The indictment of Akufo-Addo says a lot more

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Monday, July 6, 2015

The Sole Judgement Debt Commission’s indictment of the NPP’s Akufo-Addo over the controversial circumstances in which the GNPC’s drill ship was disposed of and the money handled during the Kufuor era is nothing to enthuse over even though it has rattled and nettled the Akufo-Addo camp. It is no news after all.

We had known directly the matter cropped up that something really went wrong. Responses from K.T. Hammond and his handing over of the “huhudious” envelope containing documents on the deal that he claimed to have received from a “Good Samaritan” worsened matters. The fire set by his reference to Akufo-Addo in the matter piqued much interest and we expected the Commission to invite Akufo-Addo for grilling. It didn’t but came out with a report indicting him on the transaction. That is the only reason why I will damn the Commission for not being exhaustive in its inquiry. Everything else is no news.

Proceedings were held in the open and we monitored happenings regarding this drill ship to know that something really fishy went on for which all those involved must answer questions and stop crying for public sympathy to boost their political interests.

The indictment teaches lessons on effective leadership to improve governance, and should not be dismissed as any plot to vilify Akufo-Addo. Clearly, Ghana incurred the judgement debts because of the shoddy work (or no work at all) done by the Attorney-General’s Department in defence of national interests; and once Akufo-Addo was in charge of that sector at the time that the GNPC’s drill ship was sold to defray the cost to Societe Generale, he cannot escape blame. No one is saying that he personally sold the ship or profited from the deal. It is all about inefficiency in public office and the controversies that he has been caught up in over the years to portray him from many angles.

Let’s cast the net wider for Akufo-Addo, and we will see that his brush with the Sole Judgement Debt Commission isn’t the first time that he’s been cited in controversial happenings. Such citations remain in public conversation, especially if we consider Akufo-Addo’s attitude to them. In most cases, his reaction has been silence (implying that to him, silence is golden) or the use of loud-mouthed and cowardly ventriloquists of lawyer Nana Bediatuo’s type. By choosing to remain silent whenever put on the spot, Akufo-Addo might have avoided further calumny but it hasn’t freed him yet.

Our net has caught the following instances involving Akufo-Addo:

  1. Alleged fatal motor accident caused by him in the late 1960s, but his not being tried (I remember reading about 5 years ago an opinion piece on Ghanaweb by someone I can’t readily recollect who claimed that Akufo-Addo was shielded by the mafia in the judiciary at the time);
  2. Alleged “vanishing” of diplomatic passports being kept in the vault of his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when he was in charge of that Ministry under Kufuor (The fate of his brother-in-law Amankwaah, who was issued a diplomatic passport at the time but is now doing jail time in Brazil for drug trafficking, speaks volumes);
  3. Drug abuse (The Wikileaks report about diplomatic cables from the United States Embassy and claims by Kwesi Pratt about Akufo-Addo’s smoking of “wee” come to mind);
  4. Controversial circumstances surrounding Akufo-Addo’s leaving Oxford University have been discussed in public discourse about his shortcomings;
  5. The controversy surrounding his legal training at Middle Temple after he had had 3rd Class in Economics at the University of Ghana won’t evaporate just because the mafia in the Judiciary scuttled Justice Kpegah’s suit against him. Indeed, the affidavit filed by his legal team, led by Lawyer Dame, even exposed more about him: the claim that he made about losing his law certificate and the use of entries from a dubious source to attempt dousing the fire only went further to heighten suspicion that he didn’t complete the training to be awarded any certificate. Where he did his pupillage as required by the rigours of Middle Temple’s professional training regimen is still a mystery. Certainly, what he did at the French company (Coudert Freres) soon after his classroom work can’t be considered as pupillage. Where is his law certificate?
  6. The circumstances under which the General Legal Council admitted him to the Bar still remain ridiculous, especially if we return to the document that Akufo-Addo’s legal team produced in support of his affidavit in response to Justice Kpegah’s suit.
  7. The claim by Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings that Akufo-Addo wasn’t a “lawyer”, which touched raw nerves but was swiftly dismissed before Justice Kpegah’s suit. In fact, sources revealed that an earlier suit against Akufo-Addo on that score had been filed in 1977 but not heard. When the mafia in the Judiciary purpose in their hearts to defend one of their own, they do so with much vigour, violence and determination.

