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Remarks By Prez Mills On Muntaka's Case Worrisome - Ghana Integrity Initiative   
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Audio Attachment:Anti-corruption campaigner and Executive Secretary of the GII, Vitus Azeem, in an interview with OmanFM, a radio station based in Accra, opined that President Mills should not have endorsed or tried to justify Muntaka's alleged corruption escapade.

Anti-corruption campaigner and Executive Secretary of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Vitus Azeem.
Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local Chapter of Transparency International (TI), has expressed worry over statements made by President Mills regarding the “Muntaka saga”, when the President met with senior journalists and news editors at the Castle Gardens on Thursday to mark his first anniversary in office.

The GII believes some remarks made by President Mills yesterday smacks of endorsement or in support of Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, former Sports Minister and NDC MP for Asawase, who resigned in the wake of corruption allegations levelled against him by some staff of the Ministry.

The anti-corruption body opines that President Mills’s answers to questions regarding the Muntaka saga is a discouragement to the fight against corruption, which he has touted.

Responding to questions about the handling of the corruption allegations against the former Sports Minister, the president said Muntaka did not resign because of corruption, “there wasn’t corruption, it was because of indiscretion on his part…I think that you are drawing some very, very quick conclusions…you are giving a judgment on the basis of facts which I don’t think can always be verified.”

For resigning his post, President Mills stated that “Muntaka deserves commendation and not condemnation.”

“Are we saying that this is the first time that ministers of state have gone abroad with girl friends, this is the first time that ministers of state have infringed the law, have spent state money on themselves?” The President retorted as Metro TV’s Mary-Anne Acolatse wondered whether accepting Muntaka’s resignation in the face of the allegations was clear enough a demonstration of a serious commitment to fighting corruption on the part of the president.

But this assertion, GII contends, runs contrary to the President’s declaration that he would deal with allegations of corruption without asking for evidence to do so.

Anti-corruption campaigner and Executive Secretary of the GII, Vitus Azeem, in an interview on OmanFM, a radio station based in Accra, was of the view that the President should not have endorsed it or tried to justify it in anyway.

“It goes against the fight against corruption. The fact that (similar acts occurred)…in the past does not justify it and does not make it right,” he stated.

"Declaration Of Assets"

According to him, some pronouncements by President Mills sometimes show that he is committed to the fight against corruption, but then when it comes to taking action to back those pronouncements, he is found wanting.

“After his inauguration, he asked his ministers to declare their assets by a certain date. We don’t know whether they have declared (their assets) or not, and he has backed out. He is not doing anything about it...Didn’t he know in advance that he did not have the power or could not compel the ministers to declare their assets?” Mr. Azeem asked.

He added that, certain actions by the President send discouraging signals to those in the fight against corruption, including the GII.

According to him, most people are now unafraid to indulge in corrupt practices, because instead of it being made to look unprofitable, people regard it as refreshing. “People don’t fear that if they do it, they can be sanctioned,” he stated.

Mr. Vitus Azeem however, stated that the GII has not considered issuing a statement on the President’s comments, but was rather expecting him (President Mills) to retract the statement.

“I think that he will probably withdraw the statement in the not too distant future,” he added.
Source: Alex Ofei/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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