Politics

Amidu admonishes politicians to stop intimidating Auditor-General …Declines to investigate ASEPA’s petition on missing excavators

Martin Amidu, the Special Prosecutor, has admonished public officials and politicians to desist from intimidating the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo over his audit reports and should stop attacking him over his professional work.

 He explained that the political parties should stop intimidating heads of anti-corruption agencies instead, they should allow them to do their professional work since the political divide was both fighting anti-corruption agencies when they are doing their professional work.

“You tag it with political issues, you can’t fight corruption by politicising it, and the two political parties, that is the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) must stop and allow heads of anti-corruption agencies to do their work professionally with their staff,” he stressed.

The Auditor-General has come under intense criticism over the publication of a performance audit of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) scholarship administration which will not allow the Auditor-General to perform his duty because he may now be selective in his auditing of state institutions.

According to Mr Amidu, the intimidation would not allow the Auditor-General to perform his duty because he may now be selective in his auditing of state institutions because the Audit Service has a provision for surcharge if the Auditor-General through the report of his staff could not disagree with them and supported their conclusion and surcharged public officials.

“The law provides an avenue you can challenge it, why personalise it to the Auditor- General, that’s intimidation and makes him incapable of performing the anti-corruption duty because he has hinted of plans to disallow and surcharge undeserving GETFund scholarship beneficiaries,” Mr Amidu observed.

A performance audit report of the Auditor-General on the administration of scholarships by GETFund from 2012 to 2018 revealed some politicians, lecturers and media personalities benefitted from the scheme, a policy meant for needy but brilliant students.

Dr Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Education, is listed as studying National and International Security at Harvard University, received $12,800 for living expenses and $11,200 as tuition fees, Adwoa Safo, the Minister of Procurement, is also listed having studied at the Harvard Kennedy School received $12,800 in allowances with $17,004 in tuition fees while Dr Armah studied Philosophy in Education at the University of Aberdeen with a benefit of £38,400 for living expenses in addition to £33,000 for tuition fees.

In the report, the Auditor-General said they may disallow and surcharge the individuals involved.

However, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has declined a petition by the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) to investigate alleged acts of thievery and corruption hindering the fight against illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey.

It explained that it could not establish acts of corruption or corrupt related offences mandated by its binding law to investigate.

“A review of your letter of complaint, however, has led this office to the conclusion the facts and conjectures upon which you underpin your complaints do not raise any issues of corruption and corruption-related offences as narrowly defined under section 79 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) to warrant an investigation by this office” a statement signed and issued by Mr Amidu.

ASEPA, invoking Act 959 of the Special Prosecutor Act had alleged that audio circulating on social media purported to be a conversation between Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment Science Technology and Innovation, and the Central Regional Vice-Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ekow Ewusi, is enough evidence of alleged corrupt acts thwarting the fight against galamsey.

The petition was submitted after members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) held a presser at the banks of the Pra River to accuse the president and his appointees of causing more harm to the mining sector since taking over power.

ASEPA pointed out that an investigation by the OSP would not only help unravel those responsible for various corrupt acts hindering the fight but would also make it possible for them to face the full rigours of the law.

But Mr Amidu insisted that “the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service is better mandated to handle the issue since the Service has also commenced investigation into a similar issue, it will not be in the interest of the country to spend money on new processes elsewhere.” -primenewsghana.com/myjoyonline.com

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