The Mahama-Amissah Arthur administration seems to be redefining leadership in the country as per some decisions taken in the area of corruption and arrogance in public service. President Mahama and Vice President Amissah-Arthur are fast establishing themselves as people who can be counted upon to clean the stables with regard to safeguarding the public purse in the pursuit of probity and accountability.
Recently the Chief Executive of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre, MASLOC, Mrs. Bertha Sogah was asked to proceed on leave to pave the way for investigations into allegations of conflict of interest levelled against her. Mrs Sogah was alleged to have taken 500 thousand Ghana cedis from the accounts of the State-run organisation and given it to a private company owned by her husband. Also in the news is government setting up a five member committee to investigate some corruption issues in the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Agency, GYEEDA formerly known as the National Youth Employment Programme.
On the heels of this is another presidential directive to the Board of the National Service Scheme for the Executive Director, Vincent Kuagbenu to take his accumulated leave. Mr. Kuagbenu is expected to report to the office of the President for reassignment after the expiration of his leave. Even though it is acknowledged that Mr. Kuagbenu has been hardworking, some people did have issues with him with regard to his human relations. This is not all, the Chief Executive of the Driver, Vehicle and Licensing Authority, Justice Amegashie, has been given four weeks to prepare his handing over notes. No reasons were again assigned for such an action. It is advised that reasons should be given for such removals since silence gives cause for speculations.
The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice recently launch investigations into the operations of the Savanah Accelerated Development Authority, SADA following revelations that the authority was implicated in operations involving huge amounts of money invested in alleged non-existent projects. The long and short of it all is that people are being investigated or have been sacked for acts which are at variance with their calling as Public Servants. Sometime back this was not the case. There has been an instance where a former Head of State refused to reprimand his appointees publicly since that could make his government. unpopular.
One problem former President Rawlings had with previous NDC administrations was the non-adherence to the principle of probity and accountability. Mr. Rawlings has never hidden the fact that he is passionate about probity and accountability which are the tenets for the formation of the NDC . President Mahama has acknowledged that the first 100 days of his administration have been turbulent but the government has been focused in checking blatant acts of corruption. Nevertheless, there is the need to cast the net wider. Several government appointees seem to have lost touch with reality. They seem to be lording it over the people instead of serving them. Others are engaged in publicity stunts without getting the job done. The District Assemblies are typical areas where the President needs to direct his focus. Revelations from the Public Accounts Committee sittings indicted some MMDAS over malfeasance including misuse of the common fund, embezzlement and award of contracts without regard to the Public Procurement Act. Now that efforts are underway to have Chief Executives of MMDAs elected through universal adult suffrage, it is hoped the President will be meticulous in the choice of people who will manage the Assemblies because they are the fulcrum around which the decentralisation programme revolves.
It is good the Chief Executives are now being made to sign performance contracts so that those who do not measure up will be kicked out. John Rockefeller once said "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. The House cleaning embarked upon by government must not be a flash in the tea cup. Politicians are paid with our taxes, so we need to exact accountability from them. People entrusted with public office need not use it for private gain else they defeat the confidence people have in them. Corruption and arrogance by public office holders retard development because the state is denied revenue to undertake infrastructural development and to deepen social intervention programmes. Corruption is negative and we need to all join in eradicating it.
BY JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST