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05.08.2004 General News

Corruption Exists in Private Sector Too -Veep

By Chronicle

Corruption has become the characteristic of government businesses and has the tendency of eroding the confidence of multilateral and bilateral donors and investors.

In a speech read on behalf of the Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, he said corruption was not merely a problem of the public sector but could exist in the private sector too.

The vice president made this disclosure at the Association of Certified Chartered Accounts (ACCA) international centenary seminar in Accra yesterday.

He said corruption respected no political boundaries, and deepened poverty around the globe by distorting political, economic and social life.

He added that corruption, embezzlement, misappropriation, misapplication of funds and other malfeasances impacted adversely on the development and progress of society.

According to the president, corruption today was at its highest level, capturing the headlines everywhere, and people were becoming more and more aware of its disastrous consequences.

The president, who was speaking on the theme: "The role of public sector in ensuring accountability" said foreign aid was a significant feature in the budget of many developing countries like Ghana and its effective management. However, funds' accountability had become of critical concern to donors.

According to him, the government would rely on members of the accountancy profession, like the ACCA to ensure the propriety of expenditure by departments, effieciency of fund utilization, monitoring the public sector's financial resources and prudent cash management of cash inflows and outflows.

"It is my hope that in the year ahead, your association will see the continuity of the implementation of the programmes you have carried out over the years," he noted.

He said the organisation had shown tremendous growth in Ghana in the hundred years of its existence, hence he suggested that the Ghana office of the ACCA considered collaborating with the Controller and Accountant General department to introduce modular courses for their staff to enable them better the financial resources of the nation through the district assemblies common fund.

In an interview with The Chronicle, the Auditor General, Mr. Edward Dua Agyeman, said the causes of corruption included lack of transparency and accountability. To combat this, he said any efforts in improving transparency and accountability would help in reducing corruption.

Mr. Agyeman asserted that corruption was attracting more public scrutiny than ever and civil society groups around the world had unleashed an anti corruption campaign.

He also told the paper that approaches to fighting corruption and improving transparency and accountability in the handling of public funds were universal and all embracing.

Commenting on the role of the media, he said the media couldn't be set apart as the only section that knew all.

Any suggestion of omniscience, he said, led to pretentiousness, which then led to all sorts of breaches and abuses of other peoples' rights and social values.

He advised that the media was not to be used recklessly because reputation once destroyed, was difficult to restore.

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