Assembly Members should hold more Town Hall Meetings with Citizens – GII

By Rachel Kakraba

Head of Projects, Internal Audit Agency, Alhassan Fuseini says yawning gaps exist at the implementation stages in the award of contracts at various District Assemblies. He was equally worried about the lack of social accountability and procurement breaches committed by District Assemblies.

Mr. Fuseini, who was speaking at a stakeholder’s forum organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative, said “it looks as if we want to spend, we want to do work, but we are not ready to people whom we are supposed to be accountable to so the social accountability is very important within the various communities and general society we need to ensure they are more accountable, especially when they have representatives in the Assembly”.

The forum was to increase citizen’s engagement and demand for accountability from duty bearers.

Mr. Fuseini was unhappy District Assemblies were not engaging community members enough through the mandated Town Hall meetings. He said citizen engagement enhances transparency and promotes the fight against corruption, a reason Assemblies must commit more to it.

“The Assemblies have made it such that citizens will participate in the planning processes. At the budgetary stage, there is also a point at which citizens are brought in. But there is a gap when it comes to the implementation stage. We can carry the citizens along when we inform them or when we publish this is the contractor who is working on this. They can even hold the Contractor accountable when they are doing shoddy work. It will help to improve the fight of corruption in this country”.

Mr. Fuseini regretted Management often does not give a free hand for Internal Auditors to advise on financial malpractices.

Auditors who make attempts become targets, he noted.

“The challenges that we have and if possible that is why some of these issues are still there is that Management are not giving the Internal Auditors the opportunity to advise them when it comes to issues of financial malpractices. When the Internal Auditors bring that information up then he becomes a target of transfer, but that is what he has to do. He must make sure he holds Management in check of all what they are doing”.

Programmes Director, GII, Mary Ada, while drawing attention to the need for inter-agency collaboration in the fight against corruption, asked District Assemblies to create confidential platforms that will solicit corruption complaints from citizens.

“How do we get the corruption complaint mechanisms in the Assemblies to work. Not just establishing them to be dealing with sanitation and garbage collection issues. They need to also concentrate on reporting on corruption and creating confidential platforms, so that people can trust these platforms, then make complaints”, she posited.  

The Executive Director of the GII, Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo said the organization remains resolute in the provision of relevant platforms for stakeholders to engage in their roles in promoting good governance at the local level. The Ghana Integrity Initiative, GII, is a non-partisan, non-profit civil organisation focused on addressing corruption to promote good governance.

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