9 January 2019

Ghana: Let's All Help Protect the Public Purse

opinion

WE cannot but applaud the Ghana Audit Service for their role in protecting the public purse and add our voice in support for the effort.

We are particularly pleased with the efforts being made to recover huge sums of moneys for the state, as a result of the disallowing of items and expenditure that are contrary to the law and the surcharging of individuals and organisation who authorised payments or received the payments contrary to the law.

The effort is in line with the implementation of the landmark decision by the Supreme Court, in the case of the OccypyGhana versus the Attorney-General delivered on June 14, 2017, that ordered the Audit General to, among other things, take immediate steps to recover wrongful payments made from the public purse.

Indeed, good governance and for that matter protecting the public good and service is a shared responsibility. We, therefore, re-echo the call by the Auditor General for the public to take advantage of the Public Complaints Directorate set up at the Ghana Audit Service offices to help fight corruption and other financial malfeasance.

In doing so, we caution the public against wild allegations that cannot be substantiated and the need to be mindful of the reputation of others. We believe that people who have genuine complaints to make, in the interest of the public, will be protected under the Whistle Blower Act.

It is the view of the Ghanaian Times that it is a shared responsibility to fight and overcome corruption and to build a just, equitable and prosperous society. It is the responsibility of all to ensure the responsible use of the limited resources available to all of us.

As a matter of facts, the public is always yearning for development and governments are responding by making resources available for such development. Yet, corruption and misuse of public funds and resources appear to be what is going on in the public sector.

It is very regrettably, and a dent on our democratic credentials that despite all the regulatory framework guiding our conduct in public life, including the Financial Administration Regulations, the Audit General's report, public accounts are littered with many cases of financial infractions being committed by the spending officers, and other key staff in state owned institutions who should know better.

Of course, not all human beings are perfect and in human institutions, errors and omission may occur. But where such acts of malfeasance and financial improprieties become a ritual, there is cause for concern.

We add our voice to the call for strengthening of internal controls, monitoring and supervision of public expenditure in state institutions and the call on the law enforcement urgencies to expedite action on cases of financial malfeasance brought to their attention.

Furthermore, state institutions must endeavour to strengthen their Audit Recommendation Implementation Committees, to help enforce all recommendations by the Auditor General to minimise or stop all infractions.

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