Parliament is to set up a committee to follow up recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to ensure that public officials who misconduct themselves or abuse their offices are severely punished.
The Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, is to meet the leadership of the House and the Chairman of PAC, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, to set up the bi-committee to look at the recommendations.
According to Members of Parliament, over the years, public officials who were dragged before the committee for abusing their offices with impunity managed to get away with their crimes without facing any sanctions.
The issue came up yesterday in the House when the PAC submitted a number of reports to the House for debate.
The reports were on the Performance Audit Reports of the Auditor General on the Management and Distribution of Anti-Retroviral Drugs, the Management of claims by the National Health Insurance Authority,and statement of foreign exchange receipts and payments of the Bank of Ghana for the half year, ended June 30, 2012.
The First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton-Oduro, who was in the Chair when the issue came up, said it was important that Parliament took the right steps to ensure that public officials who abuse their offices were severely sanctioned.
The Member of Parliament for Sekondi, Papa Owusu Ankomah, said the House should not repeat what had been going on in previous years, because the State was losing so much money as a result of corruption in public offices.
“We cannot afford to continue wailing. It should not just end here,” he said and added that the constitution even enjoins Parliament to ensure that public officials who abused their offices or engaged in corrupt practices are severely punished.”
The MP for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu, said each year, the State lost billions of dollars as a result of misappropriation of funds or embezzlement and added that public officials should be held accountable for many of such avoidable loses.
He said the committee should follow up on every other recommendation which would come up in the future from the PAC, to ensure that anyone billed for sanction was severely sanctioned.
“Parliament has an oversight responsibility and we must be seen to be strengthening that responsibility. We must strengthen our demand for accountability because we are the watchdog of the public purse,” he said.
In another development, the House paid a tribute to one of Ghana’s political giant, Joseph Boakye Dankwa, who allegedly died in prison in 1965.
The members described him as a doyen of Ghana’s democracy who would forever be remembered for his contribution to the development of constitutional democracy in the country.