Clara Kasser-Tee, a law lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) has stated that it is counter-productive for anti-graft institutions to be chasing public officials deemed to have caused financial loss to the state after they have left office, which she describe as, “Closing the stable door only after the horse has bolted.”
“We must prosecute and punish former office holders for any crimes they may have committed but also important to prevent losses from happening in the first place, whether it is current public officers, past public office holders or private persons.
“It is hardly ever possible to retrieve entire value of amount lost, once amount leaves stable, not whether anti-graft institutions can or cannot prosecute former public officers but how often they have done that points to inherent challenges,” Mrs Kasser-Tee stressed.
She made the comments when she moderated a stakeholders meeting organised by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to share information about its operations to the public in Accra.
Mrs Kasser-Tee pointed out that, “Remember past public officers were once current public officers, those prosecuted for alleged crimes relate to allegedly committed while were ‘current public officers’, makes sense for anti-corruption institutions to succeed preventing ‘economic and financial losses’, have boldness, ability to investigate, pursue current and past public office holders as well as private persons.
“Let us not keep postulating on ‘whether they can or cannot’, rather, let us look at how often they have facts, we need to revisit powers of appointment for anti-graft institutions to better deliver on mandate and must be made autonomous.
“Anti-graft institutions such as EOCO must be legally equipped with ability to hire and fire in own right, advertise positions, have interviews, appoint staff, including executive director and deputies in order to achieve anti-graft responsibilities.
“Loyalty must be to state and citizenry, independence and security of tenure for directors will secure national gains for anti-corruption fight, legal framework of EOCO, the executive director, deputy and staff are appointed by the president including board members with exception of two, directly or indirectly appointed by the president.
“In case of executive director, he/she may be terminated ‘in accordance with his/her letter of appointment,’ no security of tenure, is it any wonder there is little or no evidence of prosecuting current public office holders?” Mrs Kasser-Tee quizzed. -myjoyonline.com