A leading member of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Victor Kwejuga Adawudu has commended the previous New Patriotic Party government for passing progressive anti-corruption legislation.

He said the Public Procurement Act, the Financial Administration Act, and the Internal Audit Agency Act, were critical legislations designed to protect the public purse but said it was depressing that despite the good intentions of the laws, public office holders had continued to violate financial regulations and plunder resources with impunity.

Speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis programme, Newsfile Saturday, which was also shown for the first time on MultiTV, Mr Adawudu said he believed there was a syndicate working to subvert and undermine the effectiveness of the legislations.

He was speaking to a subject raised by the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) regarding millions of Ghana Cedis that have not been accounted for by Ministries Departments and Agencies as captured in the 2009 Audit Report.

The CJA said the country had lost well over GH¢2 million at its foreign mission thanks to the payment of ghosts – staff who receive salaries long after they had stopped working for the missions and that “We are concerned that outstanding loans and debts amounting to GH¢28, 984, 710, occurred mostly because CEPS failed to collect debts from liable companies, including four oil marketing companies with respect to the lifting of petroleum products.”

“The irregularities have been recurring and they run through my report annually – a situation which I continue to find very disturbing. Finding lasting solutions to the problems can save the nation millions of Ghana cedis, improve service delivery, tax payers and strengthen public confidence and trust in the accountability processes,” the Auditor-General said in the report.

And Mr Adawudu agreed.

He said the prevailing situation where anybody that is held accountable, cries foul and uses the alibi of being witch-hunted because of their political believes further exacerbated the problem and gave people the impression that they could commit financial crimes and go scot-free.

“Until our attitude – which the government must take the lead – changes [the problem will persist]. Go to some of the ministries, people are on schedule, they cannot even account for money spent, they don’t have receipt, if you ask them, they will say that ‘this is how we do it, this is the convention,” he stated.

He emphasized the need for issues of financial malfeasance and misappropriation to be depoliticized.

The NPP Member of Parliament for Okaikoi South, Nana Akomea agreed.

“To the extent that every year the reports contain those same irregularities in the use of public monies means that there is something missing – enforcement,” he added.

Referring to Auditor-General’s reports’ statement that about 114 contractors received mobilization funds in 2009 never undertook any work, the NPP MP for Manhyia, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, said he was surprised such things were happening even under the NDC government.

According to him, given the NDC’s criticisms and allegations of corruption under the NPP, it was baffling that the revelations of the Audit report could contain such financial irregularities occurring.

He advocated the establishment of a Financial Administration Tribunal to try people found to have violated financial regulations saying, “If we do that the culture of impunity will stop in our country.”

Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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