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26.06.2008 General News

STOP CORRUPT PRACTICES-Chief of Staff urges accountants

By Issah Alhassan, Kumasi - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, has called on workers of the
Controller and Accountant General's Department, to refrain from dishonest and fraudulent practices, that have the tendency to bring the activities of the department into disrepute.

According to the Minister, in spite of the numerous efforts made by the government to ensure financial accountability, it was worrying to hear negative incidences of reported cases of fraud and misappropriations, still prevailing in the country's financial administration.

Mr. Mpiani, who gave the advice while addressing staff of the department in Kumasi, during the annual delegates' conference, observed that it was the duty of every Ghanaian particularly, workers of the CAGD, to protect the government's limited resources through judicious use, and adopt positive attitudes and personal discipline towards our responsibilities.

“As staff of the department responsible for government's financial accounts, you must learn to conduct yourselves in the light of professionalism, and demonstrate what will constitute the best treatment of government accounts, devoid of malfeasances and manipulations,” he stated.

The three-day conference, which was under the theme “Meeting the Challenges of Public Finance Management Reform,” brought together workers of the department, across the country, to take stock of the previous year, share ideas and experiences, to improve upon the existing system of the CAGD.

The Chief of Staff further urged the department, to address the numerous issues of distortions, underpayments and discrepancies in the payrolls of stakeholders, which often arise as a result of the change from the Integrated Personal Payment Database I (IPPDI), to the IPPD II.

He said even though the government was aware of the challenges involved in the migration system, it was the aim and objective of the government, to ensure the prompt payment of public workers with minimum deficiencies.

Mr. Mpiani, however, commended the department, for taking the initiative to improve and assuage the plights of senior citizens, particularly by decentralizing the pension processes, adding that it was a laudable system, which must be sustained.

He, therefore, pledged the support of the government, in ensuring that the department carried through its various financial reform programmes.

The Controller and Accountant General, Mr. Christian Tetteh Sottie, in an address, said the department, irrespective of its numerous organizational challenges, had not derailed from its planned programmes of activities, in ensuring quality financial services to all its stakeholders.

He said the department had sustained the National Youth Employment Programme, by engaging over 324 school-leavers across the regions, out of which 20 had been offered permanent jobs, while 17 gained employment in other organizations.

Mr. Sottie further disclosed that about 1,000 students were taken on for vacation employment, in the National Head count exerciseing the government millions of cedis.

He revealed that the CAGD was in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast, to establish a University College, to run courses on B.Sc and Diploma in accounting, adding that the World Bank had agreed to fund the programme, while a team of experts were also expected in July this year, to familiarize itself with the training facilities available for the purpose.

He stated that in order to reduce the difficulties encountered by both public servants and pensioners, the department initiated a nationwide tour of the regions, to explain to public servants and government pensioners, about the various processes involved in transacting business with the department, and respective roles of the Ministries and Departments.

The Controller and Accountant General said even though there had been an improvement in infrastructure at the national level, some regional offices still faced problems of obsolete office equipment, lack of office space and accommodation, lack of renovation of official structures, poor furnishing and inadequate specific training and skills development.

Mr. Sottie has, however, reiterated that the department would continue to desist from, and resist, unprofessional practices, that often lead staff of the department into corrupt practices, and various financial malfeasances.

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