I am asking about how exactly the parties are looking to fight corruption which is a big issue. And as we know, that those who give us money to help our development have noted and complain that as much as $3 billion is unaccounted for in this country each year.
Well, I am saying that to tell you a story.
Corruption is a very difficult thing to fight. Not exactly difficult, but in prosecuting it, there is a big issue. And the big issue is that it happens in darkness, and because that is how it happens if the person who is making the allegation is the one who must prove at all cost everything about it, it becomes a really difficult thing.
Now, first I need to start that, the continue reframe by the political parties about raising and making corruption a high-risk offence. That is not what we need, because that is a misleading representation and crusade that the parties have conveniently done over the years.
That corruption is not a high-risk offence. Corruption is a high-risk offence in Ghana here. They continue to speak to the old position of the law which made corruption a misdemeanour.
Which meant that the sanction you were to suffer if you were to be punished under corruption was not more than three years in jail.
Well we made a change to that, the law in 1960 made it a misdemeanor, but in 1965, we decided to elevate the punishment for corruption offences from misdemeanor to felony with a maximum of 25 years in prison.
So what we really need is enforce the law and not continue this reframing about it is not a high risk so we will amend the law to make it a felony, it’s punished as a felony that is the most important thing.
So I think it’s rather embarrassing that the parties, the political parties and people who ought to know continue to tell us that we will want to change the law before, don’t change the law, simply enforce the law.
And as I have asked often and again, Ace Ankomah has also been asking, there is this one very scant but monstrous 6 sectioned one-page law. It is known as Government Contract Protective Act passed as far back as 1979.
A very active law which deals with procurement, we know the procurement that is where the heavy corruption is.
So we passed this law as far back as 1979 and by this law if you deal in project and procurement and you make fraudulent payment or what the law calls force certification it will attract a refund of up to three time the value of the contract sum from you and you could go to jail for up to 10 years .
Guess what there is no record in this country of this law ever used by those who prosecute. And article 88 of this constitution, it is the Attorney General who must prosecute. So why do we not use the law, the laws are there, the question is why are you not using it?
And perhaps, my little suggestion which I have made over time is, is it possible to look at an amendment rather if we really want to amend?
Look at an amendment that looks at, perhaps, changing the procedural rules in fighting corruption where we substitute the civil law countries rules of evidences for our common law country rules.
By our common law country rules, you allege, you prove but the civil law country rules , you allege the one that is allege against of course there are clear rules about it, must prove that he could afford what he has done .
If it is a property, if it’s a car you’ve bought, if it a house you have bought we simply ask, you are a journalists Samson, how much are you paid at the end of the month, what is the source of the money?
Guess what our constitution says unexplained wealth, is actually supposed to be taken from us. The laws are there let’s stop this too much talk and just enforce the laws
Source: Samson Lardy Anyenini