The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that his government will not rush to prosecute alleged corrupt past government officials without properly gathering a well-researched, strong and compelling evidence to secure judgment.

President Akufo-Addo said many allegations of corruption had come to his notice which needed to be investigated, and that the setting up of the Special Prosecutor’s Office was not to satisfy the quest to see people in jail for the sake of it and that proper investigations and concrete evidence was required for proper prosecution in a competent court of law.

He was addressing the media at the Presidency for the first time, six months into his tenure.

He said the essence of the media engagement was to enable him share his successes and failures and to allow the media express their concerns for his response.

Present were the Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Chief of Staff, Mrs Frema Osei Opare, top officials of government, including Ministers of State and a cross section of the media.

President Akufo-Addo disclosed that such media encounters would be held twice every year, adding that half a year in office was a good time to take stock and not necessarily taut his achievements.

He noted that it was the responsibility of both government and the media to inform the people of Ghana details of what their mandate had been used for.

“I know some criticize me for my role in the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law which made the media 'too free' he said, adding that he preferred the noisy and boisterous media of today to the monotonous, praise singing media that we had a few years ago I prefer the media today to the monotonous, praise singing media that we had a few years ago.”  

He reminded the media of its responsibility to bring the details of the governance process to the people, adding "If the people don't know about what the government does, then both government and the media have failed.”

On his quest to deepen the decentralization concept, the President said this batch of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) was the last under this current dispensation adding, a new amendment would be introduced to enable the citizenry elect their MMDCEs.

The President said out of the 216 MMDCEs nominated, 208 have been approved and hoped that the remaining eight will be approved soon. "I am confident that my MMDCE nominees will work hard for their assemblies" he said. He thanked the parliament for the responsible manner in which it exercised its power to approve his nominee Ministers.

Responding to criticisms that government had increased the country's debt by borrowing over 40 billion Cedis in the past 6 month, the Vice President explained that last year, the deficit was 9.4% of GDP; but that thanks to the “Asempa budget” it was now 6.5% of the GDP while debt to GDP ratio, which was 45% to GDP four years ago, rose to 75% in 2016.

Furthermore, Dr Bawumia said, the debt stock was expected down to about 71% of GDP by the end of the year, adding that  “the burden of the debt stock on the economy was not increasing and we are hoping to bring it down.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)

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