A-G’s Report Reflects Ghana’s Weak Institutions – Okudzeto Ablakwa
A Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has attributed the widespread acts of corruption and maladministration contained in the 2009 Auditor-General’s Report to the weakness in the country’s public institutions. Reflecting on the issue, he described as sad and worrying the amount of money that was lost to the state over the period of 2006 to 2009. The Committee for Joint Action (CJA) on Thursday, January 27th asked the government to step up the fight against corruption in the country. The 2009 Auditor-General’s report revealed pervasive corrupt acts and mismanagement within some government institutions, the major problems of which had to do with tax administration, cash management and non-collection of debts from large corporations, misappropriation of public funds and payment of salaries to non-staff members. “The fight against corruption and mal-administration is an important part of the mandate of all governments,” CJA spokesperson Kwesi Adu, stated at a news conference in Accra on Thursday, January 27. Speaking on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana show, Okudzeto Ablakwa expressed his disappointment at the startling findings contained in the report. He bemoaned the fact that politicians always seem to be at the receiving end of every happenings in the country and the focus of the fight against corruption, adding that it is time the lens placed on political leadership to check corruption is extended to the civil, private, and public sectors. “It is worrying the amount of money that was lost to the state over the period 2006-2009. You will notice that a lot of times, the focus in the fight for corruption is only on political leadership; we need to put the same lens on every sector of our country. There are corrupt officials in the Civil, Private and Public sectors because fighting corruption really needs a giant effort and you need inspiration to be strong,” he noted. He noted that most of the reasons adduced for these acts of misappropriation are problems associated with accounting and ineffective payroll systems in this country, which, he said, needs not be so. According to him, there are situations where one person receives salaries meant for ten people and there are no watertight systems to ensure that when salaries are paid, they are paid to the right people. “The audit report is systemic and you can give all kinds of reasons; sometimes our accounting system is problematic, payroll system is problematic and we have not been able to deal with the issue of ghost names. We do not have a watertight system so that you can be sure that once salaries are paid, they are paid to people, who exist and are working. We have a situation where one person can be receiving salaries for about ten people and there are cases where people who are living in government bungalows do not pay rent for years, and the system is not able to detect all these until after several years,” he stated. He however assured the public that government is making efforts to rectify the situation. According to him, Madam Amoako Nuamah has been tasked by the President to look into the audit report and come up with immediate and strong recommendations as to how these things can be prevented.
Source: Beatrice Adepa Frempong/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana