President slams political opponents …for desperate attempt to tag him, family as corrupt

President Akufo-Addo with executive members of the Internal Audit.Photo.Ebo Gorman

President Akufo-Addo with executive members of the Internal Audit.Photo.Ebo Gorman

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has slammed his political opponents who have embarked on a deliberate campaign to tarnish his family with corruption allegations.


“I want to say that the stringent and desperate efforts being made by my political opponents to tarnish me and members of my family with corruption will simply not wash.”


“I did not come into public life to make money out of public service, and members of my family know fully well that they have to behave, and are not involved in anything untoward. I am aware that you give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. But, this dog will not be hanged,” he said.


Addressing the 2018 Annual Internal Audit Conference held on the theme, ‘Leadership and good corporate governance, a key to effective public financial management’ in Accra yesterday, President Akufo-Addo reiterated his commitment to fight against corruption, especially in the public sector.


The President expressed concerns over the widespread dissatisfaction among the general public about the integrity of dealings in public institutions.


“More than 60 years after our independence, we have not been able to achieve anything near the promise of our expectations. During these 60 years, there have been many moments of renewed hope when we have felt that we have yet another opportunity to get things right.”


“Somehow, these opportunities have largely turned out to be unfulfilled, leaving the people with a sense of betrayal,”he said.


President Akufo-Addo said internal auditors were the first line of defence in the fight against corruption and added that they played a major role in fighting the menace from public offices.


“Let me give you an example of what I am talking about, an example of what happens when public officials like internal auditors do their work. The Public Procurement Authority, by simply reviewing contracts brought before it for approval under either sole sourcing or restrictive tendering, has, in the past 18 months, saved the country some GH¢1.6 billion.”


“The whole of 2016, the Authority made zero savings. This is what can happen when our institutions work. In your own individual workplaces, you can cite your own examples of what you would save the country simply by insisting that people go by the book,” he said.


He said people believed that they could undermine the system and get away with spending GH¢10 of public money without accounting for it, they would not hesitate to take GH¢100 or GH¢1,000 or GH¢10,000.


The President bemoaned the persistent allegations of corruption and financial improprieties in the Auditor-General’s annual reports and added that such reports indicated that auditors were not doing their work as they should.


“Unfortunately, it has become a routine for the Auditor-General to uncover cases of financial malfeasance in the public service that would otherwise go unnoticed until he or she appears.”


“It is not pleasant, but we cannot avoid the conclusion that the internal auditor must be either complicit or incompetent. We cannot afford to have internal auditors that would be complicit in the malfeasance they are expected to prevent, and, certainly, we do not need incompetent ones,” he said.


From what was euphemistically termed petty corruption, to what must be called grand corruption, the truth, the President said, was that corruption thrived when no one was checking.


President Akufo-Addo said there were so many things that needed to be done, especially roads, schools, hospitals, houses, among others and stressed the need to plug all the avenues for the leakage of public funds.


“In our circumstances, when hopes have been dashed so many times, we dare not allow the current opportunity to go to waste. Internal auditors, working as they should, would bring confidence into the public sector. Internal auditors, working as they should, would keep in check not only the lowly clerk, but also the Chief Executive, and, yes, the President as well.”


“Internal auditors, working as they should, do not generate any drama, but, quietly and effectively, they ensure the smooth running of their departments. Every time there is drama, we can be certain that the internal auditor has not been effective,” he said.


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