The President of the Central University College, Prof Kwesi Yankah, says the tendency of government appointees allegedly embroiled in corruption scandals to later find work at the presidency is making that office a “comfortable refuge for the corrupt”.
Speaking at a corruption conference organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on Monday, Prof. Kwesi Yankah said “bad nuts” cannot be sent to the presidency.
It had the theme: “Purging the nation of corruption – Demand accountability from Public Institutions” and was meant to discuss the thorny issue of corruption and to find solutions.
Present at the function were representatives of key institutions, including, parliament, judiciary, government, police, civil society groups and faith-based organi-sations.
Prof Yankah in his keynote address said the perception of corruption has grown because Presidents over years have demonstrated a total lack of political will to fight the canker.
According to him, when government appointees are cited for alleged embezzlement or corruption, no machinery is set in motion for investigation, prosecution and indictment of such officials.
He cited the case of Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, a former Minister of Youth and Sports under whose aegis the 2014 World Cup fiasco occurred, but now finds himself as a Minister of State at the Flagstaff House.
According to Prof. Yankah, the failure to investigate appointees of government mired in corruption-related matters was fueling the perception that there was a lack of commitment to fight the menace.
The IEA conducted a survey whose outcome ranked the presidency as the second most corrupt institution in the country, saying “fish is rotten from the head”.
He said ultimately, the President must be held responsible for corruption because he “wields so much constitutional power and is responsible for key appointees” in the country.
He said the “transfer or promotion of bad nuts to the presidency rather than their demotion or indictment tends to defile the dignity of the presidency”.
He further stated that the President has “squandered” and “lost opportunities” to halt a “quicker spread of the virus” of corruption.
The CUC President added that, often, reports of commissions, probes and investigations have been neglected, entrenching the view that the presidency has become “merely a depository for reports”.
He continued: “One wonders why the anti-corruption principles of crusaders suddenly evaporate into thin air in critical hours of being at the presidency”.
In his view, corruption in the country has attained frightening heights and must be addressed immediately.
Prof. Yankah also questioned the propriety of using 1.8 million United States dollars to acquire luxury cars only for the country to grope in darkness few years later.
“We can’t spend $1.8 million of a budget meant to extend electricity into rural areas on luxury vehicles, only to have children study in the dark because there is load shedding.”