Those of you in Ghana, especially, the up and coming civil and public servants and contractors in Accra and the Regions must be cautious from now on, as you perform your duties.

If you are hardworking out there, young or nearing retirement in any government outfit I wish to caution you that any slip in handling your office cash can land you in trouble. Listen to the advice on morality from your Imams, parents and pastors of good standing and with the right character on this issue.

Please safeguard your hard earned reputation and family name. Don’t join any small group that is interested in looting cash from government coffers, it is no longer the way to go for you might regret doing so. The reason? The Supreme Court of Ghana has ordered the Auditor General to, with immediate effect, begin surcharging persons found to have misappropriated monies belonging to the state. You know by now that there are a large number of looters waiting to be surcharged and punished. The threat on looters is real. Don’t think it is a joke. The disgraceful interrogation that will go with it in the coming days can be damning.

The seven-member panel of justices, presided over by incoming Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo which gave the order for looters to be surcharged, did not give reasons for their judgment but indicated that they will make available the full details of the decision in due course. The supreme court acted on the legal suit filed by pressure group, Occupy Ghana in June 2016. The cause of the group Occupy Ghana is right, and the order by the supreme court also right for the continued stealing from state coffer do deprive us of much needed revenue for development.  You only have to be careful with state cash as a worker, for you cannot fight the new order easily.

The looting of state cash in government offices through contracts and payments to ghost workers among other things, has been rampant in Ghana over the years. Leading staff of some organizations have been found culpable by the Auditor General’s Office through its report to parliament. From 1992 when the current constitution came into force, many men and women in the government sector including GEEDA and SADA were found to have colluded to misappropriate huge amounts of money meant for development in the nation.

The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament in line with their mandate have raised valid queries on misappropriation in government establishments. However, before the new order, they had no power to drag the culprits to court to retrieve the stolen monies. With the order given by the Supreme Court, the Auditor General has been empowered to press for the retrieval of stolen cash and get the culprits prosecuted if possible.

 

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Executive Director eanfoworld for sustainable development