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General News of Monday, 13 February 2017

Source: Class FM

GHS7.5bn lost through public sector graft in 11yrs - Occupy Ghana


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Pressure group OccupyGhana has said at least GHS7.5 billion of the taxpayers’ money was lost through public sector corruption between 2003 and 2014.

“In our conservative estimates based on the Auditor-General’s own reports to Parliament from 2003 to 2014 (excluding 2009), Ghana lost almost GHS2.5billion through Ministries, Departments and Agencies alone.

And between 2009 and 2014, amounts lost to Ghana through public boards, corporations and other statutory institutions were over GHS5 billion,” OccupyGhana said in a statement

The group said it is the “continued, blatant theft of the nation’s monies through public sector corruption and the apparent unwillingness of the Auditor-General to exercise the powers of Disallowance and Surcharge that compelled OccupyGhana to reluctantly commence proceedings before the Supreme Court on 21st July 2016.

That matter is still pending, and on 31st January 2017 the Supreme Court directed the parties to file further arguments on the matter”.

OccupyGhana®, therefore, said it was happy to that it had just received a copy of the High Court (Civil Procedure) (Amendment) (No. 2) Rules, 2016 (CI 102), which regulate appeals to the High Court from the Auditor-General’s Disallowances and Surcharges.

It said since 12 November 2014, the group had been battling the Auditor-General, urging him to exercise the constitutional and statutory powers of Disallowance and Surcharge, and thereby help Ghana to recover the billions of cedis that are lost to the nation each year through blatant and largely unpunished public sector corruption.

In the course of that engagement, OccupyGhana® said it discovered that the requirement under Article 187(10) of the Constitution for the enactment of rules of court to regulate appeals against the Auditor-General’s Disallowances and Surcharges had not been complied with.

On 28th May 2015, OccupyGhana said it wrote to the Rules of Court Committee to inquire about those rules. As a result of the subsequent interactions, OccupyGhana was invited to submit, and submitted to the Rules of Court Committee, proposed draft rules for enactment as required under Article 187(10).

Subsequently, OccupyGhana said it received for its comments the draft bill which captured almost verbatim, the proposals it had made.

“It has always been OccupyGhana’s contention that the Auditor-General has more power to commence the process of recovering monies lost to Ghana by issuing the Disallowances and Surcharges, than the simple annual ritual of issuing ‘journalistic’ Reports to Parliament containing mere ‘recommendations’.

“Indeed, in the words of the Auditor-General in the 2011 and 2013 Reports to Parliament, ‘The cataloguing of financial irregularities in my Report on MDAs and Other Agencies has become an annual ritual that seems to have no effect.’

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