MMDAs tasked to develop transparent systems to combat corruption

BY: Kwame Asare Boadu
Mr Kokro Amankwah
Mr Kokro Amankwah

As African’s Decentralisation Day is marked today, with focus on corruption, the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) has challenged Metropolitan , Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to develop accountable and transparent systems to combat the growing corruption at the local government level.

Describing the local government sector as one of the weakest links in the national efforts at fighting corruption, the association said the time to act to stop the rot was now.

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A press statement issued by NALAG in Accra in connection with the celebration said the quest to improve on the living standards of the people would be a mirage if corruption was allowed to fester in the MMDAs.

Celebration

African Decentralisation Day was adopted at the January 2012 Africa Union (AU) summit.

The day is meant to serve as a reminder to all Africans, including those in the diaspora, of the importance of decentralisation in the building of Africa, as well as the role of local government in achieving this objective.


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The theme for this year’s celebration is, : “Fighting corruption at the local level, a sustainable way to transform Africa from its territories.”

Against this background , NALAG urged its members who comprise the 254 MMDAs to celebrate this year’s day, especially as corruption had become a major problem militating against national development.

“ In order to have a sustainable way to transform Africa from within its territories, our assemblies must join the fight against corruption from within,” NALAG said in the statement signed by the General Secretary, Mr Kokro Amankwah.

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Engagement

The association urged MMDAs to be accountable to the people, engage citizens in participatory governance and conduct proper project management.

It noted that corruption at the local government level was a phenomenon across the world, and as such Ghana could not afford to look on without taking action to reverse the trend.

Finding solutions

NALAG posited that presently indicators of public confidence in local governance were not encouraging, citing corruption as the basis for the waning public confidence in the system.

But the association was confident that all was not lost if the right systems were put in place.

“Best practices such as improved access to public service, information disclosure and social audit, creation of action groups, strengthening internal control systems, publication of annual audit report as well as people’s right to information are very necessary to combatting the growing levels of corruption at the local level,” the statement said.

The association condemned the practice where most contracts awarded in the MMDAs were shrouded in secrecy, explaining that such a situation did not allow the public to perform its role as social auditors of projects and contracts.

It suggested that in order to facilitate accountability and transparency, there must be legal mechanisms that would make certain documents available to the public.

“Citizens may keep MMDAs in check by reviewing documents and information such as disclosure of contract and project details,” it said.