The late President, Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills

Yesterday I had an unpleasant duty of writing a tribute in honour of a respected personality who died a few weeks ago. While on it, I was reminded of the 11th anniversary of the passing of Professor John Evans Atta Mills. It did not look like I am qualified to write a tribute for Professor Atta Mills, for, the closest I had ever come to him was in 1999 when he attended the Legon Hall Alumni meeting, and I being the JCR Secretary at the time, I had the privilege of meeting him.

But something strikes me; Professor Atta Mills was a professor of Law. A lawyer. He lived 68 years. For several years he became the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. He became the Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana for four years. He became the President of Ghana for almost four years. Yet the only properties we have known in his name have been his residence at Regimanuel Estates, and that of Pokuase which we are told his son occupies.

A couple of years ago, at the funeral ceremony of the late Mrs. Awotwi Pratt, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, The Most Reverend Paul Boafo, gave a profound sermon. He bemoaned how some individuals in this country are using the small political power given to them to amass undeserved wealth – huge 5-star hotel-like residential houses at different places, high-rise buildings for rent in the heart of our cities, fleet of assorted luxurious cars, award of mouth watering highly inflated contracts to themselves, and unbridled opulence.

Last week Ghana woke up to one of the most shameful scandals – a minister of state whose house help stole cash in the sums of $1million, €300,000, millions of Ghana Cedis, and much more, from her house. This is what we are told was stolen. It is most likely that there might have been more monies in the house than was stolen, for I do not think the house help would have stolen everything in sight.

A reference is made of Eugene Arhin the Communications Director at the office of President Akuffo-Addo. It is reported that Eugene Arhin completed his Bachelor’s degree in 2006, did his national service as a teaching assistant, served as a research analyst at Danquah Institute, and became the President’s Communications Director in 2017. That is all the known achievements in his private life.

Four years later (2021) in a divorce petition, the wife pointed to a five (5) bedroom residential house at East Legon, sixteen (16) apartments situated at Bubuashie, sixteen (16) apartments located at Tuba-Weija, several other undisclosed properties and fleet of cars, all acquired within four years. To top it up, the wife asked for GHC2million in compensation (worth over GHC4million in current terms).

A document submitted to Parliament shows that there are 1,048 Presidential staffers in the office of the President. Each with a certain influence. There are about 100 ministers under the current government, in additional to several CEOs, board members/chairs with various degrees of influences.

If Madam Cecilia Dapaah (a Minister) could have the ease to keep what looks like her chicken change of $1million, £300,000, and millions of Ghana Cedis in her bedroom, and if Eugene Arhin (a staffer) could acquire such wealth within four years of being in government, then the multiplying effect of what all ministers, staffers, CEOs, Board members might have acquired within the period deserves a place in history.

I recall Vicky Hammah’s contemplation of wanting to achieve $1million before she leaves politics. This was a mere wishful thinking, a legitimate wishful thinking, warranted a sack from the then President John Dramani Mahama.

Of most shocking is the response that we have received from the office of President Akuffo-Addo, with regards to Madam Cecilia Dapaah, virtually exonerating the Minister even before any investigation could have started, completely prejudicing any outcome of any likely investigations. It is like the President is saying; “I have your resignation letter, but don’t mind them, you are innocent”. Then the same President sets up a committee to investigate the person he has exonerated? Highly offensive posturing.

Anyway, may the spirit of Professor Atta-Mills lead our conscience in the many ways we rape this country. And may we as leaders gather courage to commit to the poor, and the unborn, as we commit to our souls.

Atta-Mills lives.

James Kofi Annan

(President, Challenging Heights).

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.