EC promises transparent operations
Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Ms Jean Mensa has promised a transparent operation with the removal of the previous cloak of secrecy over the election management body.
She said this when she inaugurated an audit committee of the EC last Tuesday in Accra, describing the body as an important accountability/transparency mechanism.
Charting the new course of the EC under her watch and direction, she said: “We are determined therefore to remove the cloaks and shrouds of secrecy that have characterized our operations and to beam the torchlight on all our activities.”
She left her audience especially members of the committee in no doubt about her resilience and quest for excellence when she stated: “As a new commission, we are mindful of our recent past, particularly the numerous issues relating to procurement breaches and financial scandals that characterized our past operations.”
Light And Transparency
She gave an assurance that light and transparency would characterize the operations and activities of the EC right from the preparation of work plans and budgets for its procurement activities, through to activities organized before, during and after elections.
“The EC is determined to correct the ills and weaknesses in its system and to move forward in truth and light. Therefore, the requirement by the Public Financial Management Act enjoining public institutions to establish audit committees could not have come at a better time,” she stressed.
Her words were digested with relish coming against the backdrop of public questions about how the previous management of the EC managed the taxpayer under the cloak of ‘independence of the EC’.
Start Of Integrity
For her, the integrity of the electoral process starts from how the public resources are used and managed, adding that “with visible determination, we are committed to building systems and processes that will promote value for money in all our operations and ultimately ensure the judicious use of the public purse.”
As a first step, she said: “We intend to publish our audited reports going forward, and inform the public about how much each election costs. By so doing, we have no doubt that we will gain the confidence of the good people of this nation and be considered a credible and trusted partner in our democracy. Ladies and gentlemen, we are fully mindful of the fact that the success of this audit committee does not rest on the members of the committee alone.”
She remarked: “We’re also guided by the fact that the quality and independence of members is key to the success of this committee. We therefore welcome the three (3) members from the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Internal Audit Agency. On our part, we have carefully selected two (2) members of our commission – Madam Rebecca Adjalo and Madam Adwoa Abrefa – both lawyers with considerable experience in governance and financial matters, to represent the commission on the committee.”
Determination For Efficiency
She went on: “The commission is determined to work with you to ensure that this committee functions effectively and efficiently. We are keen to witness the institutionalization of systems, policies and processes that will safeguard the taxpayers’ money. As the head of the institution, I am aware of my duties and responsibilities. God being my helper, I will undertake my role with diligence and precision.”
“Never again should the Electoral Commission of Ghana be engulfed in issues relating to the misapplication of funds. Never again should the Electoral Commission operate without systems and policies to guide our financial operations. Never again should there be an abuse and misapplication of the taxpayers’ funds. Never again should the commission flout procurement rules to the detriment of the public purse,” she added.