Dr Oduro-Osae calls for lifestyle audit of civil, public servants

The Director-General of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Dr Eric Oduro-Osae, has called for a lifestyle audit of senior civil and public servants in the country.
He said such an exercise would not only check corrupt practices but also help weed out corruption in the public sector.

Dr Oduro-Osae made the call at a public forum organised by the Institute of Charted Accountants – Ghana (ICAG) in Accra as part of activities to mark the 20th anniversary of the Ga North District Society of the ICAG.

According to him, such an exercise was essential in the country’s fight against corruption, adding that most of the time, it was public servants who guided politicians in their corrupt pursuits.

“We must conduct the audit, prosecute offenders, as well as publish their names in a national newspaper. If we start with people such as chief directors, those at the bottom will sit up,” he said.

He further said the exercise, which should be part of a national agenda, must be commissioned by the President and conducted by both the IAA and the Auditor-General’s Department to audit the incomes of the officials against their monthly expenditure.

“We need to check the public sector because politicians on their own do not know how to steal from the public purse; it is public sector officials who guide and cover up for them to steal from the state.

“Corruption is eating and killing all of us and the earlier we solve it, the better. In our laws, both the giver and the receiver are guilty, and a system that allows corruption is problematic,” Dr Oduro-Osae said.

IAA law

He also urged Parliament to pass the IAA Bill currently before the House to help empower the agency to fight corruption.

“Our law is archaic and only allows me to make recommendations. I have made several recommendations; there is a bill before Parliament and when it is passed, we will be empowered to do more,” he said.

Dr Oduro-Osae also called for protection for persons who openly fought corruption to motivate others to do same.

“We will keep on talking till we see some changes. Those who are mandated to fight corruption must do so and those who fight corruption must be protected,” he added.

Political leadership

The panel at the forum included the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah; the Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Linda Ofori-Kwafo, and the immediate past Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Prof. Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson.

Mrs Ofori-Kwafo said the problem of corruption was as a result of the lack of political will because politicians had the power to fight the canker.
Again, she said corruption had festered because the enforcement of the country’s laws on the practice had been low.

“We are going to the International Monetary Fund for the 17th time because of corruption, mismanagement and misappropriation,” she said.

Mr Braimah, on the other hand, called for support for the media to help stamp out corruption, saying if journalists were not protected from threats and harassment, many of them could shy away from tackling the subject.

“If all the arms of government get it wrong, the media must be able to hold them accountable,” he said.

For his part, Prof. Bondzi-Simpson advocated public sector reform as a means to deal with corruption.

“There is the need for public sector reforms; for instance, we need to look at recruitment processes,” he said.


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