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19
Sat, Aug

PAC must help mend leaking pot

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has once again begun its public hearings in its quest to unravel the ‘mystery’ behind the misapplication and mismanagement of public funds.

As per its annual ritual, public servants are summoned to answer questions on the various forms of expenditure and issues flagged by the Auditor-General in his report submitted to the House as per the dictates of the 1992 Constitution.

Under normal circumstances, the exercise is expected to generate some interest among well-meaning Ghanaians because of their expectation that money belonging to the taxpayer which had not been properly accounted for would be recovered and those found culpable jailed or given some form of punishment meant to deter others from doing same.

Unfortunately, however, for many years, an exercise which is meant to serve as a lesson for all has become a mere naming and shaming ceremony where many of the personalities under whose watch such crimes are perpetrated are let off the hook and new appointees who do not have in-depth knowledge of what transpired are rather quizzed.

We now seem to live in a country where naming and shaming has become part of the ball game, only to leave those involved in criminal acts to walk freely to enjoy their booty.

The Daily Graphic reminds us all that issues about unemployment, corruption in high places, among other crimes, are eating too deep into the moral fabric of society and we need to check this canker before it is too late.

The PAC must evoke its constitutional powers to the fullest by ensuring that those found culpable of embezzling funds from the ordinary taxpayer are brought to book. The process should not end at the sittings for the culprits to be let off the hook to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth.

A couple of months ago, the Supreme Court empowered the Auditor-General to take action against persons who were found to have caused financial loss to the state in various forms.

We are confident that the process, which has begun in earnest, will not be stopped at any point in time because of political or any form of pressure from any source.

There are many instances when the clergy, chiefs and other influential people have stepped in to halt processes meant to prosecute wrongdoers. This practice has caused the nation far too much and it must stop with immediate effect.

The few greedy ones among us should not be allowed to get away with stolen state resources meant to improve the lives of the majority of people.

We should be reminded that the practice of begging for handouts to balance our budget can only end when white-collar thieves are stopped. Today, the government is forced to take commercial loans at high coupon rates to fix simple challenges.

The Daily Graphic reminds all about the President’s pledge to bring to an end our reliance on aid, so that we can generate our own resources to develop our nation.

It is for this reason that the entire citizenry, particularly those placed in responsible positions, need to live up to expectation and allow the funds in the public purse to be used for their right purposes to benefit all and sundry.

We trust that with the power given the Auditor-General, the sittings of the PAC will not be business as usual but will lead to the mending of the leaking pot.