Dan Botwe – Minister of Local Government and Rural Development
Times are changing and positively so, regardless of how slow these take.
Those who presently hold public offices and breach propriety standards will soon be swept away by the waves of auditing and public scrutiny.
We have repeatedly raised the issue of reckless management of public funds in the area of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies’ managements.
We were unsurprised therefore, when eventually, eight of such officials were caught in the net of auditors.
We are excited not because our compatriots are facing prosecution, but because finally the relevant authorities are beginning to crack the whip where necessary.
Those who are entrusted with the management of the public purse must do so with a sense of responsibility and patriotism. The old order must give way to a new one in which the national interest should not under any circumstance be compromised on the altar of parochialism.
This country has endured fiscal hemorrhaging for so long even as auditing processes persist.
Only corruption will make public officials ignore procurement standards and make 35 payments for goods and services totaling GH¢480,815.13 without seeking for alternatives.
It is for good reasons that tenders are opened when purchases are going to be made or contracts awarded.
Those caught in the scandalous conduct knew what they were doing and should be held responsible for the breaches. The interest of the nation supersedes theirs. The sum total of such irresponsible conducts, which of course could be only a tip of the iceberg, is immensely injurious to the state kitty and by extension, the national economy and even image.
When such rare exposures rear their heads, the appropriate standards should be triggered and exhausted no matter whose ox is gored to exact the appropriate deterrence required.
We have heard enough of government officials vowing to deal with bad nuts in the management of the state kitty. Now that the opportunity has popped up, we do not expect any tarrying on the part of public officials who deal with such anomalies.
It beats imagination how such a colossal amount of public funds could be expended when clearly the standards were being breached.
Were the local auditors compromised or they deliberately looked elsewhere? We are aware about how such expenditures must pass through laid-down procedures of checks as established by law.
For these to be so blatantly ignored the way they have been presented in the smoking report, smacks of endemic rot which should be stemmed forthwith.
A test case has presented itself for not only the officials on whose bosom the case has been dropped, but the rest of their compatriots whose civic responsibility it is to follow the unfolding process of adjudication and its outcome.