The sad case of Weak Executive Management or Criminal collusion

By Kwaku A. Danso

The Woyome Case has left me dumbfounded and speechless on our Ghana Leadership Union (GLU) forum. As moderator that is unusual. I appealed to people to vote for President Mills in November to December 2008 and I am sorely disappointed! I feel totally disappointed and don’t even know what to think of our nation of Ghana anymore! Why with such good people we never seem to get the right leaders with the right intent, motives, love and skills to help us get out of the perpetual poverty brought about mostly due to greed of a few and corruption! Every indicator of potential economic forecast would predict Ghana to be a rich nation, but the last half century has created only a nation of mostly liars and a few who get into government and become public thieves through back-door benefit packages as well as outright con games and schemes!! This Woyome case beats all intellectual debate!

Prof. Kwaku Asare (Azar) posted this from Florida, USA, quoting former President Kufuor:
Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 12:13:58 PM
Subject: Kufuor Has Hit a Home Run with this Statement

“They said my government contracted with Woyome to find us money and I am saying my government didn’t give any contract to Woyome….but if they say we gave contract to Woyome, then we are saying put Kufuor before this Commission and then quiz Kufuor for the truth to come out and I will do the same with the current government… For the President to direct that we should appear before EOCO, his creation….incidentally the law also makes EOCO answerable to the Attorney General office, but by all the accounts the office of primary suspicion is the Attorney General’s office.
So why do we go before EOCO to investigate behind closed doors and at the end of the day, EOCO submits report to the Attorney General’s office, the office of first suspect in this whole saga for some story to issue before a public enquiry takes place.” (John Agyekum Kufuor).

David N. wrote this on Okyeame Forum and cross posted to GLU:
“Azar, You know what Kuffour said is BS. One, if a public enquiry, the culprits cannot be prosecuted because we all know what happened with the evidence of the Ghana @50 investigation. Kuffour knows if this happens, he and his cronies in the NPP will walk free. Secondly, why is he prepared to talk in public but not in private. I have never heard such cow manure in my life, and you think this is a home run? Good night!
Alhaji (D. Nanang, 02/02/2012, at 11:38 AM)

Prof. George K-O wrote from Australia:
David, The NPP strategy is to have a public enquiry and drag it out till or toward the elections so they can gain political capital. They are not interested in getting the money back from Woyome by whatever means, nor the chips falling where they may. It is all politics. ,,,,I would support the NDC strategy any day just as I would have supported the NPP and Kuffour if they had followed that strategy with respect to Ghana@50, among others.
George (Wednesday, February 01, 2012 7:27 PM).

Folks, it is hard to let this Woyome case go away without making a public comment. I think comments by David, George and Azar, if we take the politics out, make sense. Whiles President Kufuor (2001-2009) promised a zero tolerance for corruption, the general perception was that his administration was very corrupt. Ghana’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) by Transparency International did not show any improvement and actually dipped under Kufuor. It has not done better under Mills and not with these scandals!

Ghana under President Kufuor –
It is unfortunate for Ghana to refer to past misbehavior for evaluating a current case of obvious financial malfeasance or corruption. Some schools of thought described the tall flamboyant former President Kufuor as a very clever thief! It appears he uses his God-given talent only to take advantage of situations. To many who write comments on many open media if one studies them, Kufuor appears like a crook and a thief who always gets away! Period! This was a very bad example for a man who took office with promise to prosecute corruption under a “golden age of business”. Yes, many of his supporters got lucrative contracts and became rich but how did that translate into a more open and respectable atmosphere of doing business in a golden Ghana!

Under Kufuor, the last time a public inquiry took place under the Ghana@50 it was never prosecuted! Ghana lost massive amount of money due to fraud, abuse of power, excessive overdrafts and cost overruns in excess of $50-100 million without parliamentary approval. All of these should have been declared illegal and criminally actionable. Never did anybody go to jail! We had a similar situation in the Jubilee House construction projects where moneys went into excessive multi-million dollar overspend and nobody was held accountable due to our very poor, weak and almost impotent parliament! Hon. P.C. Appiah Ofori, the only man in the NPP party who would stand up against such excessive spending and legislative and executive misbehavior, was removed from the Chairmanship of the finance committee without reason. That is the smell of executive collusion in corruption! Period!

