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General News of Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Source: happyghana.com

Ras Mubarak supports calls to empower PAC to prosecute public officials

Former Member of Parliament for the Kumbungu Constituency, Ras Mubarak Former Member of Parliament for the Kumbungu Constituency, Ras Mubarak

Former Member of Parliament for the Kumbungu Constituency, Ras Mubarak says it is right for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to be granted powers to take instantaneous actions against persons found guilty for the misappropriation of state funds.

He noted that PAC has done some good works over the period but lacks some decisive functions. According to him, PAC currently has the power to only subpoena records and witnesses. “PAC can only force persons who appear before the committee to produce documents and only make recommendations to prosecutors to deal with government officials found guilty of misappropriation of state funds.”

The former member of PAC revealed that most of these recommendations are not implemented and some of these civil servants go scot-free which is worrisome. “Because the Attorney General’s Department is sometimes overwhelmed, they can’t prosecute these corrupt officials considering the recommendations of PAC and because of this, I agree with calls for PAC to be given the authority to reprimand some offenders.”

Teachers must earn more than the President- Ras Mubarak advocates He cited an example of an embezzlement which went unpunished because prosecutors failed to act on recommendations. “An accountant managed to embezzle funds because of poor checks and balances. He manged to siphon government funds to start a house but fortunately for us, we found him out and PAC gave recommendations on how he should be dealt with. Till now, I don’t know if the prosecutors followed up.”

On his authority, such an offence was a straight forward one which PAC could have taken an action there and then. “If PAC had the authority, it could’ve seized the house and sold it to recoup the embezzled funds,” he told Don Kwabena Prah on Happy98.9FM’s Epa Hoa Daben political talk show.

Ras Mubarak indicted that the challenge of PAC only having the power to recommend punishments is sometimes frustrating, as more public officials get away with embezzling state funds.

“A lot of malfeasance in public institutions are made on the blind side of Ministers but we need to start making examples of people down the ladder so the EOCO and Special Prosecutor can deal with politicians,” he suggested.

Ras Mubarak insists the chairman of PAC made the recommendation because of these loopholes and believes their work would be useless if they (loopholes) are not blocked.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament needs to be granted the powers to take some immediate actions against persons cited in the Auditor General’s report for misapplying or misappropriating state funds, Mr James Avedzi, Chairman of PAC has said.

Mr Avedzi, who is also a Member of Parliament for Ketu North, expressed worry about the continued disregard for the public financial management laws saying “So, these are the problems that we have and that is why we have been saying that the PAC should be given some more powers so that we will be able to take action against some of these things to serve as a deterrent to the rest of the people.”

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