Friday, 30 July

Jailed elite get pardoned, plantain thieves serve full time – Amidu

Amidu the SP

Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, has called on Ghanaian leaders to end the practice of freeing the elite who spend short terms in jail after being convicted for corrupt practices while individuals jailed for misdemeanours rot in prisons for years.

Mr Amidu wants a regime where there will be tougher punishment for officials found to have engaged in corruption so as to make the misconduct a high-risk area to reduce graft in the country.

In his opinion, the country’s systems make corruption fester as public officials often find a way to escape punishment through the aid of political figures.

Mr Amidu, who attributed corruption in institutions to greed, emphasised that the authorities “must make the risk for greed very high to deter people from going there and as long as you don’t do that it will continue”.

Speaking as a guest on online talk show ‘Time with David’, Mr Amidu told the host, David Ampofo that: “It is the political elite who rule the nation, who lower the bar and make corruption a low-risk enterprise and the people can’t do anything about it. Some of them have to join because they must survive”.

The Special Prosecutor expressed worry that: “In Africa, even when the elite are convicted for corruption, they are pardoned in most times. You look at our constitutional history since 1993, almost all those who have been convicted, they are political elite have been pardoned in less than two years and yet when you steal plantain you get five years, 10 years and you serve all your term”.

Mr Amidu noted that the political elite make corruption fight difficult, however, “it can be fixed. “It has been fixed elsewhere and there is no reason Ghana cannot fix it”, he stressed.

He is advocating good and well-resourced institutions, the appointment of officers who are not politically-inclined but professional in their duties and public officers who will not depend on political figures for promotion.