Auditor-General Must Not Be Pushed Beyond the Reasonable

The multiple reports by the Auditor-General, Mr. Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, and his six deputies and other senior staff members spread all across the country, come at precisely the same moment that former President John “European Airbus Payola” Dramani Mahama was widely reported to have keynoted a peculiar national conference of professionally trained and certified lawyers in the country who publicly and openly self-identify as bona fide card-carrying members of the country’s main opposition political party, the National Democratic Congress, contrary to the traditionally sworn Greco-Roman professional oaths of both the legal and medical professions, among a dozen, or so, others.

Now, what the aforementioned conference means is that, for good or ill, a remarkable section and percentage of legal practitioners in the country have decided that the hitherto purely professional packaging of the legal practice globally on the grounds and basis of its own merit or integrity is no longer adequate in the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana. The political and ideological orientation of these lawyers and their institutional affiliations must be squarely taken into account and be envisaged to be of equal significance with the professional practice or practices of these National Democratic Congress’ lawyers.

So far, this strange and historically unprecedented development has been met with strong upbraiding from some notable local practitioners in the field. As of this writing, however, it had not come to the knowledge or notice of this author what the leadership of the nation’s umbrella organization of practicing lawyers, namely, the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), thinks about or has to say about the establishment of this so-called Association or Conference of National Democratic Congress-Affiliated Lawyers. Now, there is a striking irony here; and it inheres in the fact that at this year’s meeting or conference of the NDC-affiliated lawyers, about the second or third of its kind, I forget which, the keynoter and twice-defeated former President and Dynastic Presidential Candidate of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress also decided to scapegoat the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, Mr. Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, for what a capriciously disgruntled Mr. Mahama bitterly claimed to be the precipitously deteriorated standards in the quality of the judicial system’s delivery of justice in the country, a problem that the former President, who, as an incumbent, was in the routine habit of using private detectives and investigative journalists in the country in the conduct of sting operations that were exclusively geared towards exposing the abysmally low level of credibility of the judiciary which, by the way, in his latest address to the Conference of National Democratic Congress-Affiliated Lawyers, the former President squarely blamed on Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah, almost as if the systemic structural defects and operations of the country’s judicial apparatus and institutional establishment had been designed and solely implemented by the latter individual personality.

It is within the foregoing context of an increasingly fragile and dangerous climate of national, as well a personal, security in the country that the apparently flat refusal by the Auditor-General to bear viciously hard down on and to vindictively cause the blistering imposition of stiff punitive fines, surcharges and disallowances to be mercilessly imposed on those identified by Mr. Akuamoah Asiedu at the especial instigation of social and political activists in the country must be envisaged. On the latter count, it goes without saying that Mr. Mahama’s patently self-serving vehement and vindictive call for the immediate removal of Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah is one that is unmistakably politically motivated and equivalent to the kind of Fatwas or Blood-Bounties that used to be routinely imposed by the Ayatollahs of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, and the rest of the Islamic world at large, to be certain, during the early 1980s and much of the 1990s, until very recently.

Now, there is a stark difference between theory and practice. And, to be certain, it is on the practical side of matters that those who have chided or are chiding the Auditor-General for adamantly refusing to impose stiff penalties and steep fines on the “Internal Police Patrol Teams” and individuals who, as First Responders, ought to have ensured the prevention of most, if not all, of the fiscal spending infractions systematically and meticulously ferreted and documented by the Auditor-General ought to studiously focus their undivided attention. There is a very powerful and a very authoritative and inimitably eloquent article authored by Dr. John Osae-Kwapong, a Democracy and Development Fellow with the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD), and Provost of the Bernard Baruch College of the City University of New York, that provides an instructive insight into the formidable personal safety problems confronting the Auditor-General which some of these crusading civil society activists may be naively ignoring and, which, one could also aptly add, the self-proclaimed “National Purse-Protecting” Government of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo does not seem to have strategized or made the necessary provisions for ahead of such calls (See “Failing Police Patrols and Ineffective Fire Alarms” on the official website of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development; also, “There Will Be More Infractions in Auditor General’s Report Next Year If He Refuses to Surcharge, Disallow – Dr. Osae-Kwapong” Modernghana.com 9/5/22).

In short, these pound-of-flesh latter-day revolutionaries need to also equally fervidly take the personal security of the Auditor-General and his yeomanly staff of patriotic Ghanaian civil servants into account before pushing Mr. Akuamoah Asiedu to step out of his proverbial comfort zone and play revenue-collection policeman. Even here in the United States of America, where the sort of “extra-mile” professional responsibility being vehemently demanded of the Auditor-General is decidedly second nature, the Federal Government has had to put into place safety measures to ensure that the lives of frontline employees of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are not endangered by determined scofflaws and those who simply could not care less or be bothered by the imperative necessity of studiously meeting their tax obligations and other basic social responsibilities by supplying these IRS employees with weapons for personal self-defense. Now, why do the likes of Lawyer Akoto Ampaw seem to think and believe the situation to be any different in Ghana?

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