Politics of Saturday, 7 October 2017
The Vice President of Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has lauded those behind the leak of a document which saved some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) from paying ¢5,000 each toward the President tour of the three Northern regions.
Kwame Jantuah questioned how much money is allocated to the Regional Coordinating Councils to contribute such an amount towards the visit when the Presidency is supposed to take care of the bill.
He made the comments when he appeared on MultiTV/Joy FM’s Newsfile programme, Saturday.
“I don’t think Dr Ato Arthur is being overrighteous by saying that he will fish the person out. Has it not brought a good? Have we not gotten to know that sometimes when the President is visiting he get some monies from the districts and MMDAs?” he quizzed.
Earlier this week, there was a news item circulating on the social media requesting Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the Northern Region to contribute an amount of ¢5,000 each for the President’s visit to the region.
This generated a lot of controversy in the country with local governance think tanks in the country calling for sanctions against the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC).
Dr Nana Ato Arthur, Head of the Local Government Service, who was in the Region to meet with the various directors of MMDCDs described the situation as embarrassing.
He said has vowed to fight people he described as saboteurs who are determined to destroy the Akufo-Addo government.
Dr Ato Arthur argues that it is not professional for anyone to be leaking confidential government document on social media and such a trend is worrying. He said it must be nipped in the bud to curb “weakening the same system you are part of.”
But Mr Jantuah who disagrees with this says the practice where MMDAs are made to contribute monies to support Presidents should be stopped. He adds that whoever is found to masterminded the recent demands on the MMDAs should be sanctioned.
He said the proper structures should be put in place to prevent anyone from milking the MMDAs.
Punishing the perpetrators will set a good precedent, he argues. Commenting on the issue, Editor-in-chief of the Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, said Dr Arthur is only killing an ant with a sledgehammer.
He said there is no confidentiality in the case in point, stressing the push to fish out the whistleblower is overrated.
But Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, said the Presidents visits in the regions have long been budgeted for by the Presidency when he took office.
“At the beginning of the year when we brought the budget allocation for the Flagstaff House, we even received criticisms that it was huge. All of these were one of the reasons for that,” he explained.
He said when the issue of the NRCC was brought to the attention of the Regional Minister, he said he was not aware of it and wrote back to tell them to stop it.
Mr Oppong-Nkrumah said if one goes under the cover to breach secrecy, then both persons have erred and the sanctions must be applied appropriately.
However, he pointed out that there is the Whistleblower’s Law which protects people who want to bring the general public’s attention to a wrong in the system without any fear of sanction.