Ghana: When Are We Seeing Deterrence Against Recurrence?

editorial

After much perceived foot-dragging the John Dramani Mahama NDC Administration on Tuesday January 14, 2014, announced the abrogation of some contracts that the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) had negligently awarded some service providers.

The contracts affected included Rlg Communications training module, Asongtaba Cottage Industry & Exchange Programme and the Better Ghana Management Services Limited, a sister company of Zoomlion and part of the Jospong Group.

The announcement said the companies, who are already in talks with the AG's Department, had agreed to refund their individual share of the total of the GH¢786 million allegedly paid upfront to GYEEDA service providers in an anomie of disbursements in 2012.

Some may disagree but The Chronicle thinks this should be enough punishment for the companies. Even in the best of times, it is not easy to refund monies received and spent, talk less of hard times like these. After all, they did not illegally put their hands into anybody's tiller; the monies were offered to them by legitimately appointed officials of GYEEDA.

However, it is a different ball game altogether for the civil and public officers involved in the GYEEDA mal-administration.

Sequel to President Mahama's first-year-in-office anniversary media forum where he said that in a democratic dispensation, suspects or culprits are not detained pending investigation, The Chronicle had pointed out that the process of interdiction is lawful in all democracies worldwide.

We, therefore, reiterate our call on that occasion for President Mahama to suspend from public office all officials indicted in the GYEEDA report and who are still in public office after leaving GYEEDA. Interdiction is a first line of deterrence which puts colleagues of an affected person on notice to be careful they do not copy what he or she is supposed to have done. It is often followed by warnings - verbal or written - suspensions and even terminations, depending on the offence. And when it leads to termination it could be followed by prosecution.

The Chronicle thinks it is time the breaks were put on the indiscipline in the civil and public services that stinks to the high heavens. For personal gain government appointees routinely ignore time-honoured procedures for protecting the public interest.

How come a public official who knows fully well that he is not authorized to sign an official contract still goes ahead to sign a contract that commits government to pay 13.5 per cent of an unknown sum of money to a contractor, as President Mahama himself said was the case in the Ghana Revenue Authority-Subah Infosolutions telecoms-policing scandal?

It is similar malpractice that is said to have occurred with the GYEEDA contracts. According to the report, "Several of the contracts between GYEEDA and SPs lacked basic standard elements of contracts such as critical dates, including commencement and termination dates. Tenure and clearly-defined deliverables are missing from some of the contracts.

"Some MoUs did not have adequate provisions to protect national resources, let alone provide key performance indicators for measuring success.

"The use of MoUs, when legally binding agreements should govern such relationships, suggest a limited or absolute non-involvement of the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in the execution of all (the) contracts"...

The Chronicle is surprised, and totally so, that any President of Ghana would want any such bad precedent to be attached to his name!

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