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General News of Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Source: Chronicle

Kufuor has failed in fight against corruption - NPP MP

The Member of Parliament for Breman Asikuma Odoben Brakwa, Hon. P.C. Appiah-Ofori says the government under the leadership of President John Agyekum Kufuor has not done much to fight the menace of bribery and corruption in his two terms of administration.

The NPP Member of Parliament, whose candid opinion on certain national issues often attracts a lot of condemnations from his colleague NPP MPs, believes that President Kufuor has not taken much proactive measures to curtail the menace of corruption which according to him has been the bane of our country's quest to achieve an economic freedom.

Appiah-Ofori observed that even though the President did quite well by putting in place structures like the Internal Audit Act 2004, the Public Procurement Act, the Finance and Account Regulation Act among others to check the hazards of bribery and corruption in the country, nothing had practically been done towards achieving the objective, adding "the fact that people continue to embezzle state funds without any recourse to the consequences as revealed during the Public Accounts Committee's sitting last year amply confirms how poor the government has performed in the area of anti-corruption crusade."

Expressing his views about the President's State of the Nation Address of last Thursday on Hello Fm , a local radio station in Kumasi last Saturday, the outspoken MP noted that since the constitution enjoined the President to lead the crusade towards the eradication of corruption as enshrined in the Article 5 clause 1 of the 1992 constitution, the President should take the blame for failure to ensure adequate enforcement of the anti-corruption laws which are aimed at not only to punish people for engaging in corruption but to also deter public officers from engaging in corrupt practices.

The celebrated "Anti-Corruption Crusader" noted that, with the exception of Mallam Issah's jail sentence and few other cases which saw public officers being prosecuted for misappropriating state funds, the focus of the President was shifted from his earlier pledge to uproot the canker of corruption, and this gave room for public servants to siphon state funds with impunity.

He observed that several reports from the Controller and the Account General's Department showed evidence that corruption was deeply embedded in the grass roots as public servants from various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies were found to have embezzled whopping sums of monies belonging to the state, but these reports received little attention from the Executive body of the government.

MP Appiah-Ofori indicated, however, that consolation should be taken in the fact that the President finally ordered the immediate prosecution of these offenders during his state of the nation address adding that he would personally help the security agencies to ensure that all the perpetrators were brought to book.

For his part, the MP for Old Suame and the minister of state at the ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said, in as much as he would admit that the government had a long way to go in the fight against corruption, he would disagree that the President had failed in the fight against the canker, saying the government must be commended for the bold steps it had taken, especially to strengthen the various security agencies and the funding of the activities of the Parliamentary Public Account committee.

He noted that for the first time under the NPP government, the committee conducted the first ever public sitting which according to him was an exhibition of the government's seriousness in the fight against corruption.

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