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General News of Monday, 23 August 2021

Source: 3news.com

Anti-corruption institutions weakened – Kojo Asante

Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at CDD, Dr Kojo Asante Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at CDD, Dr Kojo Asante

Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Mr Kojo Asante, has said that many things have happened over the past few years that have weakened anti-corruption institutions in Ghana.

He explained that if this is not nipped in the bud to ensure that corruption is fought properly, the nation risks jeopardizing the democracy being enjoyed by the people.

He was speaking on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday, August 21, in relation to a meeting President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had with the leadership of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) at the Jubilee House on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

The GACC had paid a courtesy call on the president to discuss a number of issues, including the Auditor General’s report for the year ending 2020, which shows consistent mismanagement and abuse of public funds over the years.

He asked the government to take steps to deal with the matters in the report.

Nana Osei-Bonsu, Chairman GACC, told the president, “The reports show that six different types of financial irregularities (cash irregularities, payroll irregularities, procurement irregularities, tax irregularities, stores irregularities, and contract irregularities) continue to plague the nation’s finances. For example, the Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana – Public Boards, Corporations and Other Statutory Institutions for the year ended December 31, 2019, shows that the six forms of irregularities listed above cost the country up to GH¢608,670,447.

“There is a more worrying picture in the subsequent report of the Auditor General, which is the “Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana-Public Boards, Corporations and other Statutory Institutions for the Year Ended December 31 2020.” According to the Auditor-General, the total irregularities stood at GH¢12,856,172,626, higher than the figures recorded for 2019” the GACC Chairman added.

Mr Akufo-Addo responded by saying, “In my commitment to develop state agencies to act in the interest of whom they serve, I have not deviated from that. But there is something we cannot overlook, the highly political atmosphere in which some of these allegations are raised, in which some of the CSOs are privy to and complicit,” he said.

Dr Asante told host Dzifa Bampoh that “Let me reiterate something that corruption is an existential threat to our very young democracy to our institutions, and there are a lot of things that have happened in the last couple of years that have weakened the structures for fighting corruption.

“I can understand where political actors come from when political actors when they are in power see things differently.

“If we don’t tackle corruption, we really risk a lot of things that people have fought for many years to restore this democracy.”

For his part, a Deputy Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Kamal Deen, said the fight against corruption should not be limited to officials in government.

He said it is the duty of all Ghanaians.

“Corruption itself is a canker we must all fight. In government or outside government, you have an obligation to fight corruption. All of us owe it a duty to ensure that corruption is fought to the fullest.

“But sadly, we narrow the fight against corruption or limit it only to people in authority; it is a very sad situation for all of us.

“That brings to fore the polarization of our own system. So the fact that we have limited it to only people in authority, for that matter politicians, then it is only politicians who speak, and we think we are all fighting against corruption; however, it ought to be broadened, let’s get all-inclusive in the fight against corruption.”

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