Crack whip on corrupt officials now

BY: Arku Jasmine

Long ago we were always reminded of the adage, “Penny wise, pound foolish” when it comes to the use of our resources. In other words, when you do not have, you tend to use it wisely, but when you have more you use it any how.

It could also mean that those who have little plan how to apply the little they have well, while those who are not in want use their resources recklessly.

Our people will never be in want if the resources of the state are used judiciously, contrary to the reality on the ground now.

The reckless dissipation of state resources by those who are supposed to protect our assets leaves a sour taste in the mouths of majority of our people.

From the Auditor-General’s annual reports, reports of commissions of enquiry and the mobilisation of revenue, we are unable to crack the whip on those who have made it their duty to siphon what belongs to all for their personal gain.

It has been a puzzle for many years now and the people continue to ask: Why is the state apparatus, including the security and the justice systems, unable to deal with those who are cited for corrupt deals by the Auditor-General’s Report?

Do we take it to mean that there are some powerful forces somewhere who have made it their duty to protect the alleged criminals who do not want us to create and share but keep the booty for themselves, their cronies and families?

Again, we ask: Why does the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament lack the teeth to bite the many civil servants who are cited for corrupt deals in the Auditor-General’s Report?

We know the PAC does not have prosecutorial powers, but it has a constitutional duty to ensure that those entrusted with state resources demonstrate transparency in the use of those funds for the good of society.

We think that beyond the work of the PAC, the Executive also has a responsibility to ensure that its appointees demonstrate accountability and transparency in the use of state resources.

At every sitting of the PAC, the people are told that recommendations will be made to the Attorney-General’s Department to prosecute public officials who embezzled state funds, yet no action is taken.

It is unfortunate that while our people are crying for solutions to the problems confronting them, state officials acquiesce to the utter plunder of public resources by a few selfish public officials.

We should be alarmed now by the sheer volume of reportage and advertorial on workers of all ranks in the media who are alleged to have embezzled funds of private and state enterprises.

The Daily Graphic thinks the checks and balances regime in the public service which are enforced by a lot of legislation have broken down.

Also, the country’s value system has broken down, for which reason society and even parents do not question the lifestyles of people and young men and women who live above their means.

The situation looks more frightening when the churches accord frontline roles to their members who are rich, without checking their sources of income.

The Daily Graphic is not against the rich or affluent in society. Indeed, we should encourage all Ghanaians to work hard to get out of the uncomfortable poverty zone.

But we shall always remind our compatriots of the country’s value system that places emphasis on hard work and respect for the elderly and authority.

In the past, even those perceived to be rich in our society through ‘sika duro’ still worked hard in order to dispel the notion that they had juju money.

Today, virtually everybody wants to become a nouveau riche, without working hard to acquire the wealth, hence the spate of corrupt acts in all facets of human endeavour.

The Daily  Graphic calls on Parliament to step up its mandate of holding the purse strings of the government to ensure that every pesewa is spent to promote the welfare of the people.

Certain people connected with the mobilisation of revenue at the ports and elsewhere are under investigations for underhand dealings.

It is our hope that action will be speeded up on these matters and those found guilty prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to all others in the public service.

Let’s stop turning Ghana into a milking cow!