A study by the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), has catalogued a number of factors contributing to the growing corruption and financial impropriety among some metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), in the country.
Among the factors are the delay of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament to produce and release its report on the Auditor-General’s, Report, the inability of the PAC to follow up on its recommendations and failure of the MMDAs to implement the recommendation of the PAC.
Titled “Beyond the PAC Report: What next?” the 69 page-study conducted last year examined the status of the implementation of the PAC’s recommendations on 17 MMDAs spanning January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2007.
They include Upper Denkyira, Cape Coast Municipal, Bibiani-Anwhiaso-Bekwai, Wassa Amenfi East, Tema Metropolitan Assembly, Ho Municipal, Suhum, Karaga, Atebubu Amentin, Yendi Municipal, and Manya Krobo.
Presenting the highlights of the study in Accra yesterday, Dr. Patrick Osei-Kufour who conducted the study said the delay of the PAC to produce and release the report on the Auditor-General’s Report, emboldened public and civil servants to squander financial resources with impunity without recourse to the financial laws of the country.
That, he said was because officials of MMDAs cited for financial malfeasance and dissipating state revenue, felt they would not be reprimanded or forced to refund the monies they had misappropriated.
Dr. Osei-Kufour, who is also the Dean of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Cape Coast, said the inability of the PAC to produce and release the report on the Auditor General’s Report made it difficult for Civil Society Organisations to get information to hold public office holders or the MMDAs accountable.
He said the study also found that the Audit Report Implementation Committees (ARICs) of the 17 assemblies were ineffective and never prepared annual statements on the Auditor General’s report and that of the PAC, as mandated by the Audit Service Act, 2000, Act 684.
Dr Kufour also said some of the MMDAs surveyed said they were never furnished with copies of the Auditor General’s and PAC’s reports and never knew the assemblies had been cited for financial malfeasance.
The author, among other recommendations, said Parliament should endeavour to produce and release PAC reports including all outstanding ones not tabled in the House, to facilitate the work of monitoring activities of the ARICs.
“The Attorney-General must strengthen the Financial Tribunals that have been established under the Financial Administration Act and prosecute cases that occasioned the loss of public resources,” he said.
The Executive Director of GACC, Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, in her remarks, said the study was a sequel to a similar one conducted in 2011 to check the extent to which MMDAs implement the recommendations of the PAC recommendations.
She said, the latest study formed part of the GACC’s contribution to stem corruption in the country and ensure transparency in the management of public resources.
The Chairman of GACC, Nana Osei-Bonsu, in his remark, expressed regret that not a single case had been heard from the Financial Tribunal established by the Chief Justice two years ago to prosecute public officials indicted for misappropriating state money.
He entreated state agencies assigned with the duty to combat corruption to execute their duties judiciously, to ensure transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s resources.
Mr. Joseph Winful, former Senior Partner of KPMG, also in his remark urged the citizenry not to sit aloof but join the fight against corruption by demanding accountability from public office holders.
By Kingsley Asare