Ghanaians have been urged to demand accountability from public servants and institutions in order to ensure transparency in the management of the country’s resources.
According to a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Cape Coast, Dr Kwadwo Addo Tuffour, it was their constitutional right to question the suspicious source of wealth of public officials.
He was speaking on the topic “Challenges and opportunities in upholding the rule of law in public institutions” at a virtual forum held by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), on Tuesday in Accra.
It was the first of three fora dubbed ‘CHRAJ@30 Zonal Forums’, which are being organised as part of activities to mark the Commission’s 30th anniversary celebration.
It aims to increase public awareness of the commission’s core mandates, services and achievements, as well as encourage the public and stakeholders to support CHRAJ to work effectively.
The CHRAJ@30 anniversary celebration is on the theme: “Promoting and protecting human rights and ensuring transparency and accountability in public service delivery.”
Dr Tuffour said demanding accountability from public institutions had become imperative because many of them had failed to be accountable to the tax payers, contrary to the dictates of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
He said it behooved the citizenry to ensure that they were not taken for granted while some few persons misapplied taxes and other resources entrusted in their care.
The Principal of Enchi College of Education, Philip Ntaah, shared similar sentiment when he took his turn to speak on the topic “The role of civil society and public participation in holding institutions accountable.”
According to him, activities of public institutions should be subjected to scrutiny, using set rules in both the constitution and other binding legal instruments as the yardstick.
In order to put them on their toes, Mr Ntaah called on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who monitor the public institutions to expand their publicity on their findings, especially when they found wrong doing.
For this strategy to be effective, he asked CSOs to be involved in review of laws that govern public institutions because sidelining them in law making often hindered their efforts.
Mr Ntaah also made a case for financial support for the CSOs, and urged the public to desist from attacking them when they criticise wrongdoings in the public sector and the country.
The CHRAJ, which was established in 1993 under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana by the CHRAJ Act, 1993 (Act 456), has three broad mandates; promotion of human rights, administrative justice and anti-corruption.