A member of the Constitution Review Implementation Committee (CRIC), Dr Gheysika A. Agambila, has called on the government to prosecute district chief executives (DCEs) who indulge in corruption.
He said it was sad that since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1992, no government had prosecuted any DCE for corruption, in spite of the numerous allegations of financial malfeasance levelled against many of them.
“It’s a sad thing that no DCE has ever been prosecuted since 1992, although corruption is rife at the local level,” he told the Daily Graphic in Accra Tuesday on the sidelines of a public forum on the Constitution review process.
Dr Agambila dismissed suggestions that successive governments might not have prosecuted DCEs for corruption for lack of evidence, insisting that “if the government wants to find evidence, it will find it”.
“So don’t tell me to bring the evidence,” he submitted.
Dr Agambila alleged that many DCEs entered office with ’empty hands’ but by the time they left office they would have acquired many properties.
“It’s important to find out how they acquired them (properties); very simple. The government has the means to find the evidence, and it can find it,” he remarked.
Election of DCEs
During the Constitution review process, many Ghanaians recommended an amendment to the 1992 Constitution to allow for the election of DCEs, instead of their being appointed by the President under the current constitutional arrangement.
But, in Dr Agambila’s opinion, partisan politics at the local level had the potential to further polarise the country.
“If you elect DCEs on a partisan basis, you risk dividing the country permanently along political lines,” he contended, adding that partisan elections at the district level would divert focus from development to partisanship.
Dr Agambila said a middle ground and better approach to addressing the issue was captured in the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC), which provided that the President nominate five people for consideration as DCE.
The five nominees would then be vetted by the Public Services Commission (PSC), after which three of them would be shortlisted to contest an election for the position of DCE.
The Constitution review forum was organised by the Centre for Development Research and Advocacy (CeDRA), in collaboration with the British High Commission, as part of its Constitution Dialogue Series.
It provided a platform for students, trades organisations and other groups in the Odododiodoo Constituency to share their thoughts on some pertinent issues relating to the Constitution review process.
The aim of the Constitution Dialogue Series, according to the Project Lead of CeDRA, Dr Kobby Mensah, was to mop up the concerns of targeted communities into the proposed constitutional amendments, while educating the constituents on the proposed amendments.
The Chairman of CRIC, Professor E.V.O. Dankwa, briefed the participants on the work of the committee, saying, “We are doing our best to discharge our functions.”
Asked whether a referendum would be organised this year on some of the entrenched provisions in the Constitution, as recommended by the CRC for amendment, he said the committee was working towards that end.
He, however, pointed out that the Electoral Commission had the responsibility to organise a referendum.
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