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General News of Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Source: GNA

Ghanaians urged to report acts of corruption

A local government has encouraged Ghanaians to report cases of corruption and stealing of public funds to the appropriate quarters without fear or favour.

Mr Fred Oduro, lecturer and resource person from the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Madina in Accra, made the call on Tuesday when he lectured members of the Ledzekuku-Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (SPEFA) group on Public Procurement and Asset Management.

The event, organised by Intervention Forum, a non-governmental organisation, in conjunction with SNV and the ILGS, formed part of the LEKMA’s SPEFA group’s Fourth Quarter Forum to review its previous activities.

He told the group to exercise their social responsibility by speaking out against persons who steal public funds, irrespective of wherever they are found, adding: “Thieves are thieves, don’t let us put labels on them.”

“There are thieves in all places such as government establishments, political parties, churches and, mosques who must be exposed and we should talk and not remain silent. Sometimes, we fear we will be ostracised but we must expose such bad people who sometimes hide behind political parties to steal,” he stated.

Mr Oduro took the citizens through the Public Procurement Law (Act 663), detailing its regulatory framework, main considerations in procurement, the Procurement Cycle, Asset Management, and the Acquisition and Registration of Assets.

Madam Nora Ollennu, Chief Executive Officer for Intervention Forum, said it was imperative for citizens to be abreast of the assembly’s procurement and asset management processes, calling on the SPEFA members to actively share on the subject.

“We must, as SPEFA members, also strive to share our learning with other citizens and members of our organisations and associations so as to ensure that the crucial knowledge acquired on this platform is extensively propagated and yields greater benefits for society as a whole,” she entreated them.

Madam Ollennu also gave highlights of key findings made by the SPEFA group from 2013 to 2016, saying LEKMA received 34 complaints in 2014; 41 in 2015 and 26 in 2016.

These ranged from education, unauthorised construction and encroachment, security, road network to delayed projects, health and staff, among others.
“Encroachment issues were noted as steadily increasing and this accounted for the slight variance in the figures for 2014 and 2015. The number of officially-lodged complaints was observed to be very low. There is thus the need for increased publicity on the Assembly’s clients/citizens complaint redress mechanisms throughout the municipality,” she stated.

Madam Ollennu listed the main challenges facing the implementation of redress mechanisms as delays in securing feedback from the schedule officers, difficulties in tracing the exact premises or locations for which the complaints pertained; and the fact that many people still wrote to the Municipal Chief Executive instead of using complaint forms.

Mrs Sarah Agbey, National Coordinator for SPEFA, re-emphasised the need for the citizenry to acquire knowledge, wisdom and money to be able to chalk any significance success in their communities.

She reminded them that Europe and China had advanced to their current levels due to their pursuit of knowledge and therefore encouraged the group to learn whatever they had been taught to make progress in life.

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