President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says corruption and the stealing of public funds continues to hold back Ghana’s development, adding that corruption is not a partisan matter, and all Ghanaians must act to protect the public purse.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “with the office of the Special Prosecutor now in place, we can expect more prosecutions for corruption in the coming months, and public officials, present and past, should be on notice that they would be held accountable for their stewardship of our public finances.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Tuesday, 6th March, 2018, at the country’s 61st Independence Day celebration, at the Black Star Square.
Touching on the recent audit by the Auditor General into the liabilities of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies which led to the disallowance of some GH¢5.4 billion of claims, the President stated that these claims that would otherwise have been paid, but for the eagle eye of the Auditor General.
“Can you imagine what we can do with GH¢5.4 billion? It can certainly finance the Free SHS for five years,” he said.
Additionally, the President noted that Government, in 2017, made significant savings of some GH¢800 million in government procurement, “as we depart from sole sourcing as the primary method of public procurement. That departure will strengthen our public finances, and make it possible for us to finance our development ourselves.”
On “one piece of the anti-corruption framework that is yet to be put in place”, President Akufo-Addo noted that The Right to Information Bill would increase transparency, and add another critical weapon to the armoury in the fight against corruption.
“After many years of hesitation, we intend to bring a Bill again to Parliament, and work to get it passed into law before the end of this Meeting of Parliament,” he said.
The protection of the public purse, President Akufo-Addo stressed, is a social common good, and it depends on all of Ghanaians.
“It is in all our interest that corruption does not thrive, and we police each other’s behaviour. Going Beyond Aid means Ghanaians should not serve as fronts for foreign companies to defraud our country. It will mean we all pay our taxes, as provided by law, and it will mean we all help to take care of government property, as though it were our own,” the President added.