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22.10.2007 General News

President happy with public sittings of PAC

President happy with public sittings of PAC

President John Agyekum Kufuor supports the public sittings of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament as it falls perfectly in line with the Government's aspiration of zero tolerance for corruption.

The sittings are yet another score in the nation's quest for democracy and good governance, his Press Secretary, Mr Andrew Awuni said at a Castle press briefing on Monday.

"These sittings symbolize our collective will to put behind us the dark side of our past and forge ahead with our quest for a truly open society in which probity and accountability is not just a mere slogan."

Mr Awuni said while Ghanaians applauded the work of the Committee and bemoaned the potential losses caused by poor judgment on the part of some public officials, it was important to ponder over "what we did not have the chance to hear about in the past, the losses we made in the past that we will never get to know, not only in the era of the Fourth Republican Constitution, but as far back as our minds can take us".

Revelations at the sittings should, therefore, not be looked upon as the failure of a Government but, on the contrary, the triumph of a new regime and a new culture that must be upheld and rewarded.

"Government is committed to promoting a new culture of openness and transparency; a culture that frowns at graft and incompetence; a culture of the rule of law and a truly democratic society where good governance remains the cornerstone."

This, Mr Awuni said, had been demonstrated through the introduction of appropriate legislation and strengthening of the Public Finance Administration laws and agencies mandated to fight corruption as well as the expansion of the frontiers of free expression.

He cited the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law; introduction of the Procurement Law; Whistle Blowers Act and the strengthening of the operational capacities of the Serious Fraud Office; Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Auditor-General's Department to support his assertion.

The Press Secretary entreated the media and social commentators to refrain from the skewed analysis and the tendency to misrepresent facts.

They should rather ensure circumspection and high professionalism and avoid pointing accusing fingers or judging public officials, who appeared before the Committee as criminals, saying they should wait for the law to take its course.

Meanwhile, President Kufuor has been invited as an International Guest Speaker at two major gatherings of World Scholars in Oxford, United Kingdom on October 29 and 31, 2007.

These are the inauguration of the Association of Black Rhodes Scholars at Exeter College in Oxford and a special session of members of the prestigious Oxford Union that would focus on topical world issues and in particular on Ghana's leadership role in addressing development challenges confronting Africa.

The Oxford Union is noted for hosting influential world personalities with a record of international speakers like Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Mother Teresa; Winston Churchill; Richard Nixon; Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.

Exeter College is President Kufuor's Alma Mater and it has begun a Scholarship Scheme it has named after him. This is open to Ghanaian residents at home who gain admission into the College.

The College has started receiving applications for this Scholarship, worth 5,000 pounds sterling annually and tenable yearly from October 2008.