General Politics

Public officials in Ghana feel entitled – Prof. Agyeman-Duah

Former Senior United Nations Governance Advisor, Professor Baffuor Agyeman-Duah, says there is a total breakdown of accountability within state institutions in this country due to what he describes as state capture by the political and bureaucratic elite.

He explained that the elite groups that hold public offices have developed a strong sense of entitlement such that they believe they are entitled to a privileged lifestyle at the expense of the citizenry.

This he says is the reason why those with authority to check and prevent graft, abuse and misuse of state resources look on unperturbed as the country’s resources are looted and wasted.

He was speaking concerning the 2021 Auditor General’s report which revealed that the country lost in excess of ₵17 billion to wasteful spending by state institutions and agencies.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he noted that this behavior is still ongoing due to no actual efforts being made to hold the political and bureaucratic elite accountable for their actions and inactions.

“I have a strong sense that in this country what I may call the political and bureaucratic elite seems to have captured the state. And these people tend to have very strong sense of entitlement. That is to say that, public officials seem to believe that they are entitled to a kind of privileged living in this country, and therefore they tend to shirk their responsibility for effective supervision, their responsibility for holding their subordinates accountable and on and on and on.

“So that in the end we come out short of expectations in terms of people who have been entrusted with the affairs of this country, you know, how they have been managing our fiscal affairs. So basically it’s a problem of governance in the fiscal area, fiscal governance at all levels,” he said.

He continued, “I think, latest reports are indicating that, I think he said so, that even the local level, if you look at the local assemblies, hundreds, billions of cedis, I read today about 2.5 billion cedis that are not fully accounted for. Of course, across the state institutions you’ll find this happening all the time.

“So I think there is a complete breakdown of accountability at all these levels, and they’re broken down because nobody is bringing people to book.”

Reacting to comments made by a member of the Public Accounts Committee, Murtala Mohammed indicating that the Committee was working assiduously to clear the backlog of unprocessed Auditor General’s reports, he said that was good effort in ensuring accountability.

“So I’m happy that at least according to Mr. Murtala new efforts are being made to ensure that all the work of the Attorney General are looked at and they can question why they are not taking the necessary steps to ensure people account for their stewardship over resources.”

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