The Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin
The Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin
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Govt must urgently make corruption an uncompromised punishable act – Okyenhene

The Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has advocated the urgent need for the government to make corruption an uncompromised punishable act, to help deter public officials from dipping their hands in national coffers and stashing stolen money outside and within the country.

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“Corruption is a filthy work and a disgusting shame, a despicable act of treachery that is done under the table behind closed-doors,” he said.

"Corruption is filthy, despicable act of treachery that must be punished," the Okyenhene said.

Delivering the keynote address at a lecture at the University of Ghana in Accra on Wednesday [July 3], the Okyenhene advocated the urgent need for government to make corruption an uncompromised punishable act to deter public officials from dipping their hands in national coffers and stashing stolen money outside and within the country.

In his view, where corruption thrived, poverty and non-prosperity also thrived, drawing back socio-economic development aspirations of the people.

Punish the corrupt 

The Okyenhene said “Corruption keeps a nation such as ours back from true development and progress, while investors stay away. We should stop it.

“I think that corruption has left the realm of criminality to evil and it must be punished,” he said.

The empowerment and leadership lecture, which was on the theme: “Transformational leadership in contemporary Ghana”, touched on diverse issues such as the environment, climate change, youth engagement, economic development, women empowerment, culture, leadership, illegal mining, development and accountability.

The event was organised by the University of Ghana Graduates’ Students’ Association (GRASAG).

‘From criminality to evil’

The Okyenhene noted that the leadership of Ghana today is grappling with the issues of corruption in governance.

Besides, he also cited how civil societies had emphasised the need for an inspirational leadership that prioritised integrity, truth and accountability to restore hope among Ghanaians.

Arguing that corruption was a global pandemic that had no prescription, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin said it was abhorrent that some public officials in Africa could go to “the coffers and take monies”.

“This money will take a flight to the same people who once colonised,” he said, citing a Zambian author, Dambisa Moyo, for her strong views on corruption.

“Dambisa said there are two types of corruption - positive and negative corruption. The positive is the stolen money stays within the country and the negative corruption takes a flight to the people who once colonised us and stole from us,” he quoted the author as saying. 

“But to me I think that corruption has left the realm of criminality to evil; it is evil and it must be punished because where corruption thrives, poverty and non-prosperity thrive.

Curb excessive spending 

Dwelling on economic growth, the Okyenhene urged the government to exercise fiscal discipline to curb excessive spending to stop the country from going to the Bretton Woods institutions for bailout.

He said demonstrating prudent fiscal discipline would help to not only improve and sustain the economic growth but would also reduce debt levels, thus reducing Ghana’s vulnerabilities.

To him, borrowing was part of business to allow to reinvestment and support for social programmes, saying that “but when you continue to make borrowing a habit then you become an economic slave.

“Some economists say when our outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be downfall. That quote is true is true for an individual, communities and for a nation; when you outgo exceeds your income that is when we get to a point you consistently borrow money.

“And I do not blame the government for looking to get money somewhere but once you go for that money you lose your right bargain,” he said, citing Proverbs 22:7 which says that “The rich rules over the poor and the borrower is a slave to the lender”.

Economic slaves

Citing some characteristics of a slave, the Okyenhene said Ghanaians had economic slaves in “our country.”

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“Economic slaves do not own property and often are made to settle for less as they do not think they deserve more.

“Once you are there for the IMF bailout, you lose your bargaining power and then you negotiate out of fear or you fear to negotiate. So, when we are broke and we bring in the IMF and the World Bank, rightfully so, they then come in and negotiate with us. In the meanwhile, we are asking them to do us a favour,” he said.

Emphasizing the need for the country to raise entrepreneurs that could support the government, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin said:

“There is no way you can beg a man and fight him at the same time.”

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“You wonder why we get some of these ridiculous mining and mineral laws that take away our birth right,” he said.

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