Your penchant to absolve your appointees of wrongdoing a dent on the deteriorating image of office of president – Mahama to Akufo-Addo
Former President John Dramani Mahama has said it is “unacceptable that President Nana Akufo-Addo has consistently put pressure on state anti-corruption institutions by announcing clearance of appointees and companies that are under investigation for wrongdoing.”
His comment comes on the back of the President’s defense of Akonta Mining Limited, a company owned by the Ashanti regional chairman of the President’s party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which is being investigated for illegal mining.
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The ministry of lands and natural resources stopped the company from its mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western North Region a few months ago for engaging in illegal mining.
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However, speaking at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association held in Koforidua, after the chairman of the occasion, Mr Ken Ashigbey, a staunch anti-galamsey advocate, raised the issue, the president responded thus: “Let me respond briefly to the chairperson on the issue of illegal mining: I want to assure him and all of you that Akonta Mining is not engaged in any illegal mining anywhere in Ghana as we speak”.
“Further, the president added, the ministry of lands and natural resources has, through the agency of the forestry commission, with the assistance of the military, made the effort to cordon off all 294 sites of forest reserves in the country and rid them of illegal mining as we speak.”
Reacting to what appears to be the President’s defense of the company, Mr Mahama in a Facebook post noted that “the penchant by the president to absolve his appointees and other close associates of any wrongdoing as he has done with the ongoing investigations into the operations of Akonta Mining Company is a serious dent on the already deteriorating image of the Office of the President.”
“As though proud of that dishonourable badge, ‘the clearing agent’, Nana Akufo-Addo has yet again justified the appropriateness of his nickname with the seeming presidential exoneration of Akonta Mining, a company owned by a member of his political party (NPP) and accused of illegal gold mining in the country’s forest reserves.
“The shocking impudence is how and when he even did that at a public event called by the country’s catholic clergy,” Mr Mahama added.
Mr Mahama alleged that “fortunately, and unfortunately, we are told by the owner of Akonta Mining that the Minister has explained to him they were forced to unwillingly act against his company because of public pressure from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), CSOs and NGOs. He also very alarmingly said the President called him ostensibly to appease him over Government’s action and that the Office of Special Prosecutor cannot touch him.”
This the former President described as a sad commentary for a country that has in the past been held up in Africa as the poster boy for rule of law and democratic governance.
This “sad development”, he noted, also erodes the years of hard work, which has earned Ghana international appeal in climate change and sustainable development discourse globally.
In addition, Mr Mahama said the President’s comment cannot be allowed to override or become a substitute for the statutory mandate granted the investigative bodies of Ghana by the Constitution.
“Such acts fly in the face of justice and the fight against corruption, and of course erodes the faith of our citizens in our democracy,” he stated.
Mr Mahama noted that as enjoined by the country’s National Anthem to “cherish fearless honesty” and “resist oppressors’ rule,” Ghanaians must support the anti-corruption institutions to carry out their duties fairly and courageously without undue interference by any influences.