Opinion

The ordinary thief versus the corporate thief

It is an undeniable fact that in Ghana today, all sorts of crimes go unpunished. Culprits go scot-free each day.

On the other hand, and rather unfortunately, a group of people get punished for these same crimes. Yes, the corporate thieves get a pat in the back for the very crimes for which the ordinary thief gets a slap in the face! That is how unfair life can be.

A bodyguard has recently been sentenced to 20 years for attempted forgery and theft. He has gotten the full sentence. What baffles me is how quickly he was prosecuted! Indeed, it was fast-tracked! And for what? 800 Ghana cedis. 20 years in prison.

But what happens to a minister or an MP, accused or arrested of the same crime? Did I say the same crime? My apologies; let me re-phrase it.

What happens to a minister or an MP, accused or arrested for gross misappropriations or diversion of funds? He is asked to proceed on leave! Only that? Yes, just that! Proceed on leave, and the crime goes away. And what happens to our money? This is the Ghana we are nurturing.

In the same way, in our various organizations and institutions, the junior worker gets arrested for a petty theft, whiles the senior staff gets transferred or quietly discharged. And so, the era of double standards, continues.

As citizens, we ought to be concerned about such issues. What happened to “What is good for the goose is good for the gander”? Indeed, what is good for the goose is good for the gander! People steal from this nation each day, and continue to do so comfortable, to our unfortunate admiration. Our leaders are stealing each day and yet, we act ignorantly. Of course, as soon as an ordinary thief is caught, he quickly gets the full penalty.

Do not get me twisted. I am no advocate of crime, neither am I an advocate for, or of criminals. I am but an ordinary and concerned citizen who wants justice. I believe that all crimes are, and should be punishable.

I am not in support of any crime or the ncriminal but in enforcing punitive measures, we need justice. If we want peace, we need to embrace justice. The law was made for us all, and not just the ordinary man.

Why should our leaders go unpunished for the kinds of atrocities they keep committing? Have we ever stopped to consider the fact that situations influence our actions or inactions? People commit all sorts of crimes out of desperation. As a people, we ought to be more concerned about the root causes of problems, and not just the solutions.

Countless people live in poverty and desperation in this country. People are finding it difficult making ends meet. Several go to bed on empty stomachs. To make a single meal a day is a hurdle for many people.

Paying utilities is practically becoming impossible with each growing day. Our currency is fast losing value. Prices of basic utilities and amenities are becoming an impossibility.

For many people, obtaining jobs is only but a dream; jobs are not available. In the midst of this struggle, taxes are increasing. To make things worse, our leadership seems only interested in squandering our already scarce resources. Our taxes are being squandered lavishly.

And what do we do? Nothing! And yet, as soon as an ordinary and hungry man steals a piece of bread, he gets beaten or even lynched. Or gets a full penalty of several years in prison, for a common loaf of bread, a goat, fowl, cell phone, a few coins, whiles the man in suit, who is looting this nation, gets a pat on the back. He only has to append his signature, and the crime goes away.

Imagine the millions of cedis that have disappeared from our national coffers due to corporate theft. We only have to use a pen and paper. Consider the number of shady deals this nation has encountered in the past, and in recent times. Consider the number of times such cases have been covered up. And so, the theft continues. Corporate theft!

We must wake up before it is too late. Yes, there is a punishment to every crime, and our law makes that possible. Even without a law, there is the natural law of karma, but what do we do as a people, in ensuring fairness in the rule of law? In our prisons are people convicted for crimes they have not committed.

Rather unfortunately, they are rotting in jail; some, forgotten by their families and friends. Rather ironically, the real criminals operate freely, under the umbrella of our laws. They move around freely, under the umbrella of government. We even help cover their crimes! Have our laws only be made for the ordinary people?

Where is this nation moving? Where are we going as a people?

 

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