General News of Mon, 16 Apr 201875
Double Salary: How different are you from an ordinary Ghanaian who steals? – O.B. Amoah
Deputy Local Government Minister, O.B Amoah has questioned why minority members are quick to tag every effort of government to investigate seemingly shady deals that have to do with officials from their party as witch-hunting efforts targeted at marring their reputation.
He wonders how such lawmakers and high public officials will be able to fight the same cause for justice and prosecution if persons given under their care; the ordinary citizen, are found indulging in corruption and or looting state resources.
Speaking on TV3’s NewDay show Saturday, Mr. Amoah was unimpressed by the constant efforts by minority members to depict government as 'evil' whenever the need arose to investigate any alleged acts of corruption involving their administration. He argued that it is rather irresponsible and bias for them to want to ‘cover up’ every shady deal of theirs as top public officers when they would push for investigation and prosecution if any ordinary citizen is found culpable of indulging in corruption or extortion of any kind.
Accepting the issues as they are and cooperating with the appropriate security agencies for investigations to be done and the truth ascertained according to O.B. Amoah, should be the foremost priority of every public official.
“That attitude of everything police wants to investigate when it doesn’t suit us then we say it is government that is behind it, I think we should be very careful about it.
“It’s just like if money is mistakenly deposited in your account, if you go for it, the bank will come after you for their money. If you look at the report of the John Mahama committee, August 2016, there is a point that they made here ‘the salary of all MPs should be processed by parliamentary service and difference between the salary of MPs and Ministers and Deputies should be processed by Accountant General, so it’s a difference Controller and Accountant, if anything should be paying to you but if you have the bulk from parliament and the bulk from Controller, then you should know there is a problem and if you do it for four good years and you say they are still determining my salary, then it means there is a problem and it is for you then to assist the system to see how all these came about and if there’s a refund, you refund”
“Don’t create the impression that whoever is investigating this is witch-hunting you or that government is after you, if you do that you don’t solve the problem because you are a top public officer, if it were the ordinary person that it happened to, all of us will be saying that the law should go after him, what makes you different from the others? he asked co-panelist Inusah Fuseini on the show....They should investigate it but don’t say it’s witch-hunting because if it is a mistake and you have to refund, refund”, he argued.
He believes that regardless of the fact that the salaries of these appointees were not determined at the time and that they were merely being paid on account basis, they should have been able to raise questions if the same quantities of monies were being deposited in their accounts around a particular period.
“This is the first time I’m MP and Deputy Minister. When I was deputy Minister under President Kufour, I wasn’t a Member of Parliament so I knew Controller was the one paying me”
“As at now, as a Deputy Minister, I know I’m paid from parliament, I make efforts regularly to go for my pay slip to know what is on the pay slip and my bank always advices me on what has been deposited in my account so there is no way I’ll be paid from Controller and parliament and I will not know. So if it is whatever I’m paid from parliament it goes into my account, I’m advised by my bankers and subsequently another advance comes which is almost the same amount, obviously I should raise questions that why are you giving me this double thing? And so if anybody should say that until the presidential committee comes out finally whatever comes into my account is my account so whoever wants to question it will be witch-hunting, I don’t agree”, he stated.
Some NDC MPs have come under attack over allegations that they received salaries while serving as both Members of Parliament and Ministers or Deputy Ministers.
The Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service is currently investigating the matter and is inviting some accused persons for questioning.
Although it annulled the invitation of 18 out of the 25 accused persons last week, it said it would soon reinvite them to help in investigations.