President John Dramani Mahama has said he would have ordered the arrest of corrupt public officials in his government and put them behind bars if he were in the days of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) era.
According to him, his hands are tied because Ghana currently is under a constitutional regime hence it would be difficult to take such action.
“People want me to arrest everybody who’s been accused of a crime and lock them up because they did it in PNDC time. Yes; I would have locked them up; but we didn’t have a constitution then and if we didn’t have a constitution and I was a dictator, if you are accused of corruption I will catch you and lock you up and wait until you are proven guilty or innocent then release you. But we cannot eat our cake and have it. People have to go through the process and the process is very slow. Everybody knows,” he added.
President John Mahama has been accused of condoning corruption in his government despite boasting of efforts in fighting the canker.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP), has consistently blamed government for the misappropriation of funds that characterized social intervention programmes such as GYEEDA and SADA.
But speaking on Wednesday at the Presidential encounters hosted by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), President Mahama insisted that, his government is prosecuting persons accused of corruption in his government.
He claimed that government has been able to retrieve about GHc40 million from officials who siphoned taxpayers’ money in the National Service scandal.
“These GYEEDA prosecutions started in 2012; and we are in 2016; but I can’t go and catch them and lock them up on the presumption that they are guilty.
The NSS case how many years is it? Three years now. People inserted ghost names in the national service payroll and got millions of Ghana cedis, we’ve retrieved GHc40 million from them. Some of them have pleaded guilty and offered a refund so we’ve gotten back GHc40 millions of taxpayers’ money.”
“But those that are under criminal investigations it’s been going on for three years now. But we just must have patience with the process because we cannot go back to unconstitutional system,” he added.