Ghana's anti-corruption crusader Paul Collins Appiah Ofori has hinted that President John Dramani Mahama tried to influence him by offering him ministerial and ambassadorial appointments, both of which he rejected.
According to the former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, upon assuming office early this year and before appointing his first batch of ministers, President Mahama called him to his office at the Castle to make the offer.
Mr. Appiah Ofori said the president wanted him in to serve in government as a minister/ambassador to help fight corruption in his administration.
The anti-corruption crusader made this revelation during an interview with Ark FM in Sunyani last Friday, when he was called to state his views on the anti-corruption warning the president issued to his appointees.
He told host Kwame Adjei Bohye that taking the ministerial/ambassadorial position would compromise his stand on corruption, so he refused to take it.
Moreover, he explained, if he took the ministerial position, he would become a lone voice in government, which could lead to an early discharge from the Mahama administration.
When asked about the particular ministerial portfolio that the president wanted to give him, Mr. Appiah Ofori said the president did not mention it since he expressed no interest in taking any position in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government given that he is not a member of the party.
He claimed that when he rejected the ministerial post, President Mahama then offered to appoint him as an ambassador, a position he also declined.
According to Mr. Appiah Ofori, he rather promised the president that he would help the government by exposing corrupt practices among ministers and other government officials so that the president could take punitive action against the culprits.
He also reported asking the president not to let his calls to fight corruption be mere rhetoric as they were in the time of his predecessor, the late President Prof John Mills.
Mr. Appiah Ofori disclosed that he did some work for the late president uncovering certain corrupt deals but added that Mills failed to act upon the information, thereby institutionalizing corruption under his rule.
He said President Mahama’s demeanor clearly indicates his desire to fight corruption in government, affirming his own intention to help the president eradicate corruption in the country.
In his view, the fight against corruption should be led by the head of state since Article 35 (8) of the 1992 Constitution clearly states, "the State shall take steps to eradicate' corrupt practices and the abuse of power."
"If we get a head of state that faces the fight against corruption seriously, then Ghanaians shall find ourselves in paradise on earth," he said.
He noted, however, that a corrupt head of state would always cover up for his appointees when they engage in corrupt practices.
Mr. Appiah Ofori commended President Mahama for warning his ministers and appointees that he would hold them responsible if something goes wrong at their ministries.
"If you want to eradicate corruption, then the ministers should be held accountable and those found corrupt must be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others," he insisted.