The Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa North in the Upper East Region, James Agalga says there is no real desire by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo to deal with corruption in his government and the country at large.
Mr. Agalga’s comment follows the recent appointment of the former Managing Director of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Kwame Owusu as the new Board Chairman of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The appointment of Mr. Owusu, who is facing investigations into allegations of abuse of office and conflict of interest, was met with intense public uproar when it was announced.
The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local chapter of Transparency Initiative, has waded strongly into the condemnation of Mr. Owusu’s appointment.
It has reminded the President of the sections of his oath of office that enjoins him to dedicate himself “to the service and well-being of the people of the Republic of Ghana and to do right to all manner of persons.”
“The said service which the President swore to all Ghanaians,” according to the antigraft body, “include holding himself and appointees accountable to the people of Ghana and making information on his accountability available to the people whose mandate he holds to govern.”
The GII is also urging the President to be guided by country’s commitment to the Open Governance Partnership (OGP) which the Government of Ghana signed onto in 2011. The OGP commitment revolves around the pillars of transparency, empowering citizens to participate and harness new technologies to promote good governance.
It further stated, “Therefore, publishing reports of the investigation into the conduct of public officers is an evidence of good and open governance practice which would be consistent with their oath of office.”
The antigraft body has also said it is out of place for the President to appoint an individual whose integrity has been questioned to the Board of such a sensitive entity as GRA.
The GII, has therefore, asked the President to publish the report of investigations that contradict the allegation of conflict of interest and financial misappropriation made against his appointee, if he wants to stand by his decision.
“Failure by the President to revoke Mr. Kwame Owusu’s appointment or publish the report that clears him will only contribute to negating all the efforts of GRA to promote voluntary compliance of the country’s tax laws and hence leaving the country to mark time at Tax to GDP ratio of 12.6 percent (Ministry of Finance 2018 fiscal data Jan – Dec).” GII stated.
Responding to the development on A1 Radio’s DayBreak Upper East show on Tuesday July 16, 2019, Mr. Agalga, who was also a deputy Interior minister in the erstwhile NDC administration, said, “This is evidence to show that there is total lack of commitment on the part of government to fight corruption. Apart from witch-hunting the political opponents of the NPP, there is no real desire to deal with corruption; I mean this is factual. And the issue of the former boss of Maritime Board Authority is very classical.”