The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has urged Parliament to ensure the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Auditor General’s (AG’s) report.
It said the recommendations should be referred to the Attorney General to recover the lost funds and prosecute persons found culpable to have engaged in fraud, misapplication or embezzlement of state resources.
It also urged the Auditor-General to exercise its powers of disallowance and surcharge per Article 187 (7) of the 1992 Constitution to recover misappropriated funds and prevent the reoccurrence of wastage in the public sector.
This was contained in a release issued by the GII, the local chapter of Transparency International (TI), as part of recommendations to help address the issues of corruption in the country following the release of the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) last Tuesday by the TI which ranked Ghana 72 out of 180 countries and territories.
Ghana for the third consecutive year scored 43 out of a possible clean score of 100.
The TI in the release said the score reflected a lack of progress in the country’s fight against corruption.
“Addressing the problem of corruption is critical now more than ever as corruption is a major contributor to the country’s current economic woes as evinced by several reports, including the Auditor-General’s on Government of Ghana’s COVID-19 expenditure,” a release stated.
This year’s index focuses on corruption, conflict and security.
“Corruption has made our world a more dangerous place. As governments have collectively failed to make progress against it, they fuel the current rise in violence and conflict — and endanger people everywhere. The only way out is for states to do the hard work, rooting out corruption at all levels to ensure governments work for all people, not just an elite few,” the Chair of Transparency International, Delia Ferreira Rubio, said.
In Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), the 2022 CPI shows a dire situation as most countries, including Ghana, failed to make progress in reducing corruption. Ghana with a score of 43, ranked 8th out of 49 countries in SSA which were included in the index, alongside Benin (43), Senegal (43) and South Africa (43).
The top performers in the region are Seychelles (70), followed by Cabo Verde (60), Botswana (60) and Rwanda (51), whereas Burundi (17), Equatorial Guinea (17), South Sudan (13) and Somalia (12) have the lowest scores.
The GII in the release further recommended the government should as a matter of urgency ensure that the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) was adequately resourced to enable the office to effectively perform its mandate of prevention, prosecution and recovery of proceeds of corruption and corruption related offences
“Government must promote economic development and reduce barriers to investment which include the implementation of effective monetary and fiscal policies and the creation of a transparent environment in the public and private sectors where corrupt practices are easily identified and addressed more effectively,” it stated further.
Again, the GII recommended that the Executive should urgently take steps to lay the Conduct of Public Officers’ Bill in Parliament while it called on the Legislature to attach an equal level of urgency to its timely passage.