By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Monday, October 6, 2014
The Supreme Court gave an order that Alfred Agbesi Woyome should refund the 51 or more million Cedis to the national coffers. It is past many months now and we don’t know what has happened to that court order. Has Woyome yet refunded the money to the state?
If he hasn’t why hasn’t he? What is preventing him from doing so? Is he willfully flouting the Court’s order and still going strong just because he hasn’t yet relinquished as the financier of the both the NDC and the NPP ? (After all, being a clever thief, he knows how to play his cards so he can still be favoured whether it is the NDC or the NPP that is in power. If you doubt it, just do a quick tracing of the steps that he took to win goodwill within the NPP camp while at the same time using his substance to nurture the NDC. Such clever thieves really endanger our democracy).
I won’t be surprised at all to be told that Woyome hasn’t paid a pesewa to date. The truth of it all resides in the way the political system functions to becloud our democracy and to create the false impression that might is still right. The course travelled by Woyome has been long and tortuous; but the end for him came when the Court exposed all that he did as fraudulent and ordered him to cough out whatever he wrongfully swallowed and fattened himself with. To date, we don’t know whether the court’s order has been carried out.
Who is to carry out this order? The police or a particular government institution outside the judicial wing? And why isn’t anything being done to enforce the court’s order? Or am I missing anything here?
When the Woyome case broke out, I was quick to say that characters of Woyome’s type posed serious a danger to our democracy because they had turned themselves into PIRATES operating on the land. Some Woyome admirers like my own good friend, Michael Dokosi, didn’t agree with me and took me on, claiming that Woyome did nothing wrong. To them, Woyome was unduly treated by the Kufuor government and EARNED the judgement debt payment. They insisted that he worked for it and must be left in peace. I refused to accept their explanation, even daring some of them who claimed to have incontrovertible evidence to back their stance to make that evidence available to me. None could. When Martin Amidu took it upon himself to pursue the matter and won, I laughed the Woyome backers to scorn all the more.
I did so with a clean conscience and a clean mind because I had no doubt in my mind that characters of Woyome’s type and those backing him—especially those government officials and staff of the Ministry of Finance who facilitated the payment of the judgement debt—acted irresponsibly to endanger public will.
I was more than convinced that the well-coordinated efforts to pay the judgement debt to Woyome were symptomatic of the weaknesses in our system that crafty (or cunning) insiders could easily take undue advantage of. Such is the case when nobody acts responsibly.
Nothing endangers our democracy more than this kind of irresponsible behaviour, especially on the part of those in high places of governance. Such an irresponsible behaviour translates into the numerous instances of abject corruption that have surfaced and dented this Mahama-led government’s image beyond repair at this stage, apparently because the government itself isn’t acting responsibly to solve the problems that have culminated in the rot.
If it were acting responsibly, it would have taken drastic measures to ensure that the culprits are punished and that the public money stolen by them is recouped without let or hindrance. Of course, the government has the ultimate power to call the shots, which it hasn’t called in all these cases. Merely pushing that the culprits be prosecuted is nothing but a face-saving half-hearted measure. In the numerous cases of corruption (e.g., GYEEDA, SUBAH, and now the National Service Secretariat), what has the government put in place to prove that it is seriously protecting the public interest? Nothing. It’s all dirty talk!!
I am being very purposeful here and should be taken as such. In the case of Woyome, the point is that although the deal was not perpetrated under President Mahama’s watch, it has turned out to have a huge negative impact on it, apparently because of how it was exposed and pursued to its logical conclusion. And the government’s own lopsided attitude and approach to handling issues hasn’t helped matters.
The exposure was made by the gasbag Kennedy Agyapong, NPP MP for Assin Central, which automatically gave the matter the bilious political coloration that would suit the NPP’s agenda. Then, the government hesitated, creating more room for its credibility to be attacked. When it emerged that the main architects of the judgement debt paid to Woyome were none other but high-profile government functionaries (Betty Mould-Iddrissu and Barton Odro), the matter took on a whole new dimension altogether. It has turned out to be the Mahama-led government’s major problem, shifting emphasis away from Kufuor and the late Mills’ part in it.
That is where the matter has been dragged to date. It has been added to the tall list of egregious corrupt acts that jump to mind in respect of the failings of this Mahama-led administration. Nothing can wash it off. That is why one should continue to wonder why th4 government isn’t acting seriously to tackle it.
Why is it difficult for the government to ensure that the court’s order against Woyome is enfor4ced to the hilt?
Believe it or not, even if Woyome refunds the money, this case will remain a hot cake for Election 20126. It will be used against the government, even as the others provide their own hue to be added to it. If the government really wants to clean its own slate, it must act decisively in this matter. Woyome must refund the money and further action taken to prosecute and jail him. All others involved in this fraud must also be smoked out and punished.
Barton Odro still remains in a high reckoning in Parliament despite the mud that he has slung against himself in this Woyome case. In civilized democracies, he would have danced to the very tune that he called for himself; but not in Ghana’s case, where the democracy being practised is nothing but a façade behind which those with political connections can do anything at all and go away unscathed.
I am not surprised that for over 4 years now, neither the government nor Parliament can do anything concrete for the Right to Information bill to be acted on so ordinary citizens seeking information on happenings in public office can be served. Those in charge of affairs are more than afraid of their own shadows and will not give anybody the hatchet with which to cut them down. Such is the democracy that they want us to practise, and which they have succeeded in institutionalizing. Poor Ghana!!
This is where I blame Ghanaian journalists too for not being bold or daring (or even professional) in their work. They are more satisfied with waiting for press release3s from people and institutions to recycle into boring news reports than taking the initiative to follow up on cases of the sort involving Woyome so Ghanaians can be updated on developments. These journalists (if they are worth labelling as such, apparently because almost all of them have turned themselves into ventriloquists for poli6ticians who give them mere pittance to sing their songs in the public sphere) are themselves problems that our democracy has to solve. Why isn’t any of them feeding us on anything regarding the court’s order and what has happened so far? How responsible are they as the so-called Fourth Realm of the Estate? Bootlickers doing overtime for mere pottage!!
For as long as this situation remains unchanged, anybody dreaming of a better Ghana is really stark, staring mad!! Let Woyome and Co. remain protected and our democracy will mature to serve our needs. Duh!!
I shall return…
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