Eastern Regional Director of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Fred Dzeny, has incurred the wrath of his superiors for asking the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to prosecute its alleged corrupt officials first, before dealing with opposition political parties’ members.
That, Mr Dzeny said, would prove that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was committed to fighting corruption and not just by words of mouth.
But little did he know that his harmless statement would land him into trouble.
Mr Dzeny, who did not mince words in an audio tape on Adom FM in Accra, monitored by Today, was heard asking President Akufo-Addo to stop the noise and go after his own appointees who had been accused of corrupt practices if he [President Akufo-Addo] indeed wanted to fight corruption.
“When you look at the corruption cases in Ghana, it is not just politicians who are corrupt, the public servants, civil servants they are all corrupt. When you look at it, it is the chief directors who prepare contract documents and other things so if we are blaming the politicians, it is not right, it is the public servants generally,” he said.
“Before we can fight corruption in Ghana, the ruling government should be ready first and foremost to prosecute their own…then they can also have the guts to prosecute their own,” he said.
He also appealed to government to resource the anti-corruption institutions to be able to execute their mandates satisfactorily.
He bemoaned the challenges facing EOCO adding that it was inhibiting it to the fight against corruption.
And due to his call on President Akufo-Addo to start prosecuting his own, EOCO in a statement signed by its Executive Director, ACP K.K. Amoah (Rtd), said the comments made by Mr Dzeny though his personal utterances were unprofessional, hence the need for his suspension.
The press release titled, RE – PROSECUTE YOUR CORRUPT OFFICIALS FIRST-EOCO TO GOVERNMENT said the institution dissociates itself from the said publication.
“The statement made by the Eastern Regional Director, Fred Dzeny, is an expression of his personal view and has nothing to do with the Office.”
“The Office considers his conduct as against the ethical and professional standards of the Office. He has therefore been suspended and the matter referred to the appropriate unit for investigation.”
However, Mr Dzeny, who was not happy with the suspension, also in a separate statement denied ever making those comments, describing them as false and misleading.
According to him, he was invited and received permission from his superiors at EOCO to speak at a symposium organised by the Koforidua Technical University on November 1, 2018 to share his perspective on how the government can fight corruption.
He said the misleading reports stemmed from the discussion segment of the programme when he stated that.”
“A further question was posed about how the problem can be tackled,” Mr Dzeny explained in his statement.
“In response, the regional head expressed his opinion that, “I think all governments must try to investigate their own officers when allegations of corruption are levelled against them.”
Meanwhile, our investigations have shown that some people in the corridors of power who were not happy with the comments by the embattled Eastern Regional boss of EOCO impressed on his superiors to relieve him (Mr Dzeny) of his post.
According to our source, Mr Dzeny’s intention was to paint the ruling government black in the eyes of the public.
“2020 polls will be decided on incorruptibility, and he (Mr Dzeny) knows his National Democratic Congress (NDC) will lose on that, and that is why he wants to tag NPP also as a corrupt party. But we won’t sit down for such elements in state institutions to destroy us,” the source told Today.
However, some civil society organisations in the country have roundly slammed EOCO for suspending, Fred Dzeny, over his comments on corruption.
Speaking on Starr FM in Accra yesterday, the Director for Advocacy and Policy Engagement, Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, stated that the suspension was shocking and very disturbing.
According to him, it smacked of intolerance on the part of government and an attempt to gag people from criticising the government.
“Suspending the EOCO Boss sends a wrong signal. The suspension should be lifted. I was really disappointed by this action…when you create an impression that people cannot comment on corruption because it will make some people uncomfortable, then we have a challenge and thus sends a wrong signal,” Dr Asante said.