OccupyGhana, a pressure group, has urged the Attorney-General (A-G) and the Auditor General to enforce the Supreme Court’s judgment that ordered them to prosecute public officials who misappropriate public funds.
It stated that the prosecution of public officials who were found to have misappropriated public funds in the Auditor General’s annual special audit report would help the state to retrieve stolen funds and cause the officials to face appropriate punishment.
“We applaud the bold steps taken and results obtained by the Audit Service under the leadership of the current Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Domelevo, and urge it not to relent in enforcing the judgment of the Supreme Court to prevent, where possible, thievery of the nation’s money and recover for Ghana whatever is stolen,” it stated.
In a press statement issued in Accra yesterday and signed by the group, it said: “We urge the Attorney-General to commence the prosecution of the persons who either caused, attempted to or conspired to cause these losses to Ghana.
The Supreme Court was clear that there must be appropriate punishment and ordered the Attorney-General to take all the necessary steps to enforce the decision or steps taken by the Auditor-General to ensure compliance, including in some cases criminal prosecutions,” it said.
The Supreme Court on June 14, 2017 ordered the Auditor-General to surcharge anyone who it found to have misappropriated public funds.
The judgment followed a suit OccupyGhana filed against the Auditor-General who it accused of not applying the law to protect the public purse.
The group also sued the A-G for refusing to surcharge persons who were said to have misappropriated money belonging to the state to the tune of over GH¢40 billion and argued that every year the Auditor-General found many instances of misapplication of state funds by public officers and yet nobody was held accountable or punished, in spite of the fact that the Auditor-General had the power to disallow expenditures which were not in conformity with the law and to surcharge those responsible.
Ghanaians waiting for prosecution
However, reacting to the 2018 special report by the Auditor-General, the group said: “This report mentions how much has been saved to the nation in disallowances, how much has been surcharged and how much has been recovered.
We salute the Audit Service, led by the current Auditor-General for this. We are, however, concerned that there appears to be little effort to prosecute those who have committed these infractions and call upon the Attorney-General to commence prosecutions in this regard,” it said.
According to the group, the heart of every Ghanaian would be gladdened at the saving of the net total of GH¢5,445,676,134.53, which some government officials fraudulently claimed was owed on various government contracts, but which had been already paid.
“This attempt to fleece Ghana of this colossal sum was only stopped by the Auditor-General issuing disallowances.
“Further, the recovery of GH¢67,137,517.86 as a result of the Auditor-General’s surcharges and recovery efforts must be lauded by all Ghanaians.
Meanwhile, there are surcharges of almost half a billion cedis outstanding, waiting for enforcement,” it stated.
It pointed out that while the Auditor General appeared to have done his part in saving the nation billions of public funds, “the ball is now firmly in the court of the Attorney-General.”