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New Public Officers Bill will boost fight against corruption – Attorney General

Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame is confident a new Conduct of Public Officers Bill to be presented to Parliament will boost the fight against corruption.

This bill, he explains, is to strengthen the role of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate various matters involving Public Officers.

This includes issues of conflict of interest, non-declaration of assets, among others.

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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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Anti-Corruption Day: GII urges Ghana to investigate alleged corruption cases

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local chapter of Transparency International, on the African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Day, reminds Ghana of alleged corruption cases needing urgent and transparent investigations.

A statement issued by the GII, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the allegations of corruption in the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine (Sputnik V) from Russia was unresolved and that Government’s silence on the matter was deafening.

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‘Pay or Die’ documentary: Punish health workers charging pregnant women unapproved fees – Kwame Gakpey

Member of Parliament for Keta Kwame Gakpey has urged the Ministry of Health to investigate and punish officials of various public hospitals charging pregnant women unapproved fees.

Speaking to JoyNews, Monday, he stated that the practice uncovered in a Corruption Watch documentary ‘Pay or Die’ is unacceptable, hence the need to probe further and halt the extortion of money from pregnant women.

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Ghanaians do not need to fix themselves – They need good leadership

A few weeks ago a group launched a campaign with the hashtag FixTheCountry. The group was calling on the Government to fix the unstable electricity and water supply, reduce the incidence of corruption, stop illegal mining and solve the unemployment problem.

Another group opposed to the FixTheCountry group emerged with the hashtag FixYourself.

Sovereignty they say resides and flows from the people so the people have a right to question ineffective government policies and actions and condemn unethical behaviour. People have important roles to play in the development of a nation.

Unfortunately, in Ghana the active participation of the people is limited to lining up to cast a vote at polling booths and the occasional complaints and participation in demonstrations and strikes. We hardly question our political leaders except at election time. Do we hold our leaders accountable for their actions and decisions?

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Group petitions Parliament, three anti-corruption agencies to investigate GCB Board

The Good Governance Advocacy Group, Ghana (GGAGG), has petitioned Parliament and three state anti-corruption agencies to investigate the conduct of the GCB Bank Ghana Limited Board for alleged maladministration.

The three state anti-corruption institutions are the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), and the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

Mr Listowell Nana Kusi-Poku, the Executive Director, GGAGG, who made the disclosure on Tuesday at a press conference in Accra, said the people of Ghana had at least 73.14 per cent shares in GCB Bank, hence, the need for them to know about happened within the Bank.

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Claims we spent GHS1.7 billion on COVID-19 inaccurate – Government

This follows publications by some local media houses as well as a post by Member of Parliament for Yapei Kusawgu, John Jinapor, that per the 2021 budget statement, only GHS1.7 billion of the allocated GHS19 billion for issues of COVID-19 in 2020 was utilized.

Media reports also suggested that the rest of the money was used for expenditures unrelated to COVID-19.

But speaking at a Press Conference, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, clarified that the amount quoted by the media was for just two items under the COVID-19 related expenditures.

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Special Prosecutor resignation furore at a glance

This country set up the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) with the hope that it can deal with grand corruption of politically exposed persons; and, for a long time we waited for the OSP to bite. Therefore, it was refreshing when Mr Amidu released the report of an analysis of the risk of corruption in the Agyapa Minerals Royalties transaction. 

It was instructive because it was the first time that an independent anti-corruption agency established by any government in Ghana had undertaken an analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption risk assessment of the processes leading up to the approval by parliament of public agreements as part of its statutory mandate.

Alas! The celebration lasted for only two weeks. On Monday, 16th November 2020, Mr Martin A.B.K. Amidu resigned from his post as Special Prosecutor. On Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo, through Chief of Staff Hon. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, wrote back to Mr Amidu to accept his resignation. 

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Parliament passes Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill to make corruption felony

Parliament has passed the Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill 2020, categorizing the offence of corruption as a felony.

The move is to introduce stiffer punishment to deter public officers from engaging in corrupt practices

Following the amendment, subject to presidential assent, a person found guilty of engaging in any form of corrupt act could go to jail between for not less than 12 years and not more than 25 years.

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