28.07.2002 Feature Article

Per Diem For Ghana Government Officials

Per Diem For Ghana Government Officials
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I read with interest the topic "Ghana's Ecowas MPs Tip-Toe Out of Sheraton Hotel" by Kofi Coomson in Abuja, posted to the web June 18, 2002 ...Ala Adjetey's strange manoeuvres I always wondered when Ghana will wake up to see how Officials are using every "Legitimate" method of filling their pockets, to borrow from the same article mentioned above "pockets brimming with dollars, being their sitting allowance which is far more than they could ever earn as impoverished MPs from Ghana". I read with interest about Ghanaian official sleeping in $200.00 and $400.00 a day hotels when they travel. Ghanaians should know that per diem is more than just hotel bills. On top of the hotel bills these officials get their allowance for meals and transportation, so one should just imagine how much of the taxpayer’s money these officials are spending on these "official travels". These men are supposed to help bring sanity into the financial affairs of the country but what are they doing? Using every "Legitimate" means of robbing the country! Should Ghanaians hail every "official" visit of President JAK and his entourage? Should Ghanaians hail every "official" visit by the foreign minister and his entourage? Why does Ghana have representatives in foreign countries? If the present trend of official foreign travels by Ghanaian officials should continue then perhaps Ghana should close those embassies and ship the men home! Kofi Wayo puts it in clear words, the MPs are getting fat and filling their pockets through traveling, President JAK is leading his team on this. Who is this man Kofi Wayo? Is he not an MP for the ruling party? We should all remember the Akan proverb “ Se bobokyikyie firi nsuo ase beka se denkyem awu a yennye no akyingyei” I do work for the United States Government and I know a lot about official travels and believe me even a rich country like the United States has means of preventing official travel abuses. If any United States congressman or senator will spend such an amount on hotel bill the whole world will hear about it! Those of you that have access to Internet can visit the United States official PER DEIM site and see how much dollars are paid for official travels throughout the world. The allowance that you will see include what even President George Bush is paid, far less than what your officials are claiming after their “official” travels. Ghanaians should wake up and take off the Vail so that nobody hides behind "official" travel to deplete the Ghanaian coffers. Are all these travels necessary? Is not the per diem too much for Ghana to bear where even the United States of America pays far less than what Ghana has to pay her officials for travels to the same locations? There should be a probe into some of the travel patterns of officials to avoid abuses and the General Accounts Office should bring down the per diem rates to levels that is commensurate with a developing country. Officials should not be permitted to use “official travel” as a legitimate means of stealing from the country. The General Accounts Office or whatever office has the responsibility of setting the bounds and amount for per diem should revise the rates. It is a disgrace and insult to Ghana and the taxpayer. There should be thorough scrutiny into all claims for official travels before payments are made. Recovery is necessary as it is done here in the United States where criminal penalties are sometimes warranted for illegal per diem claims. Something should be done about this! Wake up Ghana! SAMUEL M. BOATENG F-16 AVIONICS PROGRAM ENGINEER 6070 GUM LANE, BLDG 1213 HILL AIR FORCE BASE, UT 84056

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