President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has vowed to disown any public official found to be engaged in acts of corruption or malfeasance, emphatic that he would ensure that the laws were applied fully, without fear or favour.
He has thus urged Ghanaians to help him in the fight against corruption, “so that we can put that Ghana behind us, and get a new deal for our country.”
President Akufo-Addo said this when he addressed a meeting of Ghanaians resident in Sierra Leone on Wednesday, as part of his one-day working visit to Sierra Leone, marking the commencement of the third phase of his working visits to the ECOWAS countries.
He disclosed that the recent news of the arrest of some Customs officials responsible for the loss of some GH¢1.2 billion in revenue to the state was part of the efforts his government was making to block revenue leakages at the country’s ports.
“That money was going, not into the government’s coffers, but into private pockets. We have importers who evade duty because they split the duty with customs officials. It cannot continue like that in Ghana,” the President said.
“I want to assure you that, so long as I have the opportunity, and I have breath and power, I am going to do something about it, so we can stop the leakages. I know that if we stop the leakages, we will have the money to do our own development. We are not going to be dependent on some people coming to say they are going to give us charity or grants. We will finance our own development ourselves.”
The President stressed that “when people get caught up in the net, I am imploring people not to come to me and say that ‘Oh! Nana, this man is my relative, so spare him’. That is the problem in Ghana. You find people going to speak to your wife with the hope of trying to influence you. I am not going to listen to that, because my concern is Ghana and not one or two individuals.”
Reiterating his commitment to depoliticise the prosecution of corruption in Ghana, as prosecutions carried out by the Attorney General are described as “witch-hunting” by opponents, President Akufo-Addo stated that “we are going to create the Office of Special Prosecutor, who will not be a creature of the government, but will be an independent person who will have the power to decide who to prosecute. So it will not be Akufo-Addo, but it is the law that is working.”
President Akufo-Addo indicated that in the next meeting of Parliament, the legislation setting up the Office of Special Prosecutor would be laid before the House, and “hopefully, by the second half of this year, the office would be up and working.”
He stated that “we want to turn a new page in the history of our country. We are a rich country. I refuse this idea that Ghana is poor. I will not accept the language that Ghana is poor. Ghana is not a poor country. Ghana is a rich country, and we want to make it a rich country once again in our time. We all need to work hard to realise the wealth of our country.”