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19
Sat, Aug

We doff our hats to the Auditor-General

One of the major causes of the country’s slow pace of development has been the result of corruption in the public sector.

For many years, attempts have been made to minimise or even eradicate corruption from the system but these have not yielded the desired results to enable governments to achieve their objectives of accelerating the pace of development in the country and reduce poverty to its barest minimum.

Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, there have been attempts to expose corruption through the work of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament which sits to assess various reports from the Auditor-General.

Most of these sittings of the committee have been carried live by state television and public officials have been exposed for acts of negligence, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, among other major offences. Sometimes the figures lost to the state are so staggering, one would expect that all the forces at the disposal of the government would be marshalled to retrieve the money and the offenders prosecuted.

Unfortunately, this has not been done to discourage this age-old practice where the state is denied its due and, therefore, the pace of development is stifled and governments have no other choice than to go cap in hand across the world looking for aid.

It is, therefore, refreshing and exciting that the new Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yao Domelevo, has decided to clamp down on persons within the public service who have in one way or the other perpetrated crimes that have caused the state to lose millions of Ghana cedis through acts of commission and omission.

The Auditor-General said 11 persons had been named so far and more were yet to be identified and dealt with.

His action was prompted by the Supreme Court’s order to the Audit Service to recover all state funds which had been misappropriated by individuals since the coming into effect of the 1992 Constitution.

According to him, his review showed that the work done is good. The certificate issued to the people constituted a prima facie evidence that the person owed the government the amount quoted. He also noted that it was a certificate of indebtedness to the government which indicated that they had used government money wrongly; hence, the need to pay it back.

The Daily Graphic would want to highly commend OccupyGhana for the move it boldly took to compel the Auditor-General to act to surcharge public officials who embezzle public funds.

We are in a country where such cases, when started, can be watered down because of interventions from various sources, including chiefs, opinion leaders, the clergy and politicians.

But the Daily Graphic believes that the Auditor-General will leave no stone unturned to do justice to all persons found culpable of causing financial loss to the state.

Civil society groups and the media must join forces to ensure that we do not allow any force to thwart the efforts of the Auditor-General in his quest to enforce the ruling of the Supreme Court.

We believe that we have had enough of corruption, denying the masses their due and the time to clamp down on the perpetrators is now to serve as a deterrent to others who intend to do same.

We also urge the government to accord the Auditor-General all the support he requires, including security, to enable him to execute his mandate without fear or favour and Ghana will definitely be the winner.