Poor Prosecution Lawyers –
Having good effective prosecuting lawyers is important. Some prominent lawyers on our forum have admitted that after law school at Legon, the AG office does not attract but the weakest of the graduates due to poor pay. As such it appears the Attorneys prosecuting cases for our nation are poorly paid and not of the “superior intelligence” breed (if we can use a description by Nana Kyei). We all know or should understand law is like any competitive profession. The stronger and smarter lawyers of higher intelligence argue best, find the best cases, present them well, and win!

The sad irony of Ghana is that the NDC seems to be following the same clever thieving-without prosecution methods. Of course the NPP also would claim they were following a culture of public theft under the NDC which has continued from the illegal regime of Jerry Rawlings and his PNDC. President Mills is now calling for all payments of the government in the last 20 or so years before any action is taken! That will never end up in any prosecution of anybody! In Ghana this will never end. It is symptomatic of a clever thief’s strategy.

What we need to answer is if President Mills, the same man called Professor Atta Mills, humble man of peace, a professed good Christian, trusted by friends and allies, was involved in, knew of, or approved this massive con game and public theft!
If Mills was not aware, why not! Where was he? Did this case which took several months, never get discussed at Cabinet meetings? Who will believe this?

The sad conclusion –
In conclusion, whether this Woyome case gets prosecuted is another matter, but we all need to know the truth. So far simple logic indicates the President was aware of it since no Minister in our native land of ours, Betty Mould Iddrisu, a woman who seems modest and even said she herself is poor, will dare approve or authorize disbursement cited as from $30 million (Ghc48 million or so at Ghc1.6/$) to $37 million (Ghc59 million) and write a letter asking the Minister of Finance to pay it, without the President knowing about it. No way! The Minister of Finance also cannot convince anybody he did this without ever informing the President.

There is no way on earth or Heaven President Mills is going to get away without the truth coming out. His firing of the Attorney General Martin Amidu makes the case more suspicious! The resignation of former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Betty Mould Iddrisu will not solve the matter or let it go away.
It is better those close to President Mills to advise him to do the right thing and do it now! The EOCO investigation would seem to be in conflict. I know in our Ghanaian and African culture we are usually “afraid” of confrontating our elders, employers, Professors and leaders. However this is critical for the survival of the man, his adopted political party, his own personal character and integrity, and for the sustenance and viability of our democracy.
It is highly recommended:
1. The speaker of the House of Parliament, in cooperation with the Chief Justice, take the leadership role and appoint an independent Judicial panel with power to submit all findings to the courts for prosecution. Cases like this have happened in the US during the Water Gate incidence where President Richard Nixon was implicated. The result was an impeachment hearing and the resignation of President Nixon.
2. The courts should order Mr. Woyome to refund the moneys to an Escrow account immediately till this case settles. A temporary freezing of assets will be a good idea.
3. All parties involved or implicated, including the former President Kufuor and current President Atta Mills, former Attorney General Betty Mould Iddrisu and Martin Amidu and all employees of the AG office should refrain from any public statements until they are called to testify. Incumbent President Mills should make himself available for inquiry.
4. A time limit should be given for this independent investigation, and should not go beyond six months! Some of the people involved were associated with the PNDC commissions of inquiry or other investigations in which people suspected were given a week or two to produce all their evidence or condemned, and some had assets seized. With all the back-door tea drinking and brown-envelope emoluments, this case should be put on a fast track and ruled at least two months before the November elections.

All the best,
Kwaku A. Danso, PhD (Email: k.danso@comcast.net)
President- Ghana Leadership Union and Moderator, GLU Forum

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