Former President John Mahama’s Advisor on Governance and Corruption, Mr Daniel Batidam, has said he will be happy to see the Akufo-Addo government prosecute and jail former officials of the Mahama administration for corruption.
The Executive Director at African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC) told Moro Awudu on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Friday, 26 May that if such prosecutions will indict him as having failed as an advisor to Mr Mahama on graft, then so be it.
“I’ll be happy to be indicted on that. I’d be very happy,” he said, adding: “I’m looking forward to people being prosecuted and jailed for corruption [perpetrated] during Mahama’s time, if that will mean I, Daniel Batidam, failed as an advisor.”
Mr Batidam said it was high time the Akufo-Addo government went beyond rhetoric and actually prosecuted corrupt ex-government officials if it were that easy a thing to do.
“I think part of the promise of the various political parties including the current one in government was that when they come they will tackle it, so when I continue to hear assurances about going to tackle it, I get confused. … I thought once you are given the opportunity, you should just move ahead and tackle the problem if it is that easy,” he said.
Mr Batidam, who is also an elected member of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AU-ABC), said fighting corruption involves a lot of things.
“You see, it is about a whole lot of things, it is about having a common understanding of what corruption is, and it is about agreeing among ourselves as a society, as a people, as a country that: ‘Look, this is the line, if you cross this line, it doesn’t matter who you are, these are the consequences,’ but it appears to me having been in civil society, in government, currently even at the level of the African Union, that we don’t seem to know exactly what we want and what we mean when we say corruption is a problem and that we want to deal with it because what I observe is that it appears normally we associate corruption with groups of people and perhaps if you like with some political parties, thereby giving it political coloration.
If that is the case, then the evidence available is that all political parties are corrupt because over the last two decades plus that we have been changing governments, the issue of corruption has always been there, so, there must be something we are not doing right,” he noted.
In his view, there is not honesty as far as the fight against graft is concerned. “…We are not honest with ourselves as a people when it comes to dealing with corruption … because there is also a lot of intellectual dishonesty even in the discussion. Of late I hear people … who should know better than ordinary people, talking about conflict of interest as if it depends on one thing or the other.
Come on, conflict of interest is conflict of interest! It can be perceived, it can be real, it can be potential, so, if yesterday conflict of interest we knew what it was and today we say: ‘Well, it depends on the situation, then there is something seriously deficient even in the intellectual analysis. … I think fighting corruption has to deal with being honest with ourselves as a people,” he added.
According to him, the earlier President Akufo-Addo starts prosecuting corrupt officials, the better, so as to engender deterrence. Mr Batidam continued: “I’m sitting here, I’ve worked with civil society, I’ve with government, if I’ve done something untoward while I was in public office, I ought to be called to book.
Nobody should be telling me that: ‘We are going to prosecute you.’ If somebody comes to steal something from your house and you know the person [and] you see him around, do you tell him you are going to arrest him? Or you catch him. So my brother, these things some of us are getting a bit tired of it.
“… We are in a hurry. Prosecute those who you have already identified. Otherwise if you don’t prosecute them, some people who are doing the calculations will start saying that: ‘Oh when you do something you can get away with it.’ So, please if prosecution is the solution, please they should prosecute.
Nana Addo’s government should prosecute anybody that they know to be corrupt and have evidence that the person is corrupt instead of saying they are going to prosecute them. They should just go ahead and do it, otherwise, very soon, Ghanaians will not take any politician seriously. And I’ll be one of those Ghanaians.”