By Francis Kwarteng for ghanatoday.com
It came out during Minister-designate for Finance, Ken Ofori Atta’s vetting that he has an offshore account. This is a very serious matter of public interest that requires further plumbing.
Because, in our opinion, we view it is an important matter of public interest that should never be swept under the rug just to please the powers that be, or any body of persons for that matter. Otherwise, we will never see any need tagging the vetting process and the new administration with transparency.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) campaigned on an electioneering plank of transparency, accountability and probity and at this point it will not speak well of the party if it turns its back on this plank.
This is now how to do serious politics given the NPP’s vicious muckraking campaign against the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a party undeserving of the loyalty and support of Ghanaians. The reasons for this are public knowledge. There is therefore no need belaboring the spate of corruption scandals that rocked the very foundation of the NDC and its corrupt leadership.
Thus plumbing the matter further will be in the best interest of Akufo-Addo and his government, of Ken himself, if they so much as want to convince Ghanaians that that captivating electioneering and sloganeering plank was—and is still—not an empty rhetoric meant to hoodwink.
In other words the NPP and its leadership must prove to Ghanaians they are morally different from the NDC and its erstwhile leadership, although the facts also clearly confirm the NDC and the NPP as being corrupt, as being gross managers of the public purse, as being ideologically clueless and wicked, and so forth.
That notwithstanding, without mincing words Alhaji Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini, the Member of Parliament for Tamale North, states the case as it generally ought to be:
“In relation to the off-shore account I impugn no ill-motives to the nominee for finance, but we all do know the potentials offshore accounts have in terms of how it can be used for money laundering and tax invasion. And for me it is important for us as citizens for us to know the interest that our Finance Minister has on such an account, so that even maybe it can be monitored…
“I think that it should be of worry to every Ghanaian. And again without impugning any ill-motive, it’s just proper that we satisfy ourselves…”
Ghanaians should not allow political theologian and businessman Ken’s soft-spoken demeanor to carry them away. Already we are seeing the Akyem Mafia, cronyism and nepotism making a strong comeback in Akufo-Addo’s inner cabinet.
Ken, a direct blood relative of Akufo-Addo, is one of such. Thus, we do not want to see a situation where the executive presidency is turned into a kleptocratic dynasty.
Also Ken, a leading member of Mensa Otabil’s Church—the International Central Gospel Church—should come clean with information about his offshore account. He should prove to Ghanaians that he is as clean as the bully pulpit of Otabil’s.
After all, Jesus did not have an offshore account and even if he did we are certain he would not have resisted any calls to demonstrate transparency if he came before the Sanhedrin. Ken should therefore strive to follow the prime example of Jesus and set his conscience and the public at ease on this important matter of public interest, for, we also strongly believe, among other things that the path from the Finance Ministry and the public purse to offshore accounts is an unbelievably straight line.
Beyond that, Akufo-Addo and his political appointees should also publicly declare their assets and liabilities to prove their seriousness about fighting institutional corruption and about fulfilling their campaign promises of transparency, accountability and probity.
Anything short of this policy request will definitely spell disaster for this administration. We wait to see whether they truly intend honoring these promises. Ghanaians are closely watching.
Finally, while Suhuyini’s courageous suggestion is highly commendable, we will also implore our leaders to pass the Freedom of Information Bill (FOIB) in addition to other anti-corruption bills left to go rusty for reasons of political expediency and convenience.
Ghana is bigger than any political party’s interest. We cannot overstate this statement of fact.
Ghanaweb. “Ken Ofori Atta’s Off-shore Account Needs Further Probe—Suhuyini.” January 23, 2017.