
Additionally, the President reiterated the fulfilment of the campaign promise to establish an independent Office of Special Prosecutor to focus on the prosecution of corruption-related offences.
President Akufo-Addo revealed that he carefully selected Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu to give meaning to his commitment in the fight against corruption.
“His appointment was deliberate to highlight the independent nature of the office. I am optimistic his work will justify the confidence the Ghanaian people and I have in him,” he added.
The President also mentioned that the Auditor General, for instance, even acknowledged on June 18, 2019 the effort the government was making to give them enough resources to fight corruption.
He insisted that he is not prepared to countenance corruption, saying, “The days when the ‘punishment’ of erring public officials was their relocation to the Presidency are over.”
President Akufo-Addo added that the war against corruption would not be won overnight, but said, “With political will, it will be won.”
By Nana Kwasi