…But Leaves Olympic Officials Hanging
President Nana Akufo-Addo, has once again suggested, there was no single act of corruption in his government with the announcement that the suspended Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, Pius Enam Hadzide, will be reinstated today.
He, however, failed to mention the status of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) officials, including the Chef-de Maison for the Commonwealth games, Mohammed Sahnoon and Ben Nunoo-Mensah, GOC President, who he recalled from the Australia Commonwealth games to answer questions on Visa racketeering and human trafficking.
The suspended acting National Sports Authority (NSA) Director-General, Robert Sarfo Mensah and Board Chair of the NSA, Kwadwo Baah Agyemang, did not get a mention.
He said an independent investigation done by the Ghana Police Service into the Australia Commonwealth games visa scandal showed that Mr Hadzide, was not complicit in the crime. He is, however, yet to make public the police report.
Speaking at the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) 26th delegates’ conference on Saturday at Koforidua, Akufo-Addo, said “yesterday, on my return in the evening from the State Visit to South Africa, I received the Police report on the Australia visa scandal, which has exonerated the suspended Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports from any complicity in the visa fraud. I will lift his suspension on Monday, and return him to office”.
The same Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) led by its boss, DCOP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, had cleared two deputy Chiefs of Staff; Francis Asenso–Boakye and Samuel Abu Jinapor of clear corruption in the A-plus-Korle Bu- Unibank saga.
The CID Director-General, was later revealed in an audiotape begging Controversial musician and comedian, Kwame Asare-Obeng alias A-Plus, to help protect the image of the Akufo-Addo government over the matter.
Recently, some security guards at the Flagstaff House, were arrested over a robbery and gang rape at East Legon in Accra, once again, the police issued a statement denying the suspect s took part in the crime.
Some of the accounts of the law enforcement institution were disputed. Kikibees Restaurant and Lounge Bar at East Lagon in Accra, where musician Tic Tac was mentioned as having performed a musical event on the day of the incident and where Issah Muniru, an officer working with the Operations Team of the Flagstaff House set off to attend, told The Herald it did not host the musician on the day, meaning the police lied to cover up the robbery and gang rape.
Akufo-Addo, insists that his government would continue to ensure that allegations of corruption leveled against any of his appointees is duly investigated to ensure accountability.
Pius Hadzide, who was suspended in April 2018, over the matter said at the time he was hopeful of being exonerated after a probe into the circumstances that led to the arrest of the 60 Ghanaians, who had allegedly attempted to enter Australia by false pretenses in the 21st Commonwealth Games.
Mr Hadzide, said he knows nothing about the scandal or how the 60 people, who faked their identities got visas to Australia for the games.
“After the investigations, they’ll realise that I know nothing about it and I’ll be exonerated,” he said.
“We have seen greater accountability of public officials. The allegations of corruption and or misconduct against the two Deputy Chiefs of Staff at the Presidency, against the Minister-designate for Energy, against the Minister for Trade and Industry in the so-called cash-for-seat scandal, against the suspended Upper West Regional Minister, were investigated by independent agencies, i.e. the Police or Parliament, and found to be baseless and without foundation”, he said adding “That was the basis for my lifting the suspension against the Upper West Regional Minister, and returning him to his office”.
“Yesterday, on my return in the evening from the State Visit to South Africa, I received the Police report on the Australia visa scandal, which has exonerated the suspended Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports from any complicity in the visa fraud. I will lift his suspension on Monday, and return him to office” he claimed.
He promised “I will maintain this approach during my entire tenure. The same principle of accountability motivated Government’s decision to call for a Police inquiry into the conduct of the then President of the Ghana Football Association, as revealed in the now famous Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ Number 12 documentary, and to begin the steps for the dissolution of the GAF in order to create the grounds for sanitizing the administration of football in our country”.
“One of the most important developments in strengthening the architecture of our anti-corruption system has been the establishment by Act of Parliament of the Office of Special Prosecutor, a body independent of the Executive, with a remit to hold all public officials, past and present, accountable for their stewardship of public funds”, he stressed.
President Akufo-Addo claimed that “the first occupant of this Office is a noted anti-corruption crusader, whose independence of spirit and sense of integrity have been well acknowledged. I am confident that he will do his duty without fear or favour, ill-will or malice”.
He went on saying “Respect for due process and constitutional propriety led me to discharge the heavy duty of giving effect to the recommendations of the constitutional body that investigated the petitions against the former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and her two Deputies. I acted, as directed by the Constitution, without any malice or premeditation. And all those who are familiar with the genesis of this sad affaire will recognize the truth of my statement”.
“But, I am aware that the professional critics and those who still cannot adjust to the expression of the popular will of 7th December, 2016, will continue to strain every sinew to find a case, where there is none. I will continue to do my duty, and will leave their effusions to the verdict of history, he said.