There may be more of such controversies involving Akufo-Addo, which suggests that he is not merely the target of vilification by his political opponents as implied by the interpretation being given his indictment by the Sole Judgement Debt Commission. What manner of man is this who is caught up in such controversies? No other Ghanaian politician is suffering so much. Why Akufo-Addo alone?

In choosing to rely on his legal team to do damage control for him, Akufo-Addo has opened himself to doubt and emerges as a weakling. Why can’t he take the bull by its large horns in front of him instead of running behind it to grab its tail? Records confirm that many political figures worldwide caught up in controversies threatening their political career (especially those having to do with their waywardness in abusing drugs or for being incontinent) have openly come clean and earned credit for doing so. Why can’t Akufo-Addo follow suit to clean his own slate?

Using Nana Bediatuo and Co. to attempt intimidating people in the hope that such an action will cut short the discourse won’t work. This is not the first time that Nana Bediatuo would have threatened to go to court over Akufo-Addo’s public image. He loudly threatened to sue anybody commenting on Akufo-Addo’s drug abuse; but he hasn’t had the courage to do so. We want to tell him that the worms squirming in Akufo-Addo’s can are restless. We urge him to go to court over this Sole Judgement Debt Commission’s indictment so the worms can leap out into the open and be free!!

I have read his reaction to the indictment and laughed it off as a mere empty boast. So also have I dismissed his use of emotive language to paint the Commission and Justice Apau black. Even though I have condemned the Commission for not hearing from Akufo-Addo before indicting him, I am of the strong opinion that taking a court action against the Commission won’t redound to Akufo-Addo’s political interests, intents and purposes. It will rather worsen his public standing.

I am not a lawyer to know the intricacies of such a suit, but I can tell that it will be a non-starter. What will be the charge? Defamation of character?

And the reliefs? What will the plaintiff be looking for? That the Commission’s report is skewed against him and should, therefore, not be accepted and a government White Paper issued on it? Or that the report should be rejected because the Commission didn’t hear his evidence? Or that the Commission’s report indicting him should be discarded just because the Commission failed to do a proper work? Or that those accused of misapplying the proceeds shouldn’t be punished just because he wasn’t heard?

It will be interesting to read the contents of such a suit for further comment. In any case, I am certain that the hot air being blown by Akufo-Addo and his legal team will soon evaporate and nothing will be done to sue the Commission. It is just an impulsive reaction to the indictment that Akufo-Addo fears is harming his political interests.

Folks, there is a lot to talk about, which is why I don’t see the Commission’s indictment of Akufo-Addo as anything to turn my crank in any different direction. I foresaw it long before now. It is just a matter of the chips falling in place.

Conclusion? Ghana cannot be redeemed by weaklings who blow their own horns of incorruptibility but fail to exert the required force to prevent those around them from being corrupt and corruptible. On that score, two of Ghana’s leaders emerge for comment. The Great Osagyefo didn’t steal Ghana’s assets; the late John Atta Mills didn’t either. But it cannot be said of their appointees, especially when the leaders couldn’t act decisively to plug the loopholes or when those crafty appointees outwitted the system to loot the coffers.

Akufo-Addo says he won’t be in power to steal Ghana’s money; but can he protect that money against being stolen by those around him? A good leader does so. And that is what Ghana deserves.

To me, then, Akufo-Addo stands indicted (whether heard or not heard by the Commission) for being incompetent or criminally involved in the conspiracy leading to the disposal of the drill ship to the blind side of the other arms of government and Ghanaians, generally. State property shouldn’t be disposed of that way. He can proceed to court, but it won’t change our impressions about him.

We see his posturing of being incorruptible as paradoxical; it is a mere hot air, a nonsensical ruse. What will Ghana gain if the leader doesn’t steal money/national assets (or is not corrupt) but his appointees do so because that leader is a weakling? It takes more than the ongoing posturing by Akufo-Addo to prove that he is not culpable in the matter concerning the drill ship, which is why the hollow noise from his apologists against his indictment is not only ill-advised but is also ridiculous in its vulgarity.

I shall return…

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