By A. A. Yayra

Few weeks after President John Dramani Mahama launched a book at the Peduase Lodge on code of ethics for ministers and political appointees, with a call on them to among other things avoid ?needless? overseas travels, it has turned out that some government appointees see the code of ethics as one of the many legislations to rest on the dusty law shelves of the country.

Information reaching The Al-Hajj suggests that some ministers, political appointees and board members in the present government have sidestepped the ?code of ethics? and are seriously competing with each other on who gets the highest score in terms of overseas travels in a month.

Shockingly, whiles some functionaries of government in some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in a month make as many as three or four foreign travels for very ridiculous reasons; their counterparts in the state-owned enterprises hotly pursue them with between five and six overseas trips at the costly expense of the taxpayer.

Taking extreme delight in foreign travels as if it was an antidote to the numerous problems facing the country, these MDA capos; even in activities that can be done using telephone, through emails or by the use of social media, at the expense of the state?s scarce resource junket abroad at the least opportunity and bringing with them little or nothing home in return.

Investigations have uncovered that in some instances, some of these persons, particularly the female public officials, who fly business class ostensibly on national assignments all the way to places like Brussels, London, Paris, New York among others only end up having skin and facial treatment.

As if the appointees engaged in this kind of extravagant lifestyle are in some form of beauty contest or have been nominated to represent Ghana in the next Miss World contest; using all manner of tricks, they have taken advantage of pliant board of directors and the inaction of the Chief of Staff and his newness in the political game to hoodwink them in granting them permission to travel.

Some other people alleged that some of these frequent ?flyers? do so to enable them stash ?monies they have looted into off-shore accounts and secretly invest in businesses abroad? adding, ?some of the appointees, at the slightest toothache or headache run to either the US, London, Brussels; you name it.?

Those angered by the craze for foreign travels by appointees of government narrated how sometimes a ministry with two deputies and a substantive minister is left empty, all in the name of international assignment.

?For the Finance and Foreign Affairs Ministries, I know that their nature of works require them to be traveling, but even so I don?t expect those ministries to be empty?that is why they have a deputy or two deputies. As for the other ministries, the least said about them the better?, and I can tell you that even Chief Executives of MMD Assemblies have also joined the train, they travel like nobody?s business; after all state resources are at their disposal so they use it anyhow,? a staff at one of the ministries told this paper.

A senior government official who confirmed this but does not want his name mentioned stated ?it is time President Mahama made sure we his appointees leave by the code of ethics as he is doing. He must introduce new mechanism that will ensure all appointees pass through stringent measures before they get the clearance to travel out.?

Adding that the President must not be seen as weak by allowing his appointees to brazenly and flagrantly sidestep a ?law? that valuable sate resources was channeled into drafting.


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