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Opinion | Sep 24, 2017

Graphic Editor Plays Mischief Against Attorney-General Gloria Akuffo

Graphic Editor Plays Mischief Against Attorney-General Gloria Akuffo

If the Auditor-General’s Report covering the period 2015 and before details egregious mismanagement of the people’s money by the Accountant or Accounts Department of the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General’s Office, then, of course, the photograph that ought to have accompanied the story published by the Daily Graphic with the following headline, “Staff of Attorney-General’s Department Paid GH₵ 92, 861 Unearned Salaries” (9/23/17), should have been that of former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, and not that of the present Attorney-General, Ms. Gloria AfuaAkuffo. This gross exhibition of abject lack of professionalism and insensitivity is what bumbling megalomaniacs like Mr. AffailMonney, quixotically jockeying for the post of Life-President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), ought to be on the lookout for and be admonishing their colleagues to guard against.

For me, though, it is rather amusing that a newspaper that proudly bills itself as the foremost newspaper of record in the country would be managed by an editor who clearly appears to woefully lack even the most rudimentary sense of editorial accuracy and fairness of judgment. The minute details of the story in reference here are themselves not very pertinent to this column, and so I shall briefly summarize its contents for the benefit of those of our readers who may not have already familiarized themselves with the same. In essence, we are told that salaries and perks totaling just over GH₵ 90,000 were illegally paid to some employees of the Judicial Services Department who had either retired and been already fully paid their retirement and/or severance benefits, had resigned or effectively transferred out of the Judicial Service.

Then also, we are informed that the Accountant or Accounts Division of the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General’s Office, during the period under discussion, failed to remit tax withholdings totaling GH₵ 10, 537 to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). Now, what my basic knowledge with this very significant process tells me is that the pension and social security entitlements and other benefits of some currently active employees of the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General’s Office could be adversely affected down the pike, as it were. The Auditor-General is therefore well within his/her rights to advise the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to promptly remit the aforesaid tax withholdings to the GRA pronto, or “without further delay.”

Then again, we are told that revenue totaling just under GH₵ 3 million collected on behalf of the Ministry of Justice by the HFC Bank could not be reconciled with available records of the same kept by the accounts personnel of the MOJ and the A-G’s Office. Another £ 75,000 collected on behalf of the MOJ, again, by the HFC Bank from various court houses, perhaps fines and other charges, could not be reconciled. On the whole, the amounts involved are not very substantial but one can, nevertheless, reach the quite plausible conclusion that somebody under the watch of the previous Attorney-General must have taken up the patently unhealthy and unsavory habit of dipping his/her fingers into the proverbial children’s cookie jar. Here though, we are talking about a jar belonging to very mature boys and girls.

Whatever the reality of the case or scenario may be, the foregoing revelations ought to come as a signal warning to the current Attorney-General that the MOJ is in dire need of the services of crackerjack auditors, both internal and external; and also that the MOJ’s Accounts Department is in need of a diligent constabulary in ship shape, as it were.

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Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2017

This author has authored 4368 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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