In a passionate appeal to Chief Directors, board chairs and public service kingpins, President John Mahama is asking sector leaders to take responsibility in the fight against corruption.
“Corruption is not the responsibility of only the president. I am not everywhere in all your establishment to supervise and make sure nobody is taking any money” he said.
The president made the heartfelt appeal in an address to mark 8th Conference of public service Chief Directors, Chief Executives and Chairpersons of Governing Boards and Councils at Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
He charged the public officers to ensure that officers indicted in the Auditor-General’s report are held to account.
The president observed that year in, year out, Chief Directors find themselves in an embarrassing position whenever they have to face the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to answer questions bothering on mismanagement and abuse of public funds.
“I normally feel very sorry for you when you appear and you are being quizzed …and so one would think that after leaving that uncomfortable situation when you go back you will take control and make sure you are not summoned back.”
“Look for all people mentioned in the auditor-general’s report and take effective action against them….that is what you are required to do” the president schooled the directors.
At times during his speech, the president expressed frustration at the lack of leadership in the public service in fighting corruption.
The President expressed worry about the reported tendency of some Ghanaian professionals to demand monies before rendering a public service.
He cited a story of a foreign national who despite a complimentary report about Ghana still recalled his experience of having to pay a fee at the airport to get prompt service.
“It is not ethical, absolutely unethical” the president said. He could not understand how a public servant paid a salary could act selfishly to dent the image of the country.
“That is the memory he [foreign national] has taken about Ghana. Just one single person at the airport has destroyed the reputation of the country”
He said he felt “pained” by the reported action of the airport official. “We destroy the moral fibre of this country” president John Mahama lamented.