03.02.2006 General News

Accountability office says it can bite

03.02.2006 LISTEN
By Chronicle

To allay the fear and negative perceptions against the much talked-about Office of Accountability, Professor Kwabena Konadu Oduro, its chairman, has indicated his preparedness to probe into allegations of corruption leveled against every public official, including President Kufuor, provided they are relevant. According to him, he is more than prepared to wade into any such allegations leveled against the president provided there is basis on which the office could rely to institute the investigations, and the one making the allegations also willing to assist in the process with the needed facts.

This, he said, should send a clear signal to each and every Ghanaian that its operations cut across all sectors of the public service with the seat of government not left out.

By this, he noted that every Ghanaian would obviously come to the understanding that even the Chief Executive of this country is not above the provisions of the law, as some sections of the public tend to believe.

He averred that the office would therefore not hesitate to institute investigations into allegations of corruption or its related cases leveled against the president, stressing that the office would not allow itself to be subjected to any manipulation from any quarters.

Speaking at a news conference in Accra, he stressed that his outfit is ready to investigate any such allegations leveled against any other public servant whose actions and inaction is brought to its attention.

To discharge this daunting task, he indicated that the accountability office does not need hard evidence from individuals and corporate bodies that make the allegations, but rather, a credible and reliable lead, which would enable them wade into the investigations.

Prof. Oduro noted that in as much as the president and all other public office holders have vowed to uphold the constitution of the republic, he is rest assured that they are prepared to be submissive to its tenets.

He noted that by submitting themselves to the law, for investigations to be conducted, public servants who corruption allegations are leveled against would have a fair and even opportunity to clear their names and credibility.

According to him, every public servant whose actions and inactions are brought to the notice of his office, would be subjected to a vigorous investigation to unearth the truth or otherwise of it in order not to create a negative impression in the minds of Ghanaians, some of whom have already expressed doubts about its ability to probe into and investigate allegations against public officials, especially those in government.

He said though he appreciates the concerns being raised about the ability of his office to wade into allegations against highly-placed persons in government, there is an urgent need to discard the notions of people habouring such doubts, since the office is not in existence to please any official.

Rather, he noted that it is in existence to ensure that public officials, especially those in government, do not by virtue of their positions, abuse the powers vested in them to indulge in corrupt practices at the expense of the ordinary taxpayer.

Sounding a note of caution to public officials who abuse their positions for personal gains, Prof. Oduro intimated that there is no room to accommodate them under the tenets of the much-talked about zero tolerance for corruption as promised by the president.

That notwithstanding, he indicated that the office would bear all the cost of any enquiry into allegations it is given.

He however noted that such information must be relevant with the individual informant willing to help establish the truth with the needed facts.

He also reiterated that the office does not encourage mischief making or witch-hunting, since it (accountability office) is out to discharge its duties efficiently.

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