State Looters are Thieves – Justice VCRAC Crabbe

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Justice Vincent Cyril Richard Arthur Crabbe, a retired Supreme Court judge says public officials accused of embezzling state funds are thieves.

In view of this, the former Professor of Law at the University of West Indies, said it is improper to describe such persons as corrupt, which, according to him, is a mild description.

He said reports the Auditor General has released and all malfeasances investigated in government institutions clearly conclude on acts of stealing but not corruption.

Justice VCRAC Crabbe, having his turn to speak as a panelist on ‘Restoring the Ghanaian identity: our values, our passion’, theme for the 2017 National Dialogue forum organised by the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), in Accra yesterday, wondered why such thieves would be allowed to walk freely after they had been fingered for obvious stealing.

He said: “There are provisions in our criminal laws that make it sour for people to steal. However, for some reasons, some top notch officers eventually shield such thieves, who we mistakenly describe as corrupt people. Corruption is mild…they are thieves.”

Justice Crabbe said the state could be blamed for the lost Ghanaian values, saying insincerity at the leadership descends to the ordinary citizen who sees the leader as a role model.

“People are stealing too much in this country and the earlier those sanctioned are slapped with the right punishment, it will be very difficult for Ghana to restore the Ghanaian identity.

“The societal ills in this generation are worse than the ills of the past generation and Ghana must rise to arrest these devastating societal ills,” the retired Supreme Court judge rallied patriotic Ghanaians.

Professor Ama Ata Aidoo, a renowned Educationist and playwright, recited a non-fiction narrative poem of a 21-year-old young man at Odumase-Krobo, Lower Manya Municipality, in the Eastern Region, thrown into jail for 12 months for stealing some quantity of smoked fish. Her poem was in reference to a publication in The Spectator newspaper.

The poem compared the jail sentence handed to the young thief, to that of the politician or public service worker who dip their hands into state coffers and steal gargantuan sums of money, yet the same law that sentenced the 21-year-old, would be lenient on the ‘professional’ state thief.

This, Ama Ata Aidoo explained, must not be discriminatory, irrespective of the culprits’ status in society.

“When the law is seen to be partial, then I am tempted to ask the whereabouts of our value of honesty and fairness? Selective justice is sinking Ghana,” she indicated.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana, who also spoke at the function implored on Ghanaians to inculcate their cultural values into their everyday activities, saying that will reaffirm the Ghanaian identity. He bemoaned the level of disregard that Ghanaians have developed towards their core values.

Dr. Bawumia, who was the Special Guest of Honour, stated that lack of critical thinking, apathy to civic education and self-doubt have sunk deep into the Ghanaian, hence the need to teach Civic Education in our schools to reaffirm the Ghanaian identity.

“Our identity as Ghanaians fuel the wheels of development and keeps them running quickly,” he noted.

The Second Gentleman of the land observed that no country could excel without giving reverence to national identity and establishing a common target. He, in this regard, exhorted Ghanaians to embrace nationalism and collectively wipe out all traces of lawlessness, selfishness and extreme corruption, which, in his view, are the consequence of lack of self-confidence and mediocrity.

Ghana, he went on, needs the right values to rebuild and to start with, he tasked the NCCE to put in maximum efforts in achieving its objectives.

The Chairperson of the NCCE, Josephine Nkrumah (Ms.), called on all stakeholders such as Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, traditional leaders, the media, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, as well as corporate bodies, to collectively be guided by the canons of moral standards and lead lives worthy of emulation.

She condemned the grisly murder of the late Major Maxwell Mahama, and cited about five similar cases of mob action that had occurred around the same period the late soldier was murdered.

In view of this and as a matter of urgency, she called on the government to resource the NCCE adequately to promote efficiency in tackling issues.

The NCCE chairperson petitioned the government to consider re-introducing civics, as an examinable course in the educational curricula.

In her view Ghanaian values like punctuality, tolerance, courtesy, responsibility, honesty and discipline have fallen sharply, thus making way for ills such as civic apathy, destructive partisan politics, mediocrity, corruption and stealing.

“In this regard, I want to call for the teaching of Ghanaian values as part of our national orientation,” she said.

The NCCE chairperson lobbied government, civil society and corporate institutions to help resource and support her outfit with more interventions.

She lauded the government for doubling the NCCE’s budget allocation as captured in this year’s budget statement.

The 2017 National Dialogue coincides with Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary and its 25 years’ Constitution Week celebration.

Professor Steven Adei, a renowned educationist and former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), entreated leadership, regardless of their partisan stance, to lead the crusade against negative values, and strengthen the human institutions to imbibe national values.

This year’s National Dialogue, which coincides with Ghana’s 60 years of independence, is marked to commemorate Ghana’s silver-jubilee Constitution Week celebration.

Source: Inusa Musah & Suad Yakubu || The Chronicle

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