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Auditor General indicts Ghana’s Washington Mission officer over “missing” visa fees

…Ex-Tourism Minister, MP Queenstar Pokuah Sawyerr, Free SHS Secretariat also accused 

A new report of the Auditor-General shows that grand corruption and waste of public funds is not going away.  

Among a raft of findings is the indictment of the Honorary Consul General at Ghana’s Washington Mission and Houston Consulate for not being able to account for visa fees totalling US$354,760.00 (or two million cedis at prevailing exchange rates).

The Free SHS Secretariat is also accused of misapplying more than nineteen (19) million cedis of its allocations.

In addition, the Auditor-General says Ex-Tourism Minister Catherine Afeku is keeping three official vehicles despite leaving office.

MP Queenstar Pokuah Sawyerr is accused of spending GH¢39,000.00 of her MP allocation on non-existent works.

These are contained in the “Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana: Ministries, Departments and other Agencies for the year ended 31 December, 2020.”

The Office of the Auditor-General, under the hand of Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, Acting Auditor-General transmitted this report to the Speaker of Parliament on 11 June, 2021. 

The big picture

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Corruption Watch Breakdown of ‘Auditor General’s Report on Public Accounts’

Introduction 

The document we focusing on is the “Report of the Auditor-General on the Public  Accounts of Ghana: Ministries, Departments and other Agencies for the year  ended 31 December, 2020.” 

The Office of the Auditor-General, under the hand of Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, Acting Auditor-General transmitted this report to the Speaker of Parliament on 11  June, 2021.  

The report states that when the Auditor-General and his team set out to Audit  accounts of MDAs to ascertain the state of their accounts at the close of the year  2020, they were guided by certain objectives.  

They set out to determine whether: 

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Fiscal Decentralisation: Domelevo calls for district/regional budgets

Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, a former Auditor-General, has advocated the creation of district and regional budgets as part of efforts to ensure effective fiscal decentralisation.

That, he said, would ensure each district and region received its fair share of the national cake.

“I think over-centralisation is the major contributor to the corruption that we have in our country,” Mr Domelevo said in a virtual presentation at the maiden Domelevo Accountability Annual Lectures held in Accra.

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LOCAL STEPS, GLOBAL GOALS: HOW ORDINARY PEOPLE PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT BY REPORTING CORRUPTION

When 16-year-old Abdul Rahmana Shakina collapsed in 2017, her parents rushed her to northern Ghana’s main hospital. Diagnosed with acute anaemia, Shakina needed an urgent blood transfusion – a treatment supposed to be free. But first, doctors demanded a bribe.

With little in their pockets, Shakina’s parents begged for the transfusion, promising to return the next day to pay. But the doctors refused for 12 hours. When they finally gave Shakina the blood and oxygen she needed, it was too late. During the procedure, she died.

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Corruption in Ghana: Causes and Suggestions for A Corrupt-Free Society

Since independence in 1957, Ghanaians have been plagued with corruption by which I mean taking what is not yours in an official capacity. Corruption can simply be peddling influence for monetary gains that is not gained meritoriously. Corruption can be demanding payment for services you render to people in an official government capacity.

Corruption can be outright demand for bribe, gift, largesse or what is commonly referred to as “greasing the palm, brown envelope, or gorro for the boys” All post-independence leaders in Ghana have had to deal with corruption as a national problem. One can also argue that all military coups in Ghana have cited corruption as the justification for their overthrow of the government. So why is corruption so pervasive in Ghana?

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Corruption fight must start from the top – Justice Appau

A judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Yaw Appau, has stated that the fight against corruption can only be won if there is commitment and integrity at the highest levels of political office.

“The clean-up must start from the top. When the head is strong, the body cannot be weak but strong. But when the head is weak or rotten, the body too becomes automatically weak and smelly” he said.

Justice Appau was speaking at the 8th edition of the Leadership Dialogue Series organized by the Centre for Social Justice, under the theme, Uprooting Public Sector and Political Corruption in Ghana.

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Corruption in Ghana a reality that must be addressed – Prof. Adei

Chairperson of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Prof Stephen Adei has said that the level of corruption in the country is a reality and must be addressed.

According to him, “attempts to deal with corruption has not reduced it.”

Speaking in the AM Show, he explained that “[Looking at the Corruption Perception Index], we see that the basic corruption is endemic.”

“First, the level of corruption is a reality because we have hovered around 40, 42 in percentage in terms of points which means that the basic corruption is endemic and we must address it.

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Covid-19 could increase corruption risks in Ghana

The Community Development Alliance (CDA) Ghana’s report has shown that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Ghana has created conditions in which corruption could flourish.

According to the CDA, the common cliché “we are not in normal times” by government officials served as an excuse to circumvent procurement regulations which heightened the corruption risk associated with governments response to fighting the pandemic.

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President Infantino addresses G20 on tackling corruption in sport

Invited to speak on the fight against corruption in sport, President Infantino shared the lessons that the new FIFA has learned through its post-2016 reforms, as well as from the corruption scandal that brought down the previous administration.

Laying out the path taken by world football’s governing body in the first five years of his presidency, the FIFA President listed 11 key reforms designed “to tackle corruption, to bring back accountability in FIFA, in football more generally, and to safeguard the integrity of football and, of course, FIFA.”

In particular, those reforms were:

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Foreign Aid and corruption in Africa

African countries have been receiving FOREIGN AID since independence for the past 60years, and Africa is yet to be developed or self-reliant. Since 1970, the world has spent over five trillion dollars in aid. Much of that money has come to Africa. Helping Africa is a noble cause, but the campaign has become a theater of rampage corruption, and abuse of power.

The Marshall Plan was an American initiative passed in 1948 for foreign aid to Western Europe. The goals of the United States were to rebuild war-torn regions, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, improve European prosperity. However, it hasn’t been the case in Africa. Foreign Aid has contributed to corruption in Africa through the large amounts of money that are sent over, and exploitation of resources.

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