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NPP Should Tread Carefully in Prosecuting Corruption


President Akuffo Addo, from all indications, is determined to fulfill one of his campaign promises, that of weeding out corruption in high places.  To this end, he has pushed hard for the creation of the office of Special Prosecutor.

And he may get his wish. Though the bill is currently stalled in parliament largely for procedural errors, it is by no means certain that it will eventually pass. After all, Mr. Addo has the majority in parliament.

And once the bill is given much needed oxygen, the floodgates will be opened for the public humiliation of past officials of the Mahama administration. There is no doubt in my mind that the NPP is clearly salivating at the prospect of bringing those in the former administration perceived to have had their hands in the cookie jar — stolen public funds — to justice.

There is nothing fundamentally amiss with prosecuting wrong doers, especially those who have betrayed the public trust. However, if the prosecution eventually turns into a witch hunt, if it becomes an exercise in settling political scores and hauling political enemies off to jail, then the noble intention behind the prosecution would have been defeated.

This then calls for the NPP to tread carefully in its zeal to stamp out corruption and graft; charges brought against former government officials should be replete with irrefutable evidence, squeaky clean, air tight and able to stand intense scrutiny from defense attorneys. And, of course, the rights of the accused should be respected as laid out in our constitution.

No one has qualms about punishing those who enriched themselves at the expense of the Ghanaian public. The NPP is well within its constitutional rights to pursue this goal, but it is going to be the legal litmus test for the party.

A lot of questions will be raised once the prosecution gets under way. Will the NPP be pursuing justice in the interest of the general public, or will it, by prosecuting past government officials, be bowing to the whims of some of its most ardent supporters?

Is it just going to limit prosecution to the Mahama administration and will it look back to the days of the Kufour government when corruption was widespread? We will see.

Let us not shy away from the implications of any prosecution: it has the potential to further tear the country apart, at least, politically. Political divisions are to be expected, but once exacerbated, they can lead to ugly things.

Additionally, prosecution will distract the government from the important things at hand —pursuing and fulfilling all of its commitments to the Ghanaian public.

The economy is sluggish, and Ghanaians want a reprieve from the untold hardships. I hope the NPP keeps this in mind when it begins what will arguably be a witch hunt of a prosecution.


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