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General News of Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Source: GNA

Commission of inquiry into Ghana@50 inaugurated

Accra, June 17, GNA - Vice President John Mahama on Wednesday inaugurated a three-member commission of inquiry into the Ghana @50 celebrations, and charged members to executive the 90-day job to meet the "highest professional and ethical standards".

Inaugurating the commission at the Castle, Osu, Vice President Mahama demanded "an objective, fair and just enquiry that establishes the cold hard facts of all transactions and activities related to the 50th anniversary celebration".

The creation of the commission by President J.E.A. Mills on June 4, 2009, in pursuant to Article 278 (1) of the constitution, was in response to public furore over perceived misapplication of public funds in the celebration of the nation's golden jubilee.

Under the chairmanship of Mr Justice Isaac Douse, an Appeals Court Judge, with Mr O.T. Prempeh, a former Auditor-General and Madam Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, a Legal Practitioner, as members, the commission would inquire into allegations of improper use of public and other funds for the celebration.

It would also inquire into the use by the Ghana@50 secretariat of any property, movable or otherwise, and other matters which appears to it to be incidental to or reasonably related to the celebrations.

Vice President Mahama defended the setting-up of the commission as important because it was "in the general public interest".

He said the action "was in response to calls by Ghanaians for probity and accountability in public financial management", noting that its work could help set benchmarks that might become part of a national work ethic.

Vice President Mahama said with the credibility, competence and track record of the commissioners, he expected them to deliver a good job without ill-will to any person involved in the celebration. "With your credibility, competence and track record, I am confident that the government and the good people of Ghana will be able to rely on your professional work which will go a long way to enhance our efforts in creating a better Ghana where good governance and accountability by public officers will become part and parcel of the national work culture", he added.

The Chairman, Mr Justice Douse described the commission's task as "difficult" but was confident that the members would not disappoint the nation.

He said the commission intended to do a thorough job, yet very dispassionate in its deliberations, promising that all persons appearing before it would have a fair hearing.

"We would do our job fairly, without fear or favour", he assured. The Appeals Court Judge further assured persons who may appear before the commission that they "would not have any problem if the truth is on their side", as members bore no ill will against them.

Two State Attorneys, Mr Cecil Adadevoh and Madam Barbara Sackey, will serve as secretaries to the commission which is expected to submit its findings to the President within 90 days from the start of its work. The completion of the work of the commission would bring to closure a national uproar over how public funds were committed to the golden jubilee celebrations in 2007.