Let's all help protect the public purse

16Jan 2019
Correpondent
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Let's all help protect the public purse

WE cannot but applaud the Ghana Audit Service for their role in protecting the public purse and add our voice in support for the effort.

 

We are particularly pleased with the efforts being made to recover huge sums of moneys for the state, as a result of the disallowing of items and expenditure that are contrary to the law and the surcharging of individuals and organisation who authorised payments or received the payments contrary to the law.

The effort is in line with the implementation of the landmark decision by the Supreme Court, in the case of the OccypyGhana versus the Attorney-General delivered on June 14, 2017, that ordered the Audit General to, among other things, take immediate steps to recover wrongful payments made from the public purse.

Indeed, good governance and for that matter protecting the public good and service is a shared responsibility. We, therefore, re-echo the call by the Auditor General for the public to take advantage of the Public Complaints Directorate set up at the Ghana Audit Service offices to help fight corruption and other financial malfeasance.

In doing so, we caution the public against wild allegations that cannot be substantiated and the need to be mindful of the reputation of others. We believe that people who have genuine complaints to make, in the interest of the public, will be protected under the Whistle Blower Act.

It is the view of the Ghanaian Times that it is a shared responsibility to fight and overcome corruption and to build a just, equitable and prosperous society. It is the responsibility of all to ensure the responsible use of the limited resources available to all of us.

As a matter of facts, the public is always yearning for development and governments are responding by making resources available for such development. Yet, corruption and misuse of public funds and resources appear to be what is going on in the public sector.

It is very regrettably, and a dent on our democratic credentials that despite all the regulatory framework guiding our conduct in public life, including the Financial Administration Regulations, the Audit General's report, public accounts are littered with many cases of financial infractions being committed by the spending officers, and other key staff in state owned institutions who should know better.

Of course, not all human beings are perfect and in human institutions, errors and omission may occur. But where such acts of malfeasance and financial improprieties become a ritual, there is cause for concern.

We add our voice to the call for strengthening of internal controls, monitoring and supervision of public expenditure in state institutions and the call on the law enforcement urgencies to expedite action on cases of financial malfeasance brought to their attention.

Furthermore, state institutions must endeavour to strengthen their Audit Recommendation Implementation Committees, to help enforce all recommendations by the Auditor General to minimise or stop all infractions.

Ghana officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2 (92,099 sq mi), Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Ghana means "Warrior King" in the Soninke language.

The first permanent state in the territory of present-day Ghana dates back to the 11th century. Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful was the Kingdom of Ashanti. Beginning in the 15th century, numerous European powers contested the area for trading rights, with the British ultimately establishing control of the coast by the late 19th century. Following over a century of native resistance, Ghana's current borders were established by the 1900s as the British Gold Coast. It became independent of the United Kingdom on 6 March 1957.

Ghana's population of approximately 28 million spans a variety of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. According to the 2010 census, 71.2 per cent of the population was Christian, 17.6 per cent was Muslim, and 5.2 per cent practiced traditional faiths. Its diverse geography and ecology ranges from coastal savannahs to tropical rain forests.

Ghana is a unitary constitutional democracy led by a president who is both head of state and head of the government. Ghana's growing economic prosperity and democratic political system have made it a regional power in West Africa. It is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Group of 24 (G24) and the Commonwealth of Nations.

 

Ghana was already recognized as one of the great kingdoms in Bilad el-Sudan by the ninth century.[21]

Ghana was inhabited in the Middle Ages and the Age of Discovery by a number of ancient predominantly Akan kingdoms in the Southern and Central territories. This included the Ashanti Empire, the Akwamu, the Bonoman, the Denkyira, and the Mankessim Kingdom.

Although the area of present-day Ghana in West Africa has experienced many population movements, the Akans were firmly settled by the 5th century BC. By the early 11th century, the Akans were firmly established in the Akan state called Bonoman, for which the Brong-Ahafo Region is named.

