The Africa Centre for Public Policy Watch (ACPPW) GCNH, UER chapter commend the government for initiating and leading the mobilization of relief for vulnerable citizens in the wake of COVID 19 in the country.
Under the current difficult and challenging times, the government could not have done better than tackling the plight of those who are worst affected by measures that have been put in place to check the spread of the disease. While commending the government for its benevolence and show of paternalism we call for key anti-corruption safeguards in its coronavirus stimulus support.
This we believe will ensure that the funds provided by the taxpayer and benevolent society will go toward fighting the virus and support the vulnerable and are not misappropriated by corrupt actors. The public has taken note of the numerous support coming from various corporate citizens and individuals. This is the more reason we need to ensure that all the support that is being realized both in cash and in-kind does not end being stolen by unscrupulous public officials and NGOs.
Information from our partners indicates that Swedbank may have facilitated the laundering of some millions of funds in Azerbaijan and other countries. Ghana has a history of poor management and the misappropriation of public funds. This gives reason for fear similar acts of corruption may repeat its ugly head here, in our country. As measures toward protecting funds dedicated to fighting COVIT 19 and its attendant problems we proffer the following safeguards:
First, all contributions (totals) in cash should be published every two days. This will enable the public for that matter all stakeholders to appreciate exactly how much is being committed to COVID 19 activities.
Secondly, we recommend a biweekly publication of all expenses on the intervention. This we believe, will go a long way to strengthen transparency and accountability and further boost public confidence in the entire exercise.
Thirdly, we urge all citizens to activate their civic responsibility under the Whistle Blower’s law to ensure the information that could help expose corrupt actors are shared with the appropriate anti-graft institutions. This will go a long way to help the government take whatever actions are necessary and appropriate to recoup funds and or punish culprits.
Fourthly, we appeal to the government to demonstrate an ability to prosecute corrupt officials and any other person or group of persons who may misappropriate, steal or mismanage funds dedicated to anti-COVID 19 activities.
Security, security officials are also admonished to be humane in their dealings with the public in the lockdown areas.
It is important to note that efforts toward fighting the disease and ameliorating the plight of the vulnerable will fall short unless government anti-corruption strategies under COVID 19 financing are harmonized across all institutions including the media and civil society.
Once again we applaud the government and its partners, corporate citizens, the Ashanteman under His Majesty Otumfo Osei Tutu II, the media and all who have contributed or have intentions to contribute towards fighting the pandemic.