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General News of Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Source: GNA

Render total accountability to citizens—Citizens’ Coalition to government

Member of the high table at the launch of the Citizen's Coalition Member of the high table at the launch of the Citizen's Coalition

The Coalition for Democratic Accountability and Inclusive Governance, a.k.a. Citizens’ Coalition, has asked the Government to render comprehensive accountability to the citizens for state funds, interventions and offices.

Nana Asantewaa Afadzinu, the Executive Director of West Africa Civil Society Institute, and member of the Coalition, who made the call at the launch of the Coalition in Accra on Monday, said corruption in the public sector remained an existential threat to Ghana’s democracy.

“It has eaten dangerously into party politics, public procurement and threatens to overwhelm the Republic,” she added.

Despite government’s interventions like the Office of the Special Prosecutor, she said, the provision of resources to some anti-corruption agencies and the passage of the Right to Information law, had not made progress in the fight against public corruption.

The Citizens’ Coalition, therefore, echoed the call on the Auditor General to exercise his powers under the constitution to issue surcharges and disallowances against persons cited for various financial irregularities in the 2019 and 2020 Auditor-General’s reports.

“We note that in 2018, Mr Daniel Domelovo, then Auditor-General, recovered over GHS66 million back to government coffers through surcharges,” she added.

Nana Asantewaa expressed the Coalition’s worry over the recent publications of the media in May and June 2022, showing the wanton disregard of the already weak asset declarations.

According to information from the Auditor-General published by the media, she said about 10,000 public office holders had declared their assets and liabilities.

The Coalition, therefore, demanded that the Auditor-General directed all defaulting public officers to comply with the Constitutional requirement immediately and urged the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to take appropriate action against defaulting public officials.

The actions included initiating legal action against defaulters to enforce compliance or in lieu of compliance, have the courts impose sanctions on them, pursuant to CHRAJ’s mandate under the Constitution and the CHRAJ ACT.

“It is our firm expectation that by the end of August 2022, all defaulting public officers would have fully complied with the asset declaration regime,” she added.

The Citizens’ Coalition welcomed the long overdue inauguration of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) Board as the vanguard of the fight against corruption, particularly corruption involving politically exposed persons.

She urged the government to provide adequate resources to the OSP to ensure its operational and functional independence, adding that anything short of that would betray the government’s commitment to establishing a functional OSP.

“We also entreat the OSP to deal promptly with a number of legacy cases from the Martin Amidu tenure so we can build and sustain confidence in the office and its work,” she added.

On the recent rising issues of the Achimota forest, Nana Asantewaa urged the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to abort all plans for its redevelopment.

“We also urge the leadership of the Lands Commission to act conscientiously in the discharge of their duties to safeguard the national interests as far as this matter and all public lands are concerned,” she stated.

On the Agyapa Royalties Deal, she admonished government to suspend all steps at implementing it for a more thorough public scrutiny of agreements.

Speaking about the undue delay in passing the Affirmative Action Bill, she urged the President and his Cabinet to act with dispatch on the Bill and have Parliament consider and pass it as soon as possible. 

This would promote inclusion, fairness and justice for all in society, particularly women and girls, she explained.

Nana Asantewaa said the Citizens’ Coalition had also closely followed the issues related to the Government’s accounting for COVID-19 expenditure, saying that it was imperative that the expenditures made for which Ghanaians continued to pay levies, were properly accounted for.

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