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23.03.2009 Politics

Government to gazette assets declared by public officer holders


Government on Monday took a giant step in its effort to tackle sleaze in the public service with the gazetting of assets declared by political appointees and public office holders.

Currently, assets declared by public office holders are lodged with the Auditor General in a sealed envelop.

Vice President John Dramani Mahama, who announced this at the Castle, Osu on Monday, said the current assets declaration was “quite meaningless” in dealing with the menace of corruption, which had been identified as a major factor responsible for Ghana's state of underdevelopment.

He was interacting with a joint delegation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) and management of South African construction conglomerate, Power Group.

Vice President Mahama pointed out that government would not relent in safeguarding the public purse from being dissipated by greedy state officials.

He said the decision to gazette or make public assets declared by public office holders was part of efforts being initiated by President John Evans Atta Mills to ensure the “highest degree of responsibility and accountability” in public service.

Vice President Mahama said the newly minted code of ethics, which would soon take effect, would bring sanity into state financial controls and ensure that national resources were expended on the marginalised.

He noted that government would focus on instilling in the public sector a high sense of moral integrity in line with President Mills' transparent and ethical leadership.

Vice President Mahama said public officials who transgressed the new code would be punished, as the core principle of the code was to ensure that timely actions were taken in punishing erring officials.

He reiterated the commitment of President Mills to demonstrate through actions, his loathing for sleaze in both the public and private sectors by ensuring that those who fell foul of the law were dealt with swiftly but firmly.

Vice President Mahama commended Right-Reverend Dr Yaw Frimpong-Manso, Moderator of the General Assembly of PCG for being at the forefront in developing a culture of industriousness and clean living in Ghana.

He said the visit of Mr Graham Power, Chairman of Power Group of Companies and his lead role in tackling corrupt practices in the corporate world would serve as an inspiration to efforts geared towards rooting out the bad practice in Ghana.

Vice President Mahama said the canker of corruption had helped unfortunately to divert public money into private hands, but was hopeful that through the collaborative efforts of organisations such as the PCG, government would come at grips with the problem.

Rt-Rev. Frimpong-Manso reiterated the commitment of PCG to work towards a “holistic ministry” in Ghana that required its congregants to pursue business goals with integrity.

He said introduction of Mr Power in Ghana was due to his sterling leadership in insulating businesses from sordid deals which tended to exacerbate poverty on the continent.

Mr Power, an advocate of the Global Day of Prayer, a platform that blends entrepreneurial practices with Christian teachings, challenged his colleague businessmen to help turn a page of the “horrible statistics' of corruption in corporate boardrooms in Africa.

He posited that the biggest problem confronting Africa was the problem of corruption, alluding that efforts to tackle poverty would only become successful when the problem of corruption was firmly tackled.

Other members of the delegation included Rev. Herbert Anim Opong, Clerk of General Assembly of PCG and Rev. Professor Emmanuel Martey, Chairperson of Ga Presbytery of PCG.