By Maxwell Obiri-Yeboah .
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Mpohor Constituency and Member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Mr. Alex Agyekum, has called for stringent measures to be put in place to deter public officers from misappropriating funds.
By putting in place such tough sanctions and enforced by the authorities, it would deter public officers from defrauding the state, and also make sure that the huge sums of taxpayers’ money often mentioned before the committee is used for the intentions for which they are being disbursed.
He said that per his experience with the Committee and the transmittal letter that is always submitted by the Auditor General to the Speaker of Parliament, he has noticed it to be repetitive infractions committed by public servants.
He disclosed this to the The Chronicle after PAC’s debriefing with the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service in Accra yesterday.
“If at the end of every financial year the budget that is presented has budget line items earmarked for capacity building, training and human resource development by all of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, then we expect that such huge sums of monies spent on such programmes should reflect at their workplaces. But moving forward and we keep seeing these same basic infractions, then it is a vicious cycle that we are pursuing.”
“I recommend that the Auditor General should put in place some stringent measures that will make it less incentive for people to commit such infractions,” he opined.
During the PAC’s sitting yesterday, it was mentioned before the MPs, by representatives from the District Education offices at Paga and Sandema, that some officers who caused huge financial violations in the Upper East Region have rather gone on transfer without wholly accounting for the infractions committed at their previous stations.
But Mr. Agyekum was emphatic that such people must not be allowed to go on transfer, but rather be made to go face the law. “Though we are seeing that the situation has improved, based on the institutions that are rising to deal with financial crimes in the country; but looking at the budget, the quantum of financial infractions that is committed annually, why should the tax payer sacrifice so much and get little or no reformative works done,” he quizzed.
The issue of special assistants must be resolved, because many of them are paid through the Consolidated Fund, which turns out to be unearned salaries.
The expenses that occur when they make those travels are not coming from their pockets, but rather from the Ministry.
“Parliament must ensure that the special courts, Office of the Special Prosecutor and others do well to make it unattractive to venture,” he added.
On the issue of some broken down vehicles within the Education Ministry, the outspoken MP expressed concern that it is an open-secret that some “cartels” intentionally abandon the government vehicles to rot, and later auction them at a low price after among themselves.
He continued that this attitude can only be stopped when stringent measures are meted out to wrongdoers. He was resolute that, henceforth, they (the culprits) be subjected to harsher punishments for this trend to discontinue or reduced to the lowest denominator.