A member of the Public Accounts Committee, Simon Osei Mensah, has urged Parliament to clamp down heavily on public and civil servants who embezzle state funds.
He said: “We should go beyond what we have done in the past and recommend that people be fired”.
According to him, ministries department and agencies (MDAs) have failed to use internal control systems to prevent financial infractions within government institutions.
He maintained that it is time laws are made to work in the country in order to expose people. “Why are we afraid to use the law? If you come up with laws and the laws cannot change behaviour, then you are making the law redundant.”
Mr. Osei Mensah blamed deficiencies in the system on the failure of professionals or people in authority to work on their responsibilities. “Every law has rights, responsibilities and sanctions. Everybody wants to enjoy the rights but they don’t want the responsibilities, and when they fail to observe the responsibilities instead of applying the law, we don’t; so why are we making the laws?” he asked.
The Public Accounts Committee since the resumption of its sitting has been reviewing the Auditor’s General report for the period 2011-2013, with several state institutions and individuals cited for financial infractions in the report.
The Member of Parliament for Bosomtwi believes it’s time for the country to start considering which heads should roll. “I don’t remember Parliament has recommended anything of such sort,” he added.
His comments received backing from the Committee’s vice chairman Samuel Attah Akyea, who is also calling for stiffer sanctions for financial misappropriations.
Already, the PAC has ordered the arrest of an auctioneer for defrauding the Health Ministry of more than GH¢30,000.
The auctioneer is alleged to have sold some vehicles belonging to the Ghana Health Service totalling GH¢44,000 -- but paid only GH¢7,000 to owners of the vehicles and bolted with the rest.
The fraudulent act was part of a litany of financial scandals contained in the audited accounts of the Ghana Health Service.