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General News of Saturday, 14 December 2013

Source: myjoyonline.com

‘Financial Tribunal is Mahama's best bet to fight corruption’

A National Democratic Congress (NDC) stalwart, Sam Pee Yarley, has expressed surprise that although the Financial Administration Act has been passed, a Financial Tribunal has yet to be established despite it being a requirement of the Act.

According to him, the Act is comprehensive enough to assist President John Mahama in his fight against institutional corruption.

The Financial Tribunal when established will have jurisdiction to hear and determine matters of financial misappropriation by state officials and also enforce recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Parliament on the Auditor General's Report.

The Auditor General in September this year published its 2012 report of 77 state institutions in which it uncovered financial irregularities to the tune of GH¢2,019,188,488.76 (US$50,748,780).

This revelation and reports on other corrupt activities at the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), and Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) have formed the basis for critics of President John Mahama to question his resolve to fight corruption in the country.

The President recently instructed the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) and the Minister of Finance to work with the Minister of Youth and Sports to secure moneys wrongfully paid to or appropriated by any individual or company from contracts with the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) by December 31, 2013.

He has also launched a code of conduct for government appointees aimed at fighting against bribery, corruption and other malpractices.

But Mr Sam Yalley says although these steps are good, the Financial Administration Act (2003), which also gives jurisdiction to ordinary courts to hear matters relating to other reports by the Auditor General can singularly curb corruption considerably in the country.

Mr Sam Yalley was speaking on Radio Gold's Alhaji and Alhaji programme on Saturday December 14, 2013.

Section 66 of the Financial Administration Act 2003 states, "the [Financial] Tribunal shall comprise a Judge of the High Court who shall be a Chairperson, a Chartered Accountant, a Management Accountant and a Professional Valuer. "

"If as a country we have these laws, why should we [politicise] corruption?" he asked.

He said if the Mahama-led NDC administration is able to use the Financial Administration Act to charge and prosecute persons indicted in the last two Auditor General's reports, the party will continue to win elections in the country.

"Your Excellency, you Bible of salvation [to fighting corruption] is the Financial Administration Act", he said.

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