Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah, a former Member of Parliament (MP) and Minister of State under the erstwhile ex-President Kufuor’s government, has said he can be comfortable with a thief as President of Ghana as long as the system will not allow him to steal public funds.
“I can be comfortable with a thief who becomes the President as long as when he becomes the President he finds that there is no way to exercise his ability to steal”, he said.
According to him, Auditor General, Parliament of Ghana and Judiciary being the institutions put in place to hold government accountable have not been very effective and it is even worse to know that accountability mechanisms put in place to check the financial management system also do not work.
Speaking at the second series of a symposium organized by Forum for Media Accountability and Democratic Governance (FoMADeG) under the theme; “Redefining Our ethos as a society”, Mr. Dapaah, indicated that in order to be effective, the institutions need to be granted independence for them to achieve a corruption free country.
“Today Donald Trump has been elected the President of USA, whatever he does, he will not be accused of stealing public funds, not because of his ethical values, or the American national values but is it because the system in place will not allow him to steal”, he cited, adding that Abacha of Nigeria who history has named as a successful looter of public funds would not have had the chance to steal if he was the President of America or United Kingdom.
The former MP who is the current Head of the University of Professional Studies, Accra’s (UPSA) Public Accountability wondered how the Auditor General who is supposed to audit government books and know whether public monies were used in accordance with the financial laws can do his job well when the President appoints, determines his monies to execute his job and can dismiss him.
Same way he noted that Parliament cannot also hold the President accountable well because majority of members belong to the president’s party and may be eyeing positions in the Executive as Ministers or seek infrastructure development in their constituencies, hence they will do things in favour of the government.
Mr. Kan Dapaah was sad that the Attorney General who after Parliament has approved the auditor General’s report for him to prosecute those indicted will not also do it because the person is in government and they may be affected badly.
He observed that only a good leadership with strong sanctions will be the antidotes to corruption in the country but queried how that can be when people who are indicted as corrupt rather given bigger positions.
Mr. Dapaah urged Ghanaian leaders to stop talking about national development unless the attitude towards corruption is changed.
“After all don’t let us lose sight that Ghana is the 8the leading producer of Gold in the world. There was a time when the country’s wealth was accessed in terms of its gold reserve”, he pointed out.
“We have no business being invited when poor countries are going for a conference the only reason you get invited is because of corruption lets end it. ”, he stated.