It seems private companies who have unlawfully siphoned monies belonging to the state will not get off the hook this time around , following an order by the Supreme Court for the Auditor General to retrieve those monies.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Auditor General to, with immediate effect, begin surcharging persons found to have misappropriated monies belonging to the state.
The order was made following a suit filed by Pressure Group, Occupy Ghana in June 2016.
Occupy Ghana was seeking an order directing the Auditor-General to issue disallowances and surcharges to and in respect of all persons and entities found in successive audit reports to have misappropriated state funds.
Occupy Ghana had explained that it sued the Auditor General for refusing to surcharge persons who are said to have misappropriated monies belonging to the state to the tune of over GHc40 billion.
Speaking to Citi News, a leading member of Occupy Ghana, Sydney Casely-Hayford explained that the order by the Supreme Court also gives away private firms who have illegally benefited from monies belonging to the state.
Casely-Hayford whose pressure group has pursued the case against the Auditor General since 2014 said the Supreme Court was“very emphatic in granting all our reliefs that, the Auditor General must apply the disallowance and surcharges [powers], collect all monies owed to the government under his authority and this extends not only to government officials, it also extends to people in the private sector who have been found culpable in collecting the money.”
“Every year the Auditor General does its audit and then produces a report. It was through that report that we were able to pick up the SADA, GYEEDA and all other corruption issues that have come up. In the past, all of these have been left because he just presents his report but now he is under legal obligation to prosecute all the officials involved in any of such activities. So in the case of GYEEDA, he would have to go to all those private sector people who were given contracts and never delivered the contracts and collect the monies that have been dissipated… He will refer all that to the Attorney General and the Attorney General must prosecute within the law,” he added.
A number of corruption scandals have been recorded in the country in the last few years which involved public officials and private companies benefiting from state monies for less or no work done.
Some of the scandals include the monies lost to Subah Info Solutions deal, the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA, the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and the GHC3.6 million bus branding saga.