Opinion: Prosecute Ibrahim Mahama, If the Evidence Is Foolproof – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Mr Ibrahim Mahama, CEO of Engineers and Planners

The alleged invitation and 8-hour grilling of Mr. Ibrahim Mahama, the Chief Executive Officer of the globally notorious Engineers and Planners (E&P) mining concern, ought to come as just a matter of course to those of us who studiously followed his bizarre career as a major contractor of his elder brother’s thoroughgoing corrupt government. And on the latter count, of course, the obvious reference is to former President John Dramani Mahama. We know, for example, that the younger Mr. Mahama was neck-deep involved in the dredging of the Odaw River and a legion of other related ventures in the aftermath of the apocalyptic flash-flood fire that engulfed Accra-Central and took the lives of dozens of Ghanaians a couple, or so, years ago. And that deal, as widely reported by the media, could at best be described as “shady” and at the worst “a veritable scam.”

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It was indubitably a classical conflict-of-interest case, although the extant regime touted the proprietor of E & P as a bend-over-backwards magnanimous benefactor who undertook the Odaw River dredging exercise voluntarily. The project was aimed at desilting the river as a means of drastically reducing the high incidence of perennial deadly flooding of the nation’s capital. As of this writing and a couple of years later, however, it is not clear that anything substantive was achieved. Indeed, about a year later, a Member of Parliament – I stand to be corrected, but I believe her name was Ms. Freda Prempeh – had a close call in the same area, near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, where about 100 people reportedly lost their lives. The figure noted here could be much lower than the reality. But that is not our primary focus here; rather, it is about the alleged 8-hour intense questioning of the younger Mr. Mahama by agents of the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO).

That, so far, no criminal charges have been publicly and officially brought against the E & P’s CEO, means that it is simply just what the news media claims it to be: a pure and simple invitation from EOCO to a person of interest. What this means is that until any formal charges have been preferred against the subject of this column, we cannot tendentiously comment one way or another about the meaning and/or implication of this event. We can only assume, perhaps with a modicum of justification, that there is absolutely no smoke without fire. In other words, one does not come up for such intense questioning if the EOCO operatives have no reason to either believe or suspect the commission of a wrongful act. There has, in fact, been mentioned the possibility of the brother of the former President having been invited by the EOCO officials/investigators to account for the bouncing of some checks that the E & P boss allegedly issued to the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), as payment for the clearance of some heavy-duty equipment imported into the country via the Tema Harbor.

We don’t know the full details or the veracity of such report or hearsay information to draw any profound or meaningful conclusions here either. All we can do is to simply cross our fingers and hope that justice will be done in the long run. We cannot facilely assume that Mr. Ibrahim Mahama is guilty of any criminal wrongdoing merely because he allegedly solicited and was awarded a host of contracts by a government that was run by his brother. Indeed, as somebody pointed out in the same news report on which this column is based, the Kufuor government did lucrative business with the highly connected TICO power-generating plant firm. Now, I don’t know what kind of relationship existed between the Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and this TICO firm, so-called. But what I can say with bold and fierce confidence is that former President John Agyekum-Kufuor and President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo are not one and the same personality. So any cynical attempt to mischievously link these two very different personalities had better be evidentially or forensically foolproof. Guilt by association would simply not work in this instance, unless one mischievously decides to discount the real and very public relationship between these two men between the years 2008 and 2016. Maybe 2008 and 2012 is the more evidentially accurate.

Well, as of this press preparation, it had been reported that EOCO had asked Mr. Ibraham Mahama to pay the sum of GH₵ 12.7 million, including interest, for issuing 44 (forty-four) dud checks for the payment of duties on some unspecified heavy-duty equipment that the E & P owner-CEO imported into the country in 2015, while his elder brother, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, was President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces. What raises my hackles here, as it were, is the fact that Mr. Ibrahim Mahama was permitted to walk the corridors and hallways of the country’s business community, almost as if he was a diligent entrepreneur with integrity. I mean, we are talking about a felonious fraudster, a white-collar criminal of the highest order. And here again, as was the case with Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, it was Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong who allegedly blew the lid off Mr. Mahama’s mega-scam artistry.

The widely circulating idea that, somehow, EOCO may have been instigated by the rhetorically rambunctious Mr. Agyapong to invite the E & P proprietor for questioning is decidedly beside the point. Then again, as already adumbrated above, it ought to be significantly remembered that it was the firebrand New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Assin-Central whose purposeful sleuthing led to the discovery of the earth-quaking Woyome Heist. And so, of course, it is not wholly accurate, as some of his most inveterate detractors and critics would have the rest of the world believe, that Mr. Agyapong lacks the requisite credibility to make any claims vis-à-vis criminal wrongdoing against any high-profile operative in either the business world or the latter’s heavy-lifting political counterpart. Let’s not rush to judgment just yet, until all the facts are in, in spite of the fact of there already being more than enough evidence to fully indict, prosecute, convict and incarcerate the man.

It is also significant to underscore the fact that bluster and all, our security agencies and our government generally do not operate according to the whims and caprices of any individual Ghanaian citizen, no matter how powerful or influential that personality may be. Definitely not under the studious watch of President Akufo-Addo.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

The opinions expressed are the author’s nd do not necessarily reflect the views or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of www.africanewsanalysis.com and www.zongonews.com
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