Samson’s Take: RTI for TIN - Cathedral on foundation of lies

Samson’s Take: RTI for TIN - Cathedral on foundation of lies
Source: Ghana|Samson Lardy
Date: 24-11-2018 Time: 01:11:01:pm
Samson Lardy Anyenini

I support government’s policy (announced in the 2019 budget statement) to ensure that literally every person in the country is identified for purposes of taxation. It is an effective measure to tie proof of acquisition of a Tax Identification Number TIN to one’s ability to access social and other public services. Citizens have rights but those rights come with duties and responsibilities including faithfully paying tax for national development.

 Like many other polices for which bills for laws are presented to parliament under certificate of urgency, the push for implementation of the TIN gains success overnight because that’s government’s desire.

 It is only fair that as a citizen, I am first given  an RTI law so I know I can, without resort to court, compel you to tell me how you use my taxes. Just give me a credible Right to Information Law so I know you are ready and willing to show me the books on how you use my taxes. In fact, I have a TIN. I pay taxes and collect taxes for government.

 Give me an RTI so I can demand, as of right and law, details on the bare information that some amount of my money will be committed to building a national cathedral. Stop conveniently and mischievously mischaracterizing demands for the RTI, and misleading the gullible by claiming RTI will cripple government business and leave government without secrets.

If you have read the Bill, you would know that there are categories of information that is exempt from disclosure for good reason. You also ought to know that an RTI law will not override existing laws including the State Secretes law.

Stop conveniently and mischievously mischaracterizing demands for transparency and accountability on cost of construction of the National Cathedral and rather claiming I am against it or my taxes being spent on it.

Men of God should also not join lying politicians in suggesting that Christians are against the project by asking questions. The Bible does not teach Christians to be uncritical or un-analytical. That’s not what Acts 17:11 commends. It says “[n]ow the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

And as a bonus verse 1 John 4:1 wants us not to “believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God”.  

What is this new lie after the first, that government has only just now decided to contribute financially to the project? It is government that from the start quietly promised the judiciary that it will RELOCATE the judges who lived on part of the choiced location and in fact got them temporary residences in cantonments.

How much did Mr. Peter Amewu say was the monthly rent? We sure heard a man of God lie that the body of clergy {trustees) overseeing the project were taking up this costs? It is government that promised to it will find virgin land and build 21 new replacement bungalows for the judges to later move into. How much is the cost of the permanent and “more befitting” 21 residences?

It is government that promised it had found virgin land to build a new Judicial Training Institute in replacement for the one currently being destroyed together with the judges’ bungalows? What is the cost of that plus relocation of all other entities earmarked for demolition to make way for the Cathedral?

How much is govt paying for the property of the sensitive IT firm which wrote to demand “millions of dollars” after government wrote to initiate its relocation?

All these were government’s commitment and not a certain clergy trustee that has publicly announced it doesn’t know the cost of the project. This is contrary to the advice in Luke 14:28 asking “[f]or which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”

What is wrong with a Christian making a plea that we avoid the unnecessary cost because of the choice of location? What is wrong with a Christian asking how much of his or her tax will be spent  as ‘Seed Money’ etc for a project whose cost is not yet known.

A friend tells me RTI is actually based on the Christian principles of principles of truth, honesty, transparency and accountability.

Let’s not build a Cathedral on a foundation of lies, unless it is not meant for the God you teach us about every Sunday.

May be the RTI should also apply to the Church just as the 2016 RTI was to apply to chiefs.

Samson Lardy ANYENINI

November 24, 2018