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JJ Is Not Corrupt But Can Konadu Claim Same?   
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Monitoring reactions of Ghanaians to last week’s acquittal and discharge of business magnate, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, in the GHC51m judgment scandal, it became obvious many Ghanaians believe the country’s longest ruler, Jerry John Rawlings, was incorruptible, however, they say same cannot be said of his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings.

In a swift reaction to the verdict of an Accra Fast Tract High Court presided by Justice John Ajet-Assam, former President Rawlings described Mr Woyome as a thief who was set free due to the complicity of politicians and what he termed sloppy work by state prosecutors.

Mr Agbesi Woyome was last week cleared of any wrongdoing in the infamous GHC 51m judgment debt paid him by the Mills administration following what he (Woyome) described as unlawful abrogation of contract for the construction of stadia under the Kufuor government.

Although the court acquitted and discharged him over charges of willfully causing financial loss to the state and defrauding by false pretenses, the National Democratic Congress founder insisted that the businessman was a thief.

Speaking in fluent Ga, during a courtesy call on him by family of his late body guard, W/O Isaac Tetteh, Mr Rawlings, who until late 2008 was always seen accompanying his wife to court over similar charges by the Kufuor government angrily stated:

“This is the extent of corruption I keep talking about. I just read that they have freed the thief called Woyome. Why, because his accomplices (Betty Mould-Iddrisu and one other) in government were not produced in court for interrogation to provide vital evidence to incriminate him.”

But, Mr. Rawlings’ comments on the judgment delivered by the court drew mixed reactions. While lawyers for Mr Woyome decried his comments as very unfortunate, especially coming from an elder statesman who should more than appreciate the essence of rule of law and supremacy of the constitution; many callers and texters into radio and TV programs monitored in Accra were less charitable, especially supporters of his governing NDC.

Contributor after contributor, on the airwaves in Accra monitored by The aL-hAJJ last week, although disappointed with the comments of the former Air force-pilot-turned President, they rather turned their blazing guns on Mr Rawlings’ soul mate and spouse, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.

Predictably, none of the contributors directly cited Rawlings of personally involved in corruption in his nearly 20 years at the helm of affairs of this country as Head of State.

The contributors rather called on Rawlings to speak to what many of them believed was the corrupt deals of his wife, Nana Konadu, in the reprehensible acquisition of several state properties across the country during his (Rawlings) tenure as president.

Most of them cited Konadu’s ‘dubious’ acquisition of GIHOC Nsawam Cannery, defunct GNTC properties and the infamous Star Hotel lands among others.

Mr Rawlings has on numerous occasions given himself a clean bill of health on corruption, but has chided all governments before him and after him of being tainted with corruption.

While many Ghanaians across the political spectrum agree the NDC founder may not have been corrupt while in office, renowned Ghanaian international diplomat, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, did not include him in his list of incorruptible Ghanaian leaders during a public lecture last year.

Delivering the second John Atta Mills annual memorial lecture in Accra in July 2014, the respected Ghanaian diplomat singled out Ghana’s first president, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and late President John Mills as two Ghanaian leaders who cannot be accused of corruption.

“It is significant to note that, in the period of increased public scrutiny of their leaders and the obsession with corruption, no one in Ghana or abroad has been able to point accusing fingers at two Leaders- Kwame Nkrumah and John Evans Atta Mills- for corruption or accumulating wealth at the expense of the country or the taxpayer," he stated.

It is however unclear where Dr Ibn Chambas, who served in the government of former President Rawlings as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and subsequently deputy Minister of Education places the NDC founder on the chat of incorruptible Ghanaian heads of state.

It is a truism that not even Mr Rawlings’ political adversaries cites him in any corruptible act let alone to call for his prosecuting, a development that manifested during the eight year rule of ex-president Kufuor and the New Patriotic Party where; Mrs Rawlings instead was charged and arraigned before court over corruption charges.

Until the exit of the Kufuor administration from office on January 7, 2009, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, Mr. Emmanuel Agbodo, former Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee, Thomas Benson Owusu, former DIC Accountant, Mr. Kwame Peprah, former Finance Minister and DIC board Chairman as well as Fanny Sherry Ayittey, Director of Carridem Development Company Limited, were charge in court with eight counts of conspiracy, causing loss to public property, dishonestly obtaining public property by false pretences, obtaining public property by false statement, conspiracy to utter forged documents and uttering forged documents.

In 2002, the Auditor-General, pursuant to Article 187(2) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 11 of the Audit Service Act 200 (Act 584), conducted a routine audit of the DIC.

In the course of the audit, the A-G discovered a lot of discrepancies in connection with the divestiture of the GIHOC Nsawam Cannery Limited, and so started investigation of the divestiture and that later led to the court action.

The former first lady, who, since leaving the ruling party in 2012 has been accusing NDC officials and government as being corrupt, got a breather when President Kufuor and the NPP, just before exiting office, applied to an Accra Fast Truck Court, presided by Justice Edward Asante for the discontinuation of her trial.

Even though Mr. Woyome’s trial travelled its full length and was not truncated under the guise of reconciliation as Mr. Rawlings’ wife, Nana Konadu, benefitted, the former president was publicly outrage at the judgment;

“This is the extent of corruption I keep talking about. I just read that they have freed the thief called Woyome. Why, because his accomplices [Betty Mould-Iddrisu and one other] in government were not produced in court for interrogation to provide vital evidence to incriminate him.”

He therefore blamed the state prosecutors for failing to produce the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Madam Betty Mould-Iddrisu, and her then deputy, Ebo Barton-Odro, who is currently the 1st deputy speaker of Parliament and NDC MP for Cape Coast North.

“At the Attorney General’s office, those who collaborated, who should have been called, have been left off the hook. How then do you sentence Woyome? Then we say we are fighting corruption. We are not serious,” he stated.
Source: The Al-Hajj

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