Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu

The Minority Leader and MP for the Tamale South Constituency, Haruna Iddrisu, has stated that Parliament’s inability to mount the needed vigilance on the Executive is a result of the excessive partisanship in the country.

According to him, this has also made it difficult for the Legislature, to protect the public purse.

The NDC lawmaker made these remarks, while responding to a question on the US Human Rights Ghana Report 2021, which amongst other things, blamed Parliament and other institutions for the increasing levels of corruption in the country.

“We are not doing sufficiently as an institution and Parliament is bucked down to excessive partisanship. We are exercising our mandate appropriately to protect the public purse. Why will Parliament not be interested in probing into COVID expenditure? Who loses? Who gains? It’s the citizens of Ghana. Any matter of probe can only enhance probity, transparency and accountability.

So if Parliament cannot even probe into a matter like COVID, where donors are concerned about the prudent and optimum utilisation of resources they invested to combat this public health pandemic, then what do you expect of Parliament?”, he quizzed.

The legislator added that, other lapses on the part of Parliament includes the delay in the approval of contracts, and the lack of the rigour and robust mechanisms, to ensure value for money. This he indicated contributes to the country’s failing fight against the menace of corruption.

The U.S. Department of State in its 2021 Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices observed that corruption is still prevalent in Ghana.

According to the document, “officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity”.

It also noted that although laws stipulate punishments for corrupt officials, the government hardly implements them effectively.

“Corruption was present in all branches of government, according to media and NGOs, including recruitment into the security services”, parts of the report read.

Citing the Auditor General’s June Report, the US States Department mentioned that graft is widespread in the country’s public sector.

This, has resulted in the loss of huge sums of public funds.

“The Honorary Consul General and the Ghanaian consulate in Washington D.C. could not account for visa fees totalling $355,000. The Free Senior High School Secretariat misspent more than $3.16 million.

“A former Minister of Tourism retained three official vehicles for personal use after leaving office. The report concluded that corrupt practices resulted in $340 million of financial mismanagement, including misapplication and misappropriation of funds, theft, and procurement mismanagement”.

Corruption continues to be a major problem the country battles with although governments implement various measures to curb the menace.

In 2018, President Akufo-Addo, established the Office of the Special Prosecutor to clamp down on corruption.

However the US State Department noted that “Since the first Special Prosecutor took office in 2018, no corruption case undertaken by that office resulted in a conviction”.

“When the new special prosecutor took office in August, his staff included one investigator and one prosecutor, both seconded from other offices”.

Meanwhile, the report also revealed that the 2020 general election was transparent, free and fair.

According to the report, despite violent scenes at some of the centres, the verdict, which saw President Akufo-Addo winning another term to govern Ghanaians, was very credible.

The report released on April 12, 2022, said Ghana’s Presidential and Parliamentary election results reflected the will of the people.