State institutions unaccountable because of politicians – Lawyer

General News of Sunday, 18 January 2015

Source: citifmonline.com

Lawyer Yaw Oppong

A private legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong has indicated that key state institutions such as the Controller Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) are ceasing to be accountable to Ghanaians due to frequent political interference.

He observed that these political interference is used as a shield by the state institutions because “they know that if they don’t do their work well, the politicians will politicize it and nobody will share the blame.”

“The state has established quasi-independent institutions which must be accountable to us but over time, people politicize these institutions and for want of a better word, they get away with murder,” he said.

This comes on the back of backlash policy think tank, IMANI Ghana has received from sections of the general public following their disclosure that the CAGD was condoning the payment of salaries to ghost names on the government payroll.

IMANI Ghana in a statement said: “If there were two institutions that had perfected the art of making nonsense of all the reform efforts firmly established by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to rein in the haemorrhaging wage bill, it is certainly the Controller and Accountant General’s Department and the National Service Secretariat.”

The Department has since denied these claims and has rather accused IMANI Ghana of perpetrating falsehood.

Some persons have also accused IMANI Ghana of finding faults where there is none.

However, speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis programme, The Big Issue, Lawyer Oppong pointed out that the country’s constitution charges every citizen to protect and preserve public property, expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property.

He therefore argued that when individuals and organizations “believe that a state property is being wasted or misused and when they bring these things up, those state institutions should not see these things as attack on them.”

“They are only bringing these things out based on their duties. You cannot presume that you have all the knowledge and the expertise,” he remarked.

Lawyer Oppong also urged the politicians not to intervene in such matters but should allow the state institution to be answerable to the citizenry.

When people raise matters like this, let not the politicians intervene. Let these people alone be answerable to us because they work for us and stop this issuing of disclaimers on behalf of these institutions.

Usually, then they get away with murder then they cease to be accountable to us,” he said.

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