The weak leadership of President John Mahama is to blame for the excessive and extravagant use of state funds by public officials, Abuakwa South MP says.
Samuel Atta Akyea portrays the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) as lax on rooting out profligate spending and corruption in the country.
Contributing to discussions on the Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis programme, Newsfile Saturday, the legislator says President Mahama has given currency to the culture of impunity because of the way he handled public officials who were found culpable of misusing state funds.
“When you don’t have strong leadership the culture of impunity will go on. In this Mahama regime when people treat the kitty in [wrong] manner they go unpunish,” he said.
His comments come after news of Ghana’s Central bank buying $504,000 worth of gold watches for its retiring staff came to public attention.
The New Statesman newspaper reported the Bank of Ghana (BoG) had submitted a document to the Public Procurement Authority to authorize it to single source the procurement of ladies and gents gold watches each valued at $7,200 to Messrs ‘A’ Swiss Watch Company Limited.
Dated July 22, the document revealed the Bank wants to purchase 72 pieces of the gold watch, 18 karat of ladies gold watches which is 25 units and 18 karat of gents which is 48 units.
Although the Bank had explained it did not err in seeking to use the sole sourcing system, it has come under intense pressure from the public for what has been described as its show of opulence.
They say the Bank’s decision contradicts the economic challenges in the country which calls for austere measures.
Member of Parliament for Effutu Constituency, Alexander afenyo Markins told Joy News the workers of BoG are sufficiently motivated and do not need gold watches. He indicated he would call for a bi-partisan committee to investigate the matter.
But Mr Atta Akyea who is also the Vice Chairman of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) says the Bank would have been judicious in the use of taxpayers money had the right tone been set by government in the handling of public officials who misuse state funds.
“Somebody should tremble,” he said, adding what the BoG is “seriously unconscionable.”
He cited the handling of the rot in the National Service Scheme (NSS) where at least 22,616 ghost names were paid allowances in more than 100 districts in July 2014. The information came to public attention following investigation by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).
The misappropriation of public funds, fraudulent transfers, illegal payments and receipts of public funds by public officials home and abroad under the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA).
He says as far as the NSS and GYEEDA issues are concerned “Mahama regime has given the option to impunity and Bank of Ghana is part of this.”
He believes “leadership is symbolism” and if the leader demonstrates his dislike for excessive spending and corrupt activities, subordinates would do what is expected of them.
In Mahama’s government “if you are caught or not the state will romance you” and ask you to pay on your own terms, he said.