From the 13th century, Akans emerged from what is believed to have been the Bonoman area, to create several Akan states of Ghana, mainly based on gold trading. These states included Bonoman (Brong-Ahafo Region), Ashanti (Ashanti Region), Denkyira (Central region), Mankessim Kingdom (Western region), and Akwamu Eastern region. By the 19th century, the territory of the southern part of Ghana was included in the Kingdom of Ashanti, one of the most influential states in sub-saharan Africa prior to the onset of colonialism.

The Kingdom of Ashanti government operated first as a loose network, and eventually as a centralised kingdom with an advanced, highly specialised bureaucracy centred in the capital city of Kumasi. Prior to Akan contact with Europeans, the Akan Ashanti people created an advanced economy based on principally gold and gold bar commodities then traded with the states of Africa.

The earliest known kingdoms to emerge in modern Ghana were the Mole-Dagbani states. The Mole-Dagomba came on horseback from present-day Burkina Faso under a single leader, Naa Gbewaa. With their advanced weapons and based on a central authority, they easily invaded and occupied the lands of the local people ruled by the Tendamba (land god priests), established themselves as the rulers over the locals, and made Gambaga their capital. The death of Naa Gbewaa caused civil war among his children, some of whom broke off and founded separate states including Dagbon, Mamprugu, Mossi, Nanumba and Wala.

 

 

 

European contact (15th century)

 

18th Century Ashanti kuduo. Gold dust and nuggets were kept in kuduo, as were other items of personal value and significance. As receptacles for their owners' kra, or life force, kuduo were prominent features of ceremonies designed to honor and protect that individual.

Akan trade with European states began after contact with Portuguese in the 15th century. Early European contact by the Portuguese people, who came to the Gold Coast region in the 15th century to trade and then established the Portuguese Gold Coast (Costa do Ouro), focused on the extensive availability of gold.[33] The Portuguese built a trading lodge at a coastal settlement called Anomansah (the perpetual drink) which they renamed Elmina.

In 1481, King John II of Portugal commissioned Diogo d'Azambuja to build Elmina Castle, which was completed in three years. By 1598, the Dutch had joined the Portuguese in the gold trade, establishing the Dutch Gold Coast (Nederlandse Bezittingen ter Kuste van Guinea) and building forts at Fort Komenda and Kormantsi.[34] In 1617, the Dutch captured the Olnini Castle from the Portuguese, and Axim in 1642 (Fort St Anthony).

Other European traders had joined in gold trading by the mid-17th century, most notably the Swedes, establishing the Swedish Gold Coast (Svenska Guldkusten), and Denmark-Norway, establishing the Danish Gold Coast (Danske Guldkyst or Dansk Guinea). Portuguese merchants, impressed with the gold resources in the area, named it Costa do Ouro or Gold Coast.

More than thirty forts and castles were built by the Portuguese, Swedish, Dano-Norwegians, Dutch and German merchants; the latter Germans establishing the German Gold Coast (Brandenburger Gold Coast or Groß Friedrichsburg). In 1874 Great Britain established control over some parts of the country, assigning these areas the status of British Gold Coast. Many military engagements occurred between the British colonial powers and the various Akan nation-states. The Akan Kingdom of Ashanti defeated the British a few times in the 100-year-long Anglo-Ashanti wars but eventually lost with the War of the Golden Stool in the early 1900s.

In 1947, the newly formed United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) by The Big Six called for "self-government within the shortest possible time" following the Gold Coast legislative election, 1946.[35][41] Kwame Nkrumah was the first Prime Minister of Ghana and President of Ghana and formed the Convention People's Party (CPP) with the motto "self-government now".

Nkrumah won a majority in the Gold Coast legislative election, 1951 for the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly in 1952. Nkrumah was appointed leader of the Gold Coast's government business. The Gold Coast region declared independence from the United Kingdom on 6 March 1957 and established the nation of Ghana.

On 6 March 1957 at 12 a.m. Nkrumah declared Ghana's establishment and autonomy. On 1 July 1960, following the Ghanaian constitutional referendum, 1960 and Ghanaian presidential election, 1960 Nkrumah declared Ghana as a republic as the first President of Ghana. 1 July is now celebrated as Republic Day.

