A few months ago, when the disgraced former chairman of the Ghana Football Association, Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi, was caught red handed on video accepting a colossal sum of 65,000 dollars to help facilitate access to the President, Mr. Nana Akuffo Addo, Ghanaians were thrown into a state of shock and total bemusement.
Here, after all, was a public official, brazenly and nakedly engaging in an act of corruption without any remorse; small wonder therefore that calls for his head, for his immediate termination and eventual prosecution were swift. Mr. Nyantakyi subsequently resigned his post on his own volition, and has since kept a low profile.
The wheels of justice in Ghana, as we all know, turn at an annoyingly and depressingly slow pace; in fact, prosecutions are such long drawn out legal processes that they frequently leave Ghanaians suspicious and distrustful of the legal system.
In societies where the reverse is true, Mr. Nyantakyi possibly could have had his day in court to argue his innocence and to justify his disgraceful actions captured on video. Ghanaians, indeed, are eager to see the former GFA boss pay for his alleged crimes if he is found guilty. Just ask the ordinary man on the street.
However, the fact that he is still walking free is not only deeply suspicious, it lends credence to the widely held perception that the dispensation of justice in Ghana, is heavily flawed, and unjustly favors the well-connected and those with immense political and financial clout.
The man, Mr. Nyantakyi, had no compunction breaking our laws, yet, it is taking eons ---- a very long time ---- to bring him to justice? And, the one government official who is obligated by the duties of her office to clarify matters related to the Nyantakyi case, has only made them worse. In effect, she has cast a cloud of ambiguity on the issue
The attorney General and minister for Justice, Mrs. Gloria Akuffo Addo, in a stunning statement, while answering a question about the case on Rainbow Radio on Thursday, remarked that there is a distinct possibility that Mr. Nyantakyi will walk; translated, he won’t be prosecuted for violating the laws of the land.
The reason she advanced was just as absurd as it was eye – popping: there wasn’t enough evidence as it were, to prosecute the former GFA boss. Wow. Unbelievable and simply amazing.
The nation’s leading prosecutor more or less pointed an accusing finger at the Criminal Investigation Division of the Police Service for not doing due diligence. The agency, she said, has not yet furnished her with evidence incriminating Mr. Nyantakyi.
Mrs. Addo’s statement at face value, is deeply troubling for a variety of reasons. In the first place, she has unwittingly created the impression that the government is trying to protect Mr. Nyantakyi because someone in Jubilee House may have had a hand in the scandal.
In addition, her unfortunate assertion, reaffirms a longstanding belief among Ghanaians, which is that, if you don’t have deep pockets, plenty of money in the bank, the justice system will chew you up and spit you out without batting an eye.
In hindsight, the country would have been better served if Mrs. Addo had just keep her lips zipped, her mouth shut until she had evidence implicating or exonerating Mr. Nyantakyi.