Dr. Eric Oduro Osae, Dean of the Institute of Local Governance Studies (ILGS), has noted that non-prosecution of people who have “gleefully” misapplied state funds is the reason for the continous wanton dissipation of national resources.
“The inability of people who are supposed to guard against misapplication of the scarce resources of the country to do so, had emboldened persons to continue perpetrating that act”.
In his view, if public office holders, indicted in the annual Auditor General’s report, were punished severely to serve as deterrent to others, the practice would have stopped.
Speaking on the topic ‘Strengthening good governance and accountability at the local level’ at the Seventh Annual Accountability Lectures of the Audit Service in Accra yesterday, Dr. Osae said it was time the Auditor-General was given powers to prosecute people who misused state funds in the name of the people.
The lecture, on the theme ‘Good governance and accountability through stakeholder participation in public financial management’, brought together accountants and auditors from both state and private agencies who discussed how public finance management could be enhanced to advance accountability at all levels of governance.
Dr. Osae said the totality of human life, largely hinges on accountability,” and that people at the local level should be involved, through information sharing and engagement, in the governance process of the country.
He noted that the citizens had been excluded in governance and accountability discourse, allowing managers of state resources to evade accountability.
In that regard, he stressed the need to build the capacity of assembly members for them to ask the critical questions and demand accountability from their leaders at the local level.
Mr. Richard Quartey, the Auditor General, on his part said prudent public financial management has suffered because of inadequate check mechanisms to hold people responsible for how they spent in the name of the state.
It was imperative for a robust system to be built now to seal the decades long holes that encouraged unguarded use of public funds either by intentional or non-intentional means, he observed.
By Julius Yao Petetsi