As local assemblies across the African continent observed the African Day of Decentralization and Local Development on August 10, the National Association of Local Authorities Ghana (NALAG) has urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to stand together as locals and destroy corruption before it destroys them.
The theme for the 2018 edition “Combatting corruption: a sustainable path for Africa’s transformation” as declared by the African Union (AU) is aimed at “Fighting corruption at the local level, a sustainable way for the transform Africa from its territories.”
The theme comes in time in a context where the local government of the continent are increasingly shaken by scandals of corruption, involving the elected officials of the first plan.
A statement signed by NALAG’s General Secretary, Hon Kokro Amankwah called on MMDAs to join in the fight against corruption at the local level.
“In other to have a sustainable way to transform Africa from within its territories, our Assemblies must join the fight against corruption within the various MMDAs.
“Our Districts must be accountable, engage citizen in participatory governance, adhere to rules and regulations, and conduct proper project management”, the statement said.
NALAG during the occasion underscored Local Governance corruption as a phenomenon across the world destroying the core of development.
The Association has therefore called on the 254 of its members (MMDAs) to “stand together as locals to destroy the hold of corruption before corruption destroys us.”
Below is the full statement;
A PRESS RELEASE BY THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES OF GHANA (NALAG) ON THE CELEBRATION OF AFRICAN DAY OF DECENRALISATION AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT (TADDL)
10TH AUGUST, 2018
The Celebration of the Africa Day of Decentralisation and Local Development (JADDL) originates from the provision of Article 20 of the African Charter of values and principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development adopted on June 27, 2014, requesting states parties to commemorate the African Day of Decentralisation and Local Development (TADDL) on 10th August every year to promote the values and principles of the charter on the basis of the African Union’s General Theme for the year. Thus in relation to the theme of the African union of 2018 entitled “Combatting Corruption; a sustainable path for African’s transformation”. The theme: “Fighting Corruption at the Local level, a sustainable way to transform Africa within its territories,” is dedicated to the celebration of this years’ African Day of Decentralisation and Local Development.
It is against this background that the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) would like to wish all our members who are the 254 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) well as we celebrate this year’s Day. In other to have a sustainable way to transform Africa from within its territories, our Assemblies must join the fight against corruption within the various MMDAs – Our Districts must be accountable, engage citizen in participatory governance, adhere to rules and regulations, and conduct proper project management.
Local Government Corruption is a phenomenon across the world which destroys the core of development. Presently, MMDAs hang in the balance as another indicator of public confidence in Local governance becomes envisage in the face of mounting corruption which is affecting the sector. Ironically, the fight against corruption is prospectively far from the actual reality in the entire system of governance. In order to find a solution that could potentially limit corrupt practices in the local government, there are measures which are considered best practices and should form the core value of dealing with corrupt officials and/or practices. Best practices such as improved access to public service, information disclosure and social audit, creation of action groups, strengthening internal control systems, publication of annual audit report to the public as well as people’s right to information bills are very necessary to combating the growing levels of corruption in the local levels.
Most contracts and projects that are awarded in various Districts are rather shrouded in secrecy. This does not allow the public to perform their role of social audit into these projects and contracts. In order to facilitate accountability and transparency, citizens and civil society in local governance, ordinance or legal mechanisms can be implemented to make all District documents available to the public. Citizens may keep MMDAs in check by reviewing documents and information such as disclosure of contract and project details which will inure good social audit before, during and after specific projects. The disclosure should describe the project so that local communities and civil society organizations (CSOs) can monitor whether the project assistance reaches its intended beneficiaries.
Secondly, the demand for information from Local Authorities can be only predicated on the Right to Information Bill (RTI). It is for this essence that NALAG is passionately calling on Parliament to hasten the passage of the RTI which has been before the House since 2013. Passing the bill will encourage citizens within the Districts to exercise their rights to request for information to curb practices such as administrative silence, on relevant information required by citizens.
Thirdly, it is very necessary for MMDAs to strengthen internal control systems. This may include; ensuring accuracy of information, promoting operational efficiency of the MMDAs to avoid waste of resources and providing an important medium to undertake tasks and achieve satisfactory performance, compliance with laws and regulations for onward attainment of organizational objectives, as well as safeguarding of assets. Assets should be protected from misuse, theft or misappropriation.
Publication of annual reports is one essential aspect of fighting corruption. Local authorities (MMDAs) must adhere to the legal requirement of publishing annual reports for the citizens to get abreast with the District’s activities and expenditures.
Another major anti-corruption measure is conducting of project procurement–related audits (PPRAs). PPRAs will help to detect fraudulent and corrupt practices relating to procuring goods and services. PPRAs must be conducted to review project procurement, financial management, contract implementation, and project management practices and any potential procurement risk.
Corruption maims, destroys and cripples development. Corruptions at the local level disrupts the progress of the country from the grassroots and therefore it affects the very lives that we intend to change in our various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). Let’s stand together as locals to destroy the hold of corruption before corruption destroys us.
HON. KOKRO AMANKWAH
GENERAL SECRETARY, NALAG
Source: Modern Ghana Online