BY BENJAMIN TANDOH
CITIZENS FOR Justice and Accountability (CJA), a pressure group, has called on the Office of the Special Prosecutor to act on the alleged double salary received by some government officials under the John Mahama-led government.
According to the group, there has been a “growing sense of impunity in respect of corruption in this country,” hence the need for the office of the Special Prosecutor to help fight corruption in the country.
In an interview with the DAILY HERITAGE yesterday, Mr Ato Sam-Ghartey, Convener, CJA, reiterated the need for the government officials to consider the plight of the ordinary citizens in the country.
He added that it was time for public institutions to step up their efforts in the fight against corruption in the country.
“They should handle the issue like how they will deal with a public sector worker who is found to have committed any wrongdoing. The investigations should be swift,” he told the paper.
When asked why they were petitioning the Special Prosecutor when the Criminal Investigations Department of the Police Service had started their investigation, Mr Sam-Ghartey said bringing the Special Prosecutor in would not stop other institutions from conducting their investigations.
“The law that was used to set up the Office of the Special Prosecutor has clothed it to investigate any act of corruption,” he added.
He further disclosed to the paper that the group is expected to submit the petition latest by May 2, 2018 to allow them more time to deal with the issue.
In a release copied to the DAILY HERITAGE earlier, the group urged Ghanaians to resort to the law in order to fight the corruption menace.
“If it was a case of an accountant in the public or civil service, he/she would have been dealt with according to the criminal laws of Ghana,” they stated.
The group continued that, “If it was a hawker on the streets of Accra, he would have been arrested immediately, denied bail and prosecuted with the speed of light and convicted harshly.”
The petition, the group explained, would call on the Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, to investigate and prosecute the culprits, if found guilty.
They added that the petition would demand that the “Special Prosecutor shall take steps to cause the refund of all salaries received unlawfully by some minority Members of Parliament (MPs).”
It was reported that some 22 ministers under the previous administration were taking double salaries as ministers and Members of Parliament (MP).
According to the constitution, MPs who are appointed ministers may either choose to receive their salaries as ministers or take what their colleague MPs are taking – although other benefits are attached.
Some names mentioned to have allegedly received double salaries included Alban Bagbin, MP for Nadowli West in the Upper West Region; E. T. Mensah, former MP for Ningo Prampram; Haruna Iddrisu, former Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and MP for Tamale South.
The rest are Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, former Petroleum Minister and MP for Ellembelle in the Western Region and Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, former Youth and Sports Minister and MP for Odododiodoo constituency.