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Stolen Public Funds: AG Sets Up C'ttee . . . To Recover, Punish Corrupt Public Officials   
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A 16 member team has been set up by the Auditor General (AG), to retrieve monies misappropriated by public officials.

The team will take legal action against persons cited in the AG’s reports with a pilot of 2013, 2014 and 2015 cases.

Mr Daniel Domelevo, the AG, disclosed this yesterday at a press organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG) as part of activities to mark this year’s accountant week celebration.

The AG, who is a council member of ICAG, was answering a question on efforts by the service to retrieve misappropriated funds aside from publishing reports annually.

There have been many calls on government, the law enforcement agencies and the AG, to punish public officials caught in financial malfeasances as well as retrieve monies stolen.

Last Friday, hundreds of Ghanaians, clad in red staged an anti-corruption demonstration in Accra and presented a petition to the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) to retrieve state funds lost to corruption.

Mr. Domelevo said the team of which he is part had received training from he Judicial Training Institute on various stages of evidence gathering to ensure that cases sent to court were not dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence.

He indicated that it had become evident from public outcry that Ghanaians were no longer interested in the AG's reports but wanted stolen monies retrieved and offenders punished.

This, he said, was in consonance with Article 187(7) of the constitution which mandated the AG to retrieve misappropriated funds.

Mr. Domelevo disclosed that feedback from the team on status of cases revealed that some persons cited in some reports, which he declined to name, had started refunding the monies.

But, he said, the team would confirm the payment of those monies to determine the next line of action.

In an interview with The Ghanaian Times, Mr. Domeevo said the work of the team would not be a duplication of the Attorney General's work indicating that the service would take civil action and leave the criminal part to the Attorney General.

Addressing the press conference earlier, the president of ICAG, Mr. Christian Sottie said the institute would not be spectators to wrongdoings in the country and would continue to do its part in ensuring that state funds were protected.

He said Isaac Assan, the accountant named in the recent financial malfeasance at the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) was not a member of the institute as speculated.

He said the institute took issues of integrity seriously and would take disciplinary action against members who flouted its ethics including withdrawal of membership.

Mr. Sottie therefore charged members to hold in high esteem the banner of integrity and lead the fight to reduce corruption in the country.

He announced that starting July, ICAG would run its school separate from the secretariat under the name College of Accountancy with a long term intention of making it a fully independent institution.

Activities to mark this year's week celebration dubbed, 'Transformation of Ghana's economy at 60' include a conference and annual general meeting at Ho in the Volta Region.

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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