Public institutions must exercise powers for welfare of citizenry – Clara Kasser-Tee

A private legal practitioner, Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee, has observed that since the sovereignty resides in the citizenry, all public institutions must exercise their powers for their welfare.

“That is what the constitution has stated, but if you go into practice, we are really a powerless and helpless people, if public institutions don’t serve the public well, politicians should be able to do something about it because of how we have fashioned our laws,” she stressed.

Speaking as a panelist at an anti-corruption forum in Accra, Mrs Kasser-Tee explained that the review of the 1992 constitution had empowered the citizenry to properly hold public institutions accountable for their actions and inactions.

“I want a review of our legal and constitutional framework to strengthen public accountability due to calls on the back of the several cases of corruption reported in the public sector, now it is about time we take another look at the 1992 constitution.

“It has served us well, it is what has made us who we are, but that legal framework needs to be revisited, this is because when it comes to real accountability, power and capability of citizens to hold public officers accountable is not there and I think we need to rework the accountability a bit because our democracy has to go with accountability.

“The latest special audit report by the Auditor General revealed major infractions undertaken by some of the state institutions in the country,” Mrs Kasser-Tee bemoaned.

In the report, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has been queried over an amount of GH¢192,000 it reportedly expended on honorarium, courtesies and protocols, special and sitting allowances.

Whilst, the University of Ghana’s high indebtedness has been attributed to unauthorised borrowing and weak financial systems, the National Communications Authority (NCA) paid GH¢12,931,594.73 for consultancy services in 2016 without following proper procurement procedures.

Stakeholders have constantly called for collective action and sustained coordination of efforts, as well as the judicious application of resources to combat corruption.

The absence of a benchmark to assess the performance of stakeholders, especially the government, in the fight against corruption is also lacking.

Although the country has made strides with its corruption index in recent times, it seems much has not been done to prevent and sensitise the citizenry and even enforce the appropriate laws for the fight against corruption.

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