The government has so far retrieved GH¢14.5 million as part of the illegal money paid to contractors under the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Authority (GYEEDA).
The Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister of Justice, Dr Dominic Ayine, who announced this in Accra yesterday, noted that the fight against corruption must take a multi-agency effort, not the concern of one single organisation.
He added that much as exposing corrupt officials was necessary, the action taken to expose those individuals must not trample on their rights.
He was speaking during the opening of a high-level conference on the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) in Accra.
The NACAP is a national plan for action to combat corruption in the next 10 years. Its purpose is to create a sustainable democratic society in the country. The President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, as Vice-President in December 2009, inaugurated the working group on NACAP.
For two years the group diligently undertook the task of studying the patterns, as well as the perception of corruption in Ghana, in order to devise the most effective and efficient strategies to combat it.
President Mahama, on November 15, 2013, instructed the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, as well as the Finance Minister, to retrieve all the money wrongfully paid to individuals and companies through contracts with GYEEDA, the Savanna Accelerated Development Agency (SADA) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
He had also asked the Minister for Youth and Sports to suspend, with immediate effect, all payments under all GYEEDA contracts, except the payment of arrears to workers up to the end of the year.
He was addressing members of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and its anti-corruption partners at a meeting at the Flagstaff House.
Deadlines on A-G’s Report
Opening the conference, President Mahama said he had written to all ministers of state, giving them deadlines to implement the Auditor-General’s (A-G’s) Report as it pertained to their various sectors.
He said the ministers would be required to either surcharge persons for state resources misapplied or, in cases where it was recommended, hand over to the Attorney-General any persons found culpable of misappropriating government funds.
“Failure to implement the A-G’s Report by the deadline will attract severe sanctions on the minister concerned,” he said.
President Mahama, who described corruption as a stain on society and enemy of progress of the nation, said the canker undermined the very principles of democracy.
“That is why, as far back as the very beginning of my tenure as Vice-President, I have committed myself to minimising corruption, especially at the top levels of government, by intensifying the battle against it,” he said.
The President explained that perception and reality were not always in agreement and that sometimes “how we believe things to be is not necessarily how things actually are”.
He noted that each President of this country had been accused of being corrupt, of allowing corruption to persist, adding that each administration had, at some point been accused of steering Ghana into the worst period of corruption in its history.
“The one thing those consistent allegations reveal is that corruption in Ghana has become institutionalised. This should be of grave concern to all of us. It is my hope that this concern will fuel the discussions being held today and help us reach a consensus and put in place rigid measures to rid Ghana, as much and as quickly as possible, of corruption,” he intimated.
For President Mahama, the NACAP offered the country an initial blueprint and practical operational mobility in the battle against corruption.
He was particularly pleased that in July this year the NACAP was unanimously adopted by Parliament.
According to the President, words on a piece of paper, regardless of what that document was, including the Constitution, were nothing more than “words on a piece of paper”, averring that it was people who breathed life and power into words to give them meaning and make them matter.
“However detailed and impressive the strategy we devise with NACAP, it can only succeed with the full participation of the people,” he added.
Participation, he explained, required more than assigning responsibility to the government and other societal leaders to wage the battle of corruption on the people’s behalf.
He underscored the need to move beyond false perceptions and built-in protections and start facing the facts.
President Mahama indicated that as of July 2013, more than 300 individuals were on remand for corruption and related offences.
In respect of allegations of corruption at GYEEDA, he remarked that there was ongoing prosecution of the public officials involved, including former high-ranking officials.
He said service providers who breached the terms of their contracts were being held to account to refund the money to the government.
The President called for the depolitisation of discussions of corruption, contending that people who engaged in acts of corruption were not solely affiliated to any one political party and that the damage that was done to society by those acts of corruption cut across political lines.
Earlier in his opening remarks, a Deputy Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Richard Quayson, had said the country had made modest gains in the fight against corruption but those efforts paled into insignificance in the face of the public perception of corruption.
“Ghana has been too hospitable to corruption and that must change,” he added.
source : Graphic Online