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General News of Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Source: GNA

Law on wilfully causing financial loss to the state under attack

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Accra, Oct 23, GNA - The General Secretaries of four political parties with representation in Parliament, on Tuesday kicked against the law on 'wilfully causing financial loss to the state', saying it was inimical to national reconciliation.

In a joint press statement read on their behalf by Nana Ohene Ntow, General Secretary of the ruling NPP, the group calling themselves the Platform of General Secretaries and Policy Analysts (The Platform) called for the law to be scrapped from the statute book.

"Having been briefed on the history and antecedents as a well as the rationale for the law on 'wilfully causing financial loss to the state' we are convinced that the continued existence of that law on the statute books is inimical to any genuine effort to promote national reconciliation and goodwill among political parties and players in the country," he said.

The call came after weeks of deliberation on the causes and effects of polarisation in the country, under the auspices of the Ghana Political Parties Programme (GPPP), facilitated and sponsored by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD).

Nana Ntow noted that beyond the call for that law to be scrapped, the general secretaries of the four parties, comprising, NPP, NDC, CPP and PNC were themselves committed to undertaking the necessary education required to create an appropriate environment that would enable the law to be repealed.

He said the platform agreed that the country was polarised along partisan, ethnic, chieftaincy, ideological, generational, gender and economic lines, adding that on the part of political parties, the general secretaries would ensure that all official party policies, practices, strategies, tactics and speeches were devoid of ethnic sentiments.
They called for the strengthening of the National Peace Council and the establishment of a multi-party National Youth Conference among other things to ensure consistency in the effort to achieve national reconciliation.
Nana Ntow noted that political transition from one government to the other also engaged the attention of the platform considerably, saying that the main concerns had to do with the brevity of the transitional period, the treatment of officials of the outgoing government and investigations into the conduct of previous government. Other transitional issues included end-of-service benefits for the departing political office holders and privileges of former presidents. He said the platform agreed that there was need to allow a reasonably longer period between the declaration of a winner in a presidential election and the actual swearing in of the new president to enable sufficient time for efficient handing over in the event of change from one party to another.
Nana Ntow recalled that it took only four working days for former President Jerry John Rawlings to prepare and hand over power to President John Agyekum Kufuor, saying that, that was not acceptable given that it took at least six months to set up a government.

He noted that some of the issues discussed would require constitutional and legal amendments and therefore called for a National/International Conference on Amendments in 2013 on the 20th anniversary of the constitution to consider proposed amendments to the constitution.

Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah told the Ghana News Agency that beyond the recommendations made in the joint statement the various political parties would discuss the issues raised at their party levels and come up with suggestions to inform a memorandum that would be issued jointly to advice government on which form the process should take.

Those who endorsed the statement included Professor Nii Noi Dowuona, General Secretary of the CPP, Mr. Gabriel Pwamang, for PNC, Mrs. Jean Mensa, IEA and Mr. Jasper Veen from NIMD.

PICTURE: Ex- ministers Peprah & Selormey who were jailed for wilfully causing financial loss to the state

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