The story was about amount of properties he has acquired in America with stolen cash from his nation. The properties included a $30m dollar mansion at Malibu-California, $500,000 Ferrari and over $2m expended on the red jacket Michael Jackson wore in his thriller video, the crystal-studded white glove and three live-sized statues. In total, the man spent over $70m on properties and Michael Jackson memorabilia.
Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who is also Equatorial Guinea's second vice-president, agreed to turn over $20 million from the sale of these assets to a charitable organization to be used to benefit the people of his country.
Now, Equatorial Guinea is a small West African nation situated in the Indian Ocean. It has enormous reserve of oil and gas and its economy is reputed to be one with a very enviable income per-capita. But sadly, over 70% of its 750,000 population lives under the poverty-line. So the American authorities kept a close eye on the man's activities on their soil, and being a nation where people listen to their inner conscience, decided to act.
Those properties were therefore seized, auctioned and the proceeds fittingly appropriated by the American government; in all,$30m was realized from the auction, with $10m being taken in taxes by the American government while the remaining $20m was donated to charity. It was actually a deal struck with the US government to save him from being jailed. Effectively, all the stolen cash from the people of his home country, Equatorial Guinea, ended up in the coffers of the Americans.
On hearing such a story from an African leader, it becomes imperative to juxtapose it to what pertains in our vary backyard, and this is the whole essence of this write-up.
Human-beings, by nature, are very evil and this has been manifested since the days of Adam, as president Kufuor once posited and NDC propagandists deliberately twisted it as they have always done in matters of national importance and bothering on truth. Those of us that have had the opportunity to either visit of live and work in any of these developed nations, have always had the reason to praise them for their sense of nationalism and obedience to rules and regulations. We talk about how their environment is clean and sense of duty.
Politicians on the African continents have had the reason to send their children and other close family members to these developed nations to be educated; and when they are sick themselves, they fly out of their home-lands to these developed nations for medical attention which unfortunately often ends up in their demise.
Now, these developed nations have their systems perfectly in-place and everything do simply revolves around these systems. So for example, a worker will be required to report to work at a given time, and there is an efficient transportation system in-place to make this demand very much possible. This worker comes back home after a hard day's work and he has constant flow of water through his taps, electricity always available, food to cater for the stomach and clothes over the back. In the final analysis, this worker never goes through any stress and therefore is able to have a peaceful of mind, enjoy his rest after work and woke up the next day, well-refreshed for the day's routine.
Both leaders and ordinary citizens of these developed nations, being human, would also want to steal from their nation's coffers and behave irresponsibly, but their systems simply wouldn't allow them. And systems here are what have just been written on ordinary papers and captured in their statutes. These laws, on themselves, cannot act unless the people given the responsibility to make sure they did, actually rose up to their responsility; and this is where the African has always been found woefully wanting.
The nation of Ghana, unquestionably, can be counted amongst the comity of nations with the best of laws taking care of every single aspect of human-endeavor. We have always prided ourselves as the first nation to sign every single UN convention from archeology to zoology. Our laws on sanitation and corruption are the most elaborate on this planet. Our dear nation is also one of the best endowed, by way of natural and human resource, which on normal circumstance, should have ensured a decent living for all Ghanaians.
But the reality on the ground paints a complete different picture; in this day of IT and information super-highway(the internet) with all its attendant advancements in health delivery, Ghana recently recorded the worse outbreak of a primitive disease as cholera, with over 25,000 people being infected and nearly 100 fatalities. Meanwhile, we had a government which promised to turn all the streets of our cities, towns and villages into that of Switzerland, by way of environmental cleanliness, within 100 days of being voted into office but it has been 6years now and our nation is engulfed in filth, whose heights can only be compared to that of Mountain Everest.
Unbridled levels of Corruption
On corruption, the fight has clearly been lost, and evidence to this fact is the cheapest commodity available on every shelf and stalls. The cases of SUBAH, GYEEDA, SADA, WOYOME, NSS, CP, BRAZIL and so on, are just the tip of the ice-berg. In all these acts of grievous economic sabotage through naked thievery, the culprits are all walking free. In the last 6years, Ghana has contracted $27b in loans, with absolutely nothing to show for it.
Lawyer Ebo Burton-Oduro who was deeply involved
with dolling-out of Ghc51m of Ghanaian taxpayers' cash to Alfred Agbesi Woyome,for no work done, was been elevated to the position of first deputy speaker of our August house of parliament. Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah who totally messed himself up in Brazil in his capacity as the sports minister, was rewarded with a position at the right hand-side of the president; Vincent Kuagbenu,as boss of NSS,after sinking Ghc600,000 of taxpayers' cash into an agric venture and reaping a harvest of Ghc80,000 was resting in the kingdom of the presidency and Kojo Adu-Asare,another disgraced member of the Brazilian debacle, was exalted and given a space at the presidency. But in any of these developed nations, such characters would have been languishing in jail.
Over the past 8years, the living standard of ordinary Ghanaian has drastically deteriorated as a result of grievous economic hardships arising out of leadership ineptitude. I know a woman who lives at 'Ata Deka',a settlement beyond Michel Camp-Tema.This woman leaves home,daily,at about 4:30am,takes 'trotro' to Nima-Accra,credit Ghc50 worth of banana, carries it on her head and walk all the way from Nima to Accra central to sell. This woman pays taxes but gains absolutely nothing from the state. Her daughter took part in the recent SHS examination but couldn't make the required grades and the girl is currently sitting at home with no prospects of making it up the academic ladder.
Meanwhile, we had people occupying ministerial positions, who, until inception of current NDC administration in January, 2009, had never had a job in their lives and made no contribution to the state of Ghana by way of taxes. These ministers, some of whom hadn't even been issued with their university certificates, lived in single-room with their single mothers and numerous siblings in compound houses and survived on people's benevolence, have become overnight multi-millionaires, proud owners of multiple filling stations and multi-million-dollar Trassaco mansions.
There is still hope for the future
In all this, there is still hope for Ghana and we have every reason to believe that, indeed, we have patriots whose only desire is to make sure the wheels of our dear nation are put back on-track to make it work again. Unquestionably, it is very much unheard of, on our African continent, for a leader to openly declare that "I AM NOT CORRUPT"; and this is so, because, naked acts of CREATE, LOOT AND SHARE by political officialdom, since time in memorial, is what has been the order of the day, of which Ghana has become a spectacular example in recent times.
But Ghana has been blessed with a personality, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who, during the 2012 electioneering campaign, boldly and rather uncharacteristic of an African leader, declared to the entire world that, "I AM NOT CORRUPT, HAVE NEVER BEEN, WILL NEVER EVER BE, AND SHALL DEMAND SAME FROM MY APPOINTEES"; and since Nana Addo made that proclamation, not a fly has had the testicular fortitude to dare with a scintilla of evidence to the contrary.
By the grace of God, this noble man with impeccable personal integrity is now the president of Ghana, and I know he will bring to bear, his enormous experience and unmatched patriotism, to make Ghana a better place for all.