Ghanaians are reportedly outraged with the exposure of the level of corruption in government institutions at the ongoing Public Appointment Committee’s (PAC) hearing on the auditor general’s report. Some are blaming President John Kufuor’s government for failing to fight graft, but the government said it is committed to promoting a new culture of transparency, which frowns on graft and incompetence.
However, the minority leader in parliament has also criticized the government for preventing the state broadcaster to give a live coverage of the committee’s sitting.
Meanwhile, a political pressure group is demanding President Kufuor’s government to prosecute with immediacy officials identified in the Auditor General's report that have mismanaged or misappropriated public funds.
Kweku Baako is the publisher and editor in chief of the crusading guide, an independent Ghanaian newspaper. From the capital Accra he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the committee’s sitting is good for the maturity of Ghana’s democracy.
“The public sittings of the Public Accounts Committee are a reflection of the growth of Ghanaian democracy, however, impact it is and I believe all public spirited Ghanaians must support the exercise. Otherwise, there is not8nig really new apart from the public sitting because if you do a historical analysis of how Public Accounts Committee has handled the auditor general’s report over the years, you would be surprised to realize that most of the discrepancy and the omission and commission that we are been told of today have been occurring from 1960 till today,” Baako pointed out.
He applauded the bi-partisan parliamentary committee on the public accounts for doing what he described as a fine job.
“My attitude towards this matter is to look at parliament as a cooperate institute of our democracy, an the fact that parliament is playing a vital committee of parliament like the Public Accounts Committee is flexing its muscle, their legislative oversight responsibilities are being enhanced. That for me is where the crux of the matter is, and not whether the government is doing well or not doing well,” he said.
Baako faulted President John Kufuor’s government for its cold attitude towards some of the recommendations of the auditors’ general report.
“But of course there are areas for instance the financial administration legislation requires of government and the judiciary, in this case the chief justice to nominate and appoint members of a financial administrative tribunal, fours years on, it hasn’t been done. If you criticize government and the chief justice, I think is fair comment,” Baako said.
He welcomed a section of the public’s demand for the government to prosecute those who have been cited to be involved in various forms of corruption in the auditor general report, but also warned about the possible ensuing polarization of the public.
“They are entitled to their demands and their opinions, and it is good that we have such things in Ghana. But sometimes I get surprised because of the membership of that group that they think these things are new or these things are an indictment of government per se,” he noted.