At the time of independence Nkrumah declared, "My first objective is to abolish from Ghana poverty, ignorance, and disease. We shall measure our progress by the improvement in the health of our people; by the number of children in school, and by the quality of their education; by the availability of water and electricity in our towns and villages; and by the happiness which our people take in being able to manage their own affairs. The welfare of our people is our chief pride, and it is by this that the government will ask to be judged.". In 1966, a group of military officers overthrew Nkrumah in a coup d'état and placed Ghana under the authority of the National Liberation Council.

The flag of Ghana, consisting of the colours red, gold, green, and a black star, became the new flag in 1957 when Gold Coast gained its name Ghana. It was designed by Theodosia Salome Okoh; the red represents the blood that was shed towards independence, the gold represents the industrial minerals wealth of Ghana, the green symbolises the rich grasslands of Ghana, and the black star is the symbol of the Ghanaian people and African emancipation.

Nkrumah was the first African head of state to promote the concept of Pan-Africanism, which he had been introduced to during his studies at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in the United States, at the time when Marcus Garvey was becoming famous for his "Back to Africa Movement".Nkrumah merged the teachings of Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the naturalised Ghanaian scholar W. E. B. Du Bois into the formation of 1960s Ghana.

Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, as he became known, played an instrumental part in the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement, and in establishing the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute to teach his ideologies of communism and socialism.[47] His life achievements were recognised by Ghanaians during his centenary birthday celebration, and the day was instituted as a public holiday in Ghana (Founder's Day).

Operation Cold Chop and aftermath

Main article: History of Ghana (1966–79)

The government of Nkrumah was subsequently overthrown by a coup by the Ghana Armed Forces codenamed "Operation Cold Chop." This occurred while Nkrumah was abroad with Zhou Enlai in the People's Republic of China, on a fruitless mission to Hanoi in Vietnam to help end the Vietnam War. The coup took place on 24 February 1966, led by Col. Emmanuel K. Kotoka. National Liberation Council (N.L.C.) formed and chaired by Lt. General Joseph A. Ankrah.

A series of alternating military and civilian governments, often affected by economic instabilities,[50] from 1966 to 1981 ended with the ascension to power of Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) in 1981.[51] These changes resulted in the suspension of the Constitution of Ghana in 1981, and the banning of political parties in Ghana. The economy soon declined, so Rawlings negotiated a structural adjustment plan changing many old economic policies, and economic growth soon recovered during the mid–1980s. A new Constitution of Ghana restoring multi-party system politics was promulgated in Ghanaian presidential election, 1992; Rawlings was elected as president of Ghana then, and again in Ghanaian general election, 1996.

21st century

Winning the 2000 Ghanaian elections, John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was sworn into office as president of Ghana on 7 January 2001, and attained the presidency again in the 2004 Ghanaian elections, thus also serving two terms (the term limit) as president of Ghana and thus marking the first time under the fourth republic that power was transferred from one legitimately elected head of state and head of government to another.

Kufuor was succeeded to the presidency of the Republic of Ghana by John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) following the Ghanaian presidential election, 2008. and John Atta Mills was inaugurated as the third president of the fourth republic of Ghana and eleventh president of Ghana on 7 January 2009,[54] prior to John Atta Mills being succeeded as president of Ghana by then vice-president of Ghana John Dramani Mahama on 24 July 2012.

Following the Ghanaian presidential election, 2012, John Dramani Mahama became President-elect and was inaugurated as the 4th President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana and 7th President of Ghana on 7 January 2013, to serve one term of office of four-year term length as President of Ghana until 7 January 2017, maintaining Ghana's status as a stable democracy.

As a result of the Ghanaian presidential election, 2016, Nana Akufo-Addo became President-elect and was inaugurated as the 5th President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana and 8th President of Ghana on 7 January 2017, to serve one term of office of four-year term length as President of Ghana, until 7 January 2021.

 

 